PHOTO CAPTIONS: (Above) Ferris State University President David Eisler speaks at The Ferris Foundation for Excellence Benefit, in 2018. (Below) Ferris trustee Robert Hegbloom, a 1986 graduate of the Automotive Management program, will be the keynote speaker at The Ferris Foundation’s 21st Benefit for Excellence Friday, Nov. 1 at the DeVos Place Convention Center in Grand Rapids.
Hundreds of Ferris State University supporters, including faculty, staff and students, will gather in the DeVos Place Convention Center Friday, Nov. 1 to celebrate the learning opportunities offered across Lower Michigan, as The Ferris Foundation hosts its 21st Benefit for Excellence in downtown Grand Rapids.
Robert Murray, executive director of The Ferris Foundation, said the event transitioned well in 2018 as guests accessed interactive displays highlighting various university programs and initiatives in Exhibit Hall “C” during the cocktail hour, along with opportunities to meet Ferris athletes and program leaders. That format continues at this year’s event.
“We got great feedback about the displays, which showcased our colleges and departments, and we look forward to offering another exciting array of exhibits this fall,” Murray said. “Ferris is an institution that truly lives its mission, to make the world a better place, and the Benefit is an excellent chance to recognize and emphasize the people and programs who will allow that to continue.”
Murray added that the university’s administration and The Ferris Foundation is pleased to welcome another member of the Ferris family to deliver the keynote address at the Benefit, as Ram Brand International Head Robert Hegbloom has agreed to speak that evening.
“Having Bob take part in this, an alumnus who began his career in a most formative role and excelled, to become a member of Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s international leadership team, is fantastic,” Murray said. “His is an exciting story of an individual who maximized their opportunity.”
Hegbloom earned an Associate in Applied Science in Automotive Service Technology before graduating from Ferris with a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Management, in 1986. In February 2016, he became head of Ram Brand International, with responsibility for expanding sales outside North America. That same year, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Business and Industry from Ferris and accepted an appointment to the university’s Board of Trustees. Hegbloom called President David Eisler’s request that he speak at the Benefit “an incredible honor.”
“I talked with Dave about it and was a bit hesitant. I felt that my message may not be strong enough to present to this audience,” Hegbloom said. “Dave assured me that it was. I am so thankful and humble about all that we have accomplished, as a board, and for what I have been able to offer to the university and College of Engineering Technology. I still have the passion that I had when I was a Bulldog student and athlete, and want to give everything I can back to the university.”
Kim Erickson, the executive assistant for The Ferris Foundation, said individual tickets, sponsorship opportunities and faculty, staff and emeriti tickets for the Benefit will be available through Friday, Oct. 18.