President's Message to Campus - November 8, 2019

Foundation for Excellence Benefit

Last Friday evening The Ferris Foundation held its annual gala at the DeVos Place in Grand Rapids to raise funds in support of student scholarships, and faculty and staff merit grants. With nearly 570 people in attendance, it was a remarkable evening celebrating the success of the University’s comprehensive capital campaign, Now and Always, recognizing Opportunity Scholars, faculty and staff merit grant recipients, and recent donors who have made transformational gifts.

Guests had the opportunity to visit with faculty, staff and students and to view displays sharing first-hand student experiences at our University. Pre-science major Shayla Hurt, an Opportunity Scholarship recipient, shared her story of how receiving this support is helping her make the first steps toward achieving her dream of becoming a pediatrician.

Now and Always campaign co-chairs Gary Granger and Jeff Rowe announced that this first comprehensive campaign for Ferris State University has raised over $92 million toward its expanded goal of $115 million. To cap off the evening, our keynote speaker was Ferris Trustee and Vice President of Ram Brand International Robert Hegbloom. Bob shared his compelling and inspiring personal story of formative experiences as a student and athlete at Ferris, in the automotive industry, and in creating the stand alone Ram Brand.

There were many, many people who collaborated to bring this event together so successfully. Thank you to everyone who made this a special and memorable evening. You can watch a highlight video of the evening on our YouTube channel and view photos on the Ferris SmugMug photo site.

KCAD Open House

To showcase undergraduate and graduate degree programs to prospective students, the Kendall College of Art and Design is hosting an interactive open house on Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Woodbridge N. Ferris building. The afternoon will provide an opportunity to visit with faculty and staff, view presentations on admissions and financial aid, tour facilities and take part in more than 20 interactive sessions designed to highlight the tools, spaces, and learning environments available at Kendall. Registration begins at 12:15 p.m. and programming begins at 1 p.m. You can learn more by visiting the KCAD Open House webpage.

Veteran’s Day Celebrations

On Sunday, Nov. 10, the West Central Concert Band will perform its 17th annual Veteran’s Day Concert at 4 p.m. inside Williams Auditorium. Their program, under the direction of Scott Cohen, is a collection of music selections honoring veterans from all five branches of service, and our nation’s heritage. This is a moving tribute to our veterans and a reminder of the vital role active military personnel provide for our nation. This concert is free and open to everyone.

I want to thank everyone who has served or currently serves our country in the United States Armed Forces, the Armed Forces Reserve and National Guard, or is preparing to serve our country as a member of the Ferris ROTC. This is also a wonderful time to thank and appreciate everyone at our University who assists veterans on our campuses with their educational pursuits.

Veteran’s Day is Monday, Nov. 11, and we are proud to honor all veterans and those currently serving in our military with a free Veterans Breakfast in the University Center Room 202 beginning at 7:45 a.m. The special guest for the morning will be retired U.S. Army Sergeant, Purple Heart recipient and former Michigan Army National Guard soldier Douglas Szczepanski Jr. While on routine patrol in Baghdad, Iraq in 2005, he was severely wounded by a suicide car bomber. During his lengthy recovery, he learned what being a wounded warrior was all about – perseverance, service and sacrifice for his country, and resiliency. From this he created a non-profit, Miracle Soldier Inc., and now speaks to audiences about his experience. I encourage you to read more about him at the link posted above. His is a remarkable story of faith and hope. All students, faculty and staff veterans, in addition to veterans in the greater Big Rapids community, are invited. If you know a veteran, please encourage them to attend. If you are not a veteran, but would like to attend to thank veterans for their service, please join us.


The Strategic Planning and Resource Council will meet on Tuesday, Nov. 12, from 3 to 5 p.m. in UC 202A. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Leadership Team will host an interactive session that includes a Q&A on reaffirmation of accreditation and the Open Pathway process, and an exploration of connections between the University’s new strategic plan initiatives, the HLC criterion, our Quality Initiative project (Academic Literacies Center) and reaffirmation areas of focus. 

Future directions of SPARC will also be discussed as we move forward with the implementation of the new strategic plan, Ferris Forward. These meetings are open to all.  You need not be a member of SPARC to attend. If you have ideas or thoughts on these topics and would like to engage in these discussions, please consider attending.


This past weekend was another highly successful series of wins for Ferris athletic teams. Our volleyball team defeated Saginaw Valley 3-2 on Friday and Lake State 3-0 on Saturday. They are now 19-5 on the season and 11-2 in the conference. Men’s basketball won all three of their games at the D2 Tip-Off Classic in Anaheim, Calif., defeating Wayne State (Nebraska) 100-78, Texas Permian Basin 111-91 and Concordia (California) 91-83. The men remain undefeated on the season. Our football team defeated Michigan Tech in Houghton 52-0. Their record is now 9-0. Soccer celebrated a 4-0 win on Sunday over Northwood.

The men's and women's cross country teams will compete in the NCAA Division II Midwest Region Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Angel Mounds in Evansville, Ind. The Midwest Region consists of teams from the Great Lakes Valley Conference, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.

This weekend’s home calendar includes soccer hosting their final regular season game today at 1 p.m. against Northwood. The women are 12-3-1 on the season and 5-2-1 in the GLIAC.

Saturday we have the highly anticipated Anchor-Bone Classic football game against Grand Valley, which kicks-off at 12:07 p.m. This will be televised live on Fox Sports Detroit as part of "Football Week in Michigan." Tailgate lots will open at 8 a.m. and fans are invited to a special pregame tailgate from 9 to 11:30 a.m. hosted by FOX Sports Detroit and Ferris State Athletics in Lot 35. There is a $5 admission charge for this tailgate. This is our team’s final home regular season game. For the most up-to-date news on the game and activities visit

The time adjustment for the football game allows fans to take part in a very busy athletic day at Ferris. You can catch three different home athletic events on Saturday, with football at noon, men's basketball at 4 p.m. against Davis & Elkins and hockey at 8:07 p.m. vs. Western Michigan. 

It continues to be a tremendous season for our student-athletes and coaches, one that we can all be very proud of. Come out and show your support for all of our student-athletes competing over the weekend. Go Bulldogs!

David L. Eisler, president