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The Ferris Foundation Benefit set for Nov. 6 at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids

David Eisler, president of Ferris State UniversityThe 17th annual Ferris Foundation for Excellence Benefit will be held Friday, Nov. 6 at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Benefit provides resources for The Ferris Foundation for Excellence Scholarship Program, financial assistance for students who might not otherwise have access to a Ferris education.

“We all know what the student debt situation is in the United States at this point. This is one of those nights where we can highlight students, and the opportunity they can create for themselves,” said Carla Miller, executive director of The Ferris Foundation.

A portion of the net proceeds also support Exceptional Merit Grants, which are awarded to faculty and staff to support their study, exploration and service.

With Ferris’ President David Eisler as master of ceremonies for the Benefit, Miller said supporters can feel the power of the university and its direction, as well as interact with the scholarship students and grant recipients.

”It’s just pure Ferris in everything that we do that night,” Miller said. “We are all about excellence in service, it’s about thanking those who support us and creating new relationships with new friends.”

The Benefit begins at 5:30 p.m. in DeVos Place’s Steelcase Ballroom with cocktails and a reception for sponsors. The program begins at 7 p.m. with dinner, legendary endurance swimmer Diana Nyad will deliver the keynote address at 8:30 p.m.

In 2013, at the age of 64, Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage. It was her fifth attempt at the 111-mile swim – the first came in the 1970s. Nyad is planning a San Diego, Calif.-to-Washington D.C. walk next summer to combat obesity, with hopes to engage a million people in the effort.