Trustees Approve Honorary Doctorate Recipients, Housing Facility Improvement Plan

Ferris State UniversityFerris State University’s Board of Trustees approved honorary doctoral degrees for alumnus Timothy Murphy, the former deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Michael Shibler, superintendent of Rockford Public Schools; and Teresa Weatherall Neal, superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools, among other items at its regular meeting on Friday, Feb. 22 in Big Rapids.

The board-approved honorees all have strong and active ties to Ferris.

Murphy earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Ferris’ College of Education and Human Services, in 1983. He went on to become a police officer and, in 1988, joined the FBI as a special agent. Murphy later served as the FBI’s special agent in charge of its Cincinnati field office, the bureau’s chief financial officer and chief operating officer. Later, he was named deputy director, the agency’s second-highest position. Murphy and his wife, Diane, have given back to Ferris through a scholarship fund. He has been an advisor to the Criminal Justice program and serves on The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors. Murphy will receive the Honorary Doctorate of Public Service.

Shibler has served as superintendent for Rockford Public Schools since 1989. Through his leadership and support, Rockford Public Schools has become Ferris’ strongest concurrent enrollment partner. Since forging this partnership, in 2013, Rockford students have earned more than 3,300 college credits toward their post-secondary education and saved more than $1.6 million in tuition. Shibler’s contributions include a spot on the board of directors for the Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce and the Rockford Economic Development Corp. He is also a member of the Rockford Education Foundation Board of Trustees and the YMCA Board of Trustees. Shibler will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service.

Weatherall Neal has worked for Grand Rapids Public Schools for 44 years. She and GRPS are active partners with Ferris through education innovations such as the Grand Rapids Public Museum School; the Academy for Teaching and Learning at Innovation Central High School, a teacher cadet program geared toward the development of a pipeline of diverse teachers; and the Harrison Park Middle School college prep course for parents of middle school students. Weatherall Neal has served as a member of the Spectrum Health Communities board of directors for 14 years and serves on the boards of Covenant House of Michigan, Kent Schools Services Network, and Challenge Scholars Program. She volunteers on the board of The Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, President Gerald R. Ford Educational Foundation and Collective Impact Kent County. She will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service.

“These are three extraordinary individuals who are each leaders in their fields,” Ferris President David Eisler said. “They are actively engaged with Ferris State University and we are grateful for their efforts for Ferris.”

The honorary doctorate recipients will be recognized during main-campus commencement ceremonies May 10-11, in Big Rapids.

Trustees approved a new housing facility improvement plan that includes maintenance and facility-improvement projects in existing residence halls, including Bond, Brophy/McNerney, Clark and Hallisy halls. The improvements include wireless technology upgrades.

“We’re excited to continue these important upgrades to our residential facilities to further enhance our students’ on-campus living experiences,” Jerry Scoby, vice president for Administration and Finance said. “We’ve listened carefully to feedback from our students and staff, and we’re pleased to continue these improvements that we believe are aligned with a valuable on-campus living experience for our students.”

The board further approved a budget increase for phase one of the Hagerman Pharmacy Building renovation project. The increase is from $4.8 million, approved in October 2018, to $5.3 million.

“As we have celebrated the 125th anniversary of Ferris’ College of Pharmacy program, we’re excited to continue our efforts to enhance the Hagerman Pharmacy Building with this first phase of renovations,” Scoby said. “We are grateful to the donors who have helped make these improvements possible.”

In other action, the trustees approved:

  • naming the “Frederickson Family Mechanical and Electrical Construction Practices Lab,” in the Granger Center for Construction and HVACR. Phillip Frederickson and his son, Steven, are supporters of Ferris’ Construction Management program and have made a joint commitment of $150,000 to the Construction Management Experiential Technical Learning Endowment. In recognition of this gift, the trustees voted to name a lab in their honor.
  • eight sabbatical leave requests, as recommended by the provost and president, after submission by the All-University Sabbatical Review Committee;
  • twenty-three appointments and reappointments to the boards of directors of FSU-authorized charter school academies;
  • reauthorization of the Hope of Detroit Academy, in Detroit; and contract extensions for Hope Academy of West Michigan, in Grand Rapids, through June 2022; and Voyageur Academy, of Detroit, through June 2022; and
  • citations of merit for in recognition of outstanding seasons for the Bulldog football and volleyball teams. The football team finished its 2018 season 15-1, won the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and finished as the national runner up. The volleyball team concluded its 2018 campaign 27-5 and won GLIAC regular-season and tournament championships before advancing to the regional semifinals.

The board recognized its two newest trustees, appointed in October 2018 before they officially assumed their roles on Jan. 1, 2019: alumnus Kurt A. Hofman, of Grand Rapids, and alumna Kari L. Sederburg, of East Lansing.

The full board includes chair Amna P. Seibold, of East Grand Rapids; vice chair Ana L. Ramirez-Saenz, of Grand Rapids; Rupesh K. Srivastava, of Wixom; committee member-at-large Lori A. Gwizdala, of Bay City; Robert J. Hegbloom, of Clarkston; and LaShanda R. Thomas, of Grosse Pointe.

The next regular meeting of the board is Friday, May 10, in Big Rapids. Committee meetings begin at 12:30 p.m. followed by the 1:30 p.m. full board meeting.


PHOTO CAPTION: At its regular meeting on Friday, Feb. 22, the Ferris State University Board of Trustees approved a new housing facility improvement plan that includes maintenance and facility-improvement projects in existing residence halls, including Bond, Brophy/McNerney, Clark and Hallisy halls. The improvements include wireless technology upgrades.