The Alumni Association's 60th Annual Reunion Honors Golden Eagle Class of 1966, Various Award Winners

Ferris State University

PHOTO CAPTION: Members of the Class of 1966 gathered to receive their Golden Eagle Society medallions at the 2016 Fall Reunion, Friday, Sept. 23 at the University Center on the Ferris State University campus. Above and Beyond, Pacesetter and Distinguished Alumni award winners were also recognized at the 60th annual reunion.


The 2016 Fall Reunion, held on Friday, Sept. 23 at the University Center was a highlight of Ferris State University’s 90th Homecoming celebration.  Ferris’ Alumni Association sponsored the event and welcomed the class of 1966 into the Golden Eagle Society, as part of its 60th reunion program.

Director of Alumni Relations Brandi Behrenwald said that they were pleased to have 17 members of the class of 1966 on hand to receive golden medallions, during the induction ceremony.

“It was a great night, a chance to honor some excellent recipients,” Behrenwald said. “Each of them brought their own story and experiences to the event.”

John and Sue Bradac Above and Beyond Awards are presented annually, and Behrenwald said that they were pleased to honor members of the Student Alumni Gold Club who have made significant contributions to the campus and alumni communities, while encouraging peers to actively assist in achieving the university’s mission.

The recipients are:

Brent Oberlin is a senior in the College of Education and Human Services from Kalamazoo.

Zachary Peters is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences from St. Johns.

“These young men have done a great deal in their time on campus,” Behrenwald said. “We will look forward to their continued leadership as alumni.”

2016 Pacesetter Awards were given to recipients who have demonstrated leadership in their profession, community, service organization, as well as their alma mater. This award was established in 1998, and nominees have graduated from Ferris within the previous 13 years.

Receiving the award were:

Jonathan A. Barrera-Mikulich, a 1993 Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication graduate from Grand Rapids, also completed his Master of Business Administration, at Ferris, in 2013. His accomplishments include board service and presidency of the Mexican Heritage Association of Grand Rapids and continued participation in the Ferris Alumni Jazz Ensemble.

Michael Noble, a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Systems Administration, in 2007, from Grand Rapids. Noble has created the Young Men Destined for Success program for Ottawa Hills High School students in Grand Rapids, which promotes academic excellence among at-risk students, as well as self-investment.

“These men are on track to do great things, both for the university and their communities,” Behrenwald said. “They have made great strides in the early part of their careers.”

Distinguished Alumni awards recognize those Ferris graduates demonstrating leadership and service in their profession, community and service organizations, as well as service to their alma mater.

Those awards went to:

Kevin Cross, of Ada, was a 1986 graduate of the College of Business, earning a Bachelor of Science in Insurance, and in Business Administration, from Ferris. He has been president of Linkfield and Cross Agency, Inc. for over 20 years and is a co-founding member of the Michigan Insurance Company. Cross has been president of the Comstock Park Rotary Club and Grand Rapids’ Toastmasters chapter, and volunteers with groups including the Mel Trotter Mission of Grand Rapids and Ada Bible Church. Cross has also served as chairman of the College of Business advisory board, The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors and, at 23, was the youngest person to join Ferris’ President’s Club.

Mary Garvelink, of Colorado Springs, Colo., graduated in 1972, with a Bachelor of Science in Science Education, and taught in the Colorado Springs area for a number of years, but has more than four decades in leadership at Commercial Design Engineering, a mechanical contracting company she started with her husband, John, a 1971 Ferris graduate in Engineering Technology. She has won awards in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, as well as an honor from the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials.

Jeff Rowe, of Flushing, earned his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy, in 1979, and is in independent consultancy, after more than 30 years of experience in the specialty pharmacy industry. The 2016 Pharmacist of the Year as designated by the Michigan Pharmacists Association, Rowe has held leadership posts with the Genesee County Pharmacists Association and the MPA Executive Board. He has also been a member of the College of Pharmacy advisory board, and is chairperson of the Pharmacy Forward steering committee.

Jon Sprague, of Bluffton, Ohio, received his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy in 1989, and was the university’s director of academic research, and the College of Pharmacy’s director of research and discover in 2013-14. He is currently the director and BCI Eminent Scholar at the Ohio Attorney General’s Center for the Future of the Forensic Sciences at Bowling Green State University. Sprague is also the co-founder and director of technology for Genomic Guidance LLC in Ada, Ohio. He serves on institutional review boards for Lina Memorial and St. Rita’s hospitals, and is a member of Ferris’ Pharmacy Forward campaign committee.

Behrenwald said that the stories of those recipients had the central themes of thankfulness for what the university and their career opportunities afforded them, and the importance of using their talents to help and support others.

“In general, they echoed a message of never giving up, to work for what you believe in, and to remember where you came from,” Behrenwald said.