President's Message to Campus - May 3, 2019

2019 Commencement

On May 10 and 11, more than 1,500 students will graduate from Ferris State University. This is a wonderful time, a milestone for our students, their families and friends. Graduation reflects the collective work of everyone in our University community. At commencement it is easy to see the transformative power of the Ferris experience. Thank you for the difference you make in our students’ lives. If you know a graduating student, please congratulate him or her on this achievement. Should you want to attend commencement, I encourage you to do so. In Big Rapids, please contact Terri Cook at ext. 2504 or [email protected], and we will arrange for you to attend. Many people across our University work very hard to coordinate these events and ensure that our graduates, their friends and families, have a memorable experience. Thank you for your extra efforts to make our commencement special for all who attend.

The full commencement schedule is as follows:

Friday, May 10
3:30 p.m. – College of Health Professions and Michigan College of Optometry
7 p.m. – College of Arts & Sciences, College of Pharmacy and Doctorate in Community College Leadership

Saturday, May 11
9 a.m. – College of Business
10:30 a.m. – Kendall College of Art and Design (at Forest Hills Fine Arts Center)
12:30 p.m. – College of Education & Human Services
4 p.m. – College of Engineering Technology

At commencement we recognize extraordinary individuals who are exemplars in their professions. We are pleased to award honorary degrees to three individuals who have contributed much to Ferris State University throughout their careers: - Timothy Murphy (COEHS ’83) is president of Thomson Reuters Special Services, a U.S. subsidiary of Thomson Reuters that specializes in working with governmental and select corporate entities. He has more than 35 years of public and private sector experience, and is a recognized leader in the global law enforcement, intelligence and business communities. He has been an integral advisor to the Criminal Justice program, playing a role in the growth and continuing development of the program, and currently serves on The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors. - Dr. Michael Shibler is the superintendent of the Rockford Public Schools and has served in this capacity since 1989. He has established many successful initiatives for students, including forging a strong partnership with Ferris to provide concurrent enrollment opportunities for high school students, helping them earn over 3,300 college credits toward their post-secondary education. Throughout his 51 years in education, he is best known for his gift of inspiring educators. - Teresa Weatherall Neal is superintendent of the Grand Rapids Public Schools and has served in this capacity since 2012. She has worked for the GRPS for the past 44 years, serving students, their families and her community. She has helped create education innovations such as the Grand Rapids Public Museum School; the Academy for Teaching and Learning at Innovation Central High School; and the Harrison Park Middle School college prep course for parents. In addition, GRPS students now have the opportunity to concurrently enroll at Ferris State University while in high school, helping them earn college credit, save on tuition costs and earn the Ferris NEXT scholarship.

Web Content for Everyone Symposium

Many individuals across campus have worked diligently to ensure that our website and the information contained within it are accessible to everyone. To build on these efforts, Rebecca Blakiston, user experience strategist at the University of Arizona Libraries and nationally known speaker on universal design, will be on campus for a symposium, “Web Content for Everyone: Usability, Accessibility and Content Creation.” This is scheduled on Wednesday, May 15, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. inside the University Center Ballroom. Breakout sessions will be facilitated by faculty and staff who have diverse web accessibility expertise, in addition to insight on inclusive, universal design for the web. This is an excellent opportunity for everyone who works with web content at Ferris. Faculty, staff and students are invited to attend. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity. Please contact the Staff Center for Training and Development for more information or to RSVP. Thank you to Administration and Finance, the Diversity and Inclusion Office, Educational Counseling and Disabilities Services, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, FLITE, the Office of the Provost, Retention and Student Success, the Staff Center for Training and Development, and University Advancement & Marketing, for supporting this event.

Pancakes with the President

“Pancakes with the President,” scheduled on the first Monday of final examinations, has become a tradition at Ferris. Please join us in serving students Monday evening May 6, starting at 10 p.m. in the Rock Café. This provides a welcome opportunity for students to take a break from studying to enjoy a late night snack with their peers. It also is an occasion to visit with students informally. If you would like to help, please contact Terri Cook at ext. 2504 or [email protected]


Our women’s softball team is in Sandusky, Ohio this weekend to compete in the GLIAC tournament. The women will face number one seed Grand Valley at 10 a.m. today in the double-elimination conference tournament. The winner will play the Northwood-Saginaw Valley State winner on Friday at 4:30 p.m. Our team concluded their regular season with a split against Northwood last weekend and included an exciting 8-7 extra-innings victory in the opener. We wish Coach Kristin Janes and the entire squad well as they head into tournament play.

The men’s golf team, 2019 GLIAC Champions, received more accolades this week. Head coach Kyle Wittenbach was chosen as the league's Coach of the Year while Thomas Hursey received GLIAC Freshman of the Year recognition. Senior Jack Weller was named to the All-GLIAC First Team while fellow senior Andrew Hammett was named to the second-team. Both Hursey and senior Seth Terpstra attained GLIAC Honorable Mention. Congratulations to Coach Wittenbach and our golfers on this well-deserved recognition. Our team has received its bid to the NCAA postseason tournament for the 16th time in the last 17 years. They will compete in the Midwest/Central Super Regional in Hot Springs, Ariz., May 9-11. We extend best wishes to the team as they continue postseason play.

Four members of the men's tennis team were also recognized as All-GLIAC selections with seniors Steward Sell and Nur Adim Ramdani Iswan, and junior Pablo Munoz Baroja. In addition, sophomore Mathis Guerre claimed All-GLIAC honorable mention accolades for the 2019 season. Last weekend the men defeated Ashland in quarterfinal-round play at the GLIAC Tournament on Friday and second-seed Grand Valley before falling to Wayne State in the championship final. The team was ranked seventh in the most recent NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Rankings and will now await the official selections for the NCAA Tournament, which will be announced on Tuesday, May 7. Congratulations to these student-athletes, Coach Mark Doren and the entire team on their success this season.

Best wishes,

David L. Eisler, president