President's Message to Campus - September 27, 2019


The long-standing tradition of homecoming at Ferris is a wonderful opportunity for students, faculty, staff and the greater Big Rapids community to come together and celebrate our unique history. As the University commemorates 135 years, it seems fitting to share how our tradition of homecoming began. In 1926, when Woodbridge N. Ferris was president and serving in the U.S. Senate, a group of World War I veterans wanted to reunite with their former Gamma Phi Sigma fraternity brothers. Through this, the tradition of homecoming began at the Ferris Institute and has continued for 93 consecutive years on the Big Rapids campus.

Today and throughout the weekend the Big Rapids campus will be filled with students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members taking part in various homecoming activities. This afternoon the College of Pharmacy is hosting a rededication ceremony to celebrate the completion of renovations made to the Hagerman Pharmacy Building. This event begins at 3:30 p.m. and all are welcome to attend. Tonight at the annual Fall Reunion dinner we will induct members of the Class of 1969 into the Society of Golden Eagles and honor Distinguished Alumni and Pacesetter Award recipients.

On Saturday, students, faculty, staff and alumni will be participating in the annual homecoming parade at noon on Michigan Avenue in downtown Big Rapids. This celebration showcases our Ferris pride and brings together the Big Rapids and Ferris communities. Later in the afternoon, our football team hosts Northern Michigan at 3 p.m., with tailgating activities beginning at 11 a.m. It is wonderful to see a number of our Colleges hosting alumni welcome tents along with the Alumni Association and Office of Multicultural Student Services. This year’s homecoming also includes special reunions of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity who are welcoming back alumni to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their founding. 

Homecoming is a powerful reminder of the difference a Ferris education can make for our students and the strong connection they have with our institution. Thank you for continuing this tradition and making this such an enjoyable and welcoming experience.


This week’s HatchEd conference was the first of its kind held on our campus. In the University Center ballrooms, many exhibits featured the great work that is already being implemented across various disciplines, and 39 sessions were held by faculty and staff to showcase their innovative ideas with the greater campus community.

A spirit of collaboration was evident, and this event was a strong testament to the importance of nurturing creativity and empowering a culture of innovation on our campus. It was truly an impressive two days, and I am grateful to each faculty and staff member who took time to share their work. Thank you to Academic Affairs, the Academic Senate and the KCAD College Senate for sponsoring this event. The Ferris Grand Rapids marketing team – Eric Hazen, Jennifer Amlotte, Michelle Selimi and Ashlee Mishler, along with many others in   Extended and Internal Operations helped support this.

Disability Awareness Month

This month the Liaison Committee for Students With Disabilities has organized a series of events to highlight Disability Awareness Month –

Wednesday, Oct. 9, 6 p.m., UC 213 – Film screening and discussion of “Deej”

  • Thursday, Oct. 10, 11 a.m., LGBTQ+ Resource Center – All Bodies Dance Party
  • Saturday, Oct. 12, 9 a.m., UC 202 – Esports Unity Bowl
  • Wednesday, Oct. 16, 6 p.m., BUS 111 – Flirting With Disability featuring College of Business alumna Melissa DiVietri
  • Thursday, Oct. 24, 11 a.m., North Campus Quad – Companions in the Quad: A community-building event for staff, students and faculty who have registered emotional support, assistance, companion and/or service animals
  • Saturday, Oct. 26, 9 a.m., Big Rapids City Hall –Skeleton Skurry Inclusive 5K

For more information on these events visit the Disability Awareness Month webpage.

Thank you to committee members Kim Dickman, Amy Greene, Ashley Hawley, Andresa Maciejewski, Denise Moulter, Christopher Richmond and chair Maggie Walcott for planning and organizing these events for the campus community. If you have the opportunity, please make plans to attend.


This is an exciting and busy weekend for Bulldog Athletics. On Saturday football and College of Business alumni Brian (’94) and Jeff Carmody (’99) will serve as grand marshals in the homecoming parade. The brothers own and operate 42 Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants throughout Michigan, Massachusetts and Louisiana. They both credit their success to the education and experiences they received while at Ferris State University. There is a wonderful story on the Carmody brothers on the News & Events webpage. A large crowd is expected for the homecoming football game that kicks-off at 3 p.m. against Northern Michigan. Our team is 3-0 and ranked #2 in the nation. Join the homecoming fun and cheer the team on to victory.

Our volleyball team returned home against Northwood on Tuesday, celebrating a 3-0 sweep. The team improved to 8-3 overall and 2-1 in the GLIAC. They host Purdue Northwest tonight at 7 p.m. and Wisconsin-Parkside on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

Last weekend the women's golf squad had another strong performance, earning runner-up honors in the Cumberland Trail Golf Classic in Pataskala, Ohio. In this 16-team event they matched a school record with a round of 296 on Saturday and closed with a 308 on Sunday to finish at 604 or +28 on the weekend in the 36-hole tournament. The 604 team score represents the lowest figure for a 36-hole event in school history. The women were led by senior Destiny Lawson, who earned runner-up honors individually with a 142 total. She shot an even-par 72 in round one and came back with a two-under 70 on Sunday. Her 142 total also set an individual 36-hole record, topping the previous all-time best score of 144 set back in 2007-08. The team hosts the Bulldog Women’s Fall Invitational this weekend at Katke Golf Course.

Finally, off to one of their best starts in history, the women's soccer team remains unbeaten and 11th ranked with a record of 5-0-1. They host Davenport today at 4 p.m. and Ashland on Sunday at noon.

Closing Thoughts

Homecoming is a special weekend for our University, and I look forward to seeing everyone who will be on campus celebrating these events. Please come out, bring your family and friends, and enjoy the homecoming festivities.

David L. Eisler, president