University to Recognize Graduates at Spring 2016 Ceremonies, May 6-7

Ferris State UniversityFerris State University is set to host Spring 2016 commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7 in Big Rapids for main campus students. Kendall College of Art and Design plans to host commencement ceremonies, for its students, on Saturday, May 7.

Approximately 2,400 students are eligible to graduate this spring, including roughly 1,750 who are expected to participate in main campus ceremonies. On main campus, commencement ceremonies will be highlighted by speeches from the three Spring 2016 honorary doctorate recipients: Vivian R. Pickard, director of Detroit community partnerships for General Motors, will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters; Jeffrey F. Harrold, chairman and CEO of Auto-Owners Insurance Company, will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business and Industry; and Robert Hegbloom, president and CEO of Chrysler’s Ram Truck brand, will also be given an Honorary Doctorate of Business and Industry.

Commencement begins on Friday, May 6 with the College of Health Professions ceremony at 3:30 p.m. in Jim Wink Arena of the Ewigleben Sports Complex. The doors open at 2:30 p.m. At 7 p.m., ceremonies will be hosted for the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Pharmacy and Doctorate in Community College Leadership. Pickard will address graduates at the 7 p.m. ceremony. The doors open at 6 p.m.

Ceremonies resume on Saturday, May 7. At 9 a.m. is commencement for the College of Business. Harrold will address COB graduates. Doors open at 8 a.m. At 12:30 p.m., a ceremony will be held for the College of Education and Human Services and the Michigan College of Optometry. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Finally, the 4 p.m. ceremony will be hosted for the College of Engineering Technology. CET graduates will be addressed by Hegbloom. Doors for the 4 p.m. ceremony open at 3 p.m.

Commencement for KCAD will take place on Saturday, May 7 at the Fountain Street Church, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Click statewide and online for information.

Read the capsules on the honorary doctorate recipients:

  • Harrold, a 1977 Ferris alumnus, is chairman and CEO of Auto-Owners Insurance Company, a Fortune 500 company based in Lansing, Mich. He joined the company in 1977 upon graduation from Ferris, where he majored in Insurance and Management. He was named a senior vice president, in 1998, and elected to the board of directors, in 2003. Harrold also served as regional vice president of the Lakeland, Fla. region and vice president of the Michigan region. He became CEO, in 2010, after having served as president since 2008, and was elected chairman, in 2011. Harrold was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, in 2012, from the Griffith Insurance Education Foundation and NAMIC. He currently serves on the Leadership Advisory Board for Ferris’ College of Business, and Ele’s Place, a healing center for grieving children who have lost a loved one;

  • Hegbloom, a 1986 alumnus of the College of Engineering Technology, has headed Chrysler’s Ram truck brand as president and CEO since August 2014. He first joined the former Chrysler Corporation, in 1986, as a service and parts district manager in Washington D.C., and has held a variety of increasingly responsible jobs within the company, culminating in his current position. In January 2015, he was named to MotorTrend’s “2015 Power List” as one of 50 leaders shaping the auto industry; and

  • Pickard, a 1977 alumna who holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services Administration, has dedicated her life to promoting multiculturalism, health and human services, and community and environmental development. For 35 years, she has served General Motors in human resources, finance and public policy. Pickard is retiring from General Motors having served as CEO of the GM Foundation and most recently as director of community partnerships, where she led efforts for collaborations and investment in education, health and human services, the environment, and community development.

All students who plan to participate in Spring 2016 commencement ceremonies may request up to six electronic tickets. No extra e-tickets are distributed by the Commencement Office or the individual college commencement coordinators. Lost tickets will not be replaced. Guests who do not have tickets may watch the ceremony via live stream on the Commencement Office website or on a large screen from an alternate viewing location inside of the Ewigleben Sports Complex. Click special accommodations for more information.

E-tickets are required to attend all Big Rapids commencement ceremonies. Children 2 years old and younger do not need a ticket.

Click commencement for more information.


PHOTO CAPTION: Ferris State University is set to host ceremonies for main campus on May 6-7, in Big Rapids. In this photo, Ferris President David Eisler is shown greeting a recent graduate during a past ceremony.