Ferris State University’s Board of Trustees approved the university’s 2020-21 general fund budget, housing and dining rates for the 2021-22 academic year, the naming of “The Dewaine V. and Jana B. Robinson Quad,” and more at its regular meeting on Friday, Oct. 2 meeting conducted via Zoom.
In 2018, Ferris received a $6.59 million bequest from the estate of the late Dewaine V. and Jana B. Robinson, of Flint. Dewaine was a 1955 Ferris Institute Pharmacy honors graduate. The gift, the largest in the university’s history, established the Dewaine V. and Jana B. Robinson Scholarship Endowment. Income from the endowment provides financial aid in perpetuity for students enrolled in Ferris’ Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) four-year degree program.
Dewaine operated and then sold Flint-based Professional Pharmacy, Fenton-Hills Drugs and Bristol Road Drugs. He also founded a computerized billing company. Jana studied accounting at Flint Junior
College and worked in the college’s registrar’s office and Crestwood Memorial Gardens, in Grand Blanc, before she married Dewaine, in 1961. Dewaine died, in 2009, followed by Jana, in 2017.
In recognition of the Robinsons’ historic contribution to the university and its College of Pharmacy, the board approved the administrations’ recommendation to name the North Quad area, between the University Center building and the FLITE building, “The Dewaine V. and Jana B. Robinson Quad.”
The board further approved a new Bachelor of Science in Social Justice program in the College of Arts, Sciences and Education. The university sees the new degree as an opportunity for students to learn about social differences in our society, causes and consequences of social injustice and inequality, and ways to connect what they have learned to their own society to effect change. The Bachelor of Science in Social Justice curriculum includes courses in the colleges of Arts, Sciences and Education, Business, and Health Professions.
President David Eisler and Board of Trustees Chair Amna Seibold, on behalf of her fellow trustees, presented a citation of merit to Brian Pacholka, laboratory facilities coordinator for the College of Engineering Technology’s National Elastomer Center. The citation, in part, reads, “You have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to design and manufacture Personal Protective Equipment, creating over 30,000 face shields for healthcare workers across the state of Michigan and beyond.” Also included in the citation, “You have collaborated with Ferris State University colleagues to manufacture face shield headbands, as well as ear savers to make masks more comfortable for our healthcare and frontline workers to wear, and counting, packaging and facilitating pickup of the finished products.”
Among other action items, the trustees approved:
- a proposed 2021-22 room and board rate of $9,734, for a freshman, with a double room and the bronze or silver meal plan. The administration and the trustees elected to hold room rates flat and increased board rates by two-percent for the upcoming academic year. The proposed rate, it is expected, keeps Ferris’ rates among the lowest in comparison to Michigan university peers for room and board;
- submission of a five-year capital outlay plan, for fiscal-years 2022-26, to the state of Michigan. The university’s top priority for capital projects is the Center for Virtual Learning, which received planning authorization in 2018. Ferris has now completed necessary planning for this facility and is seeking the funding to begin construction of this state-of-the-art, high-tech building;
- a final fiscal-year 2021 general operating budget of $193.6 million, a reduction of $12.8 million from the previous year due to the anticipated Fall 2020 student credit hour enrollment. In June the Board had approved a continuation budget for 2020-21 pending approval of the state budget and fall enrollment figures;
- a final fiscal-year 2021 housing and dining budget of $27 million, a $1.4 million reduction from the fiscal-year budget of $29.2 million. The budget reflects a 20-percent decrease in on-campus residential students;
- proceeding with securing professional design and other pre-construction services and or goods related to the design and fundraising for the Jim Crow Museum building project;
- obtaining an appraisal of the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts building at 2 Fulton West in Grand Rapids, and to enter into required contractual and legal documents, upon legal review and approval, to retain the real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) to secure offers to purchase the property;
- a professional services agreement with Plas Legal Services, PLLC to provide legal services to the office of the vice president and general counsel, upon legal review and; and
- three new appointees to the boards of directors of FSU-authorized charter school academies. Further approved were charter contract extensions for Battle Creek Montessori Academy, in Springfield; Michigan Collegiate, in Roseville; and Joy Preparatory Academy, in Detroit.
The trustees are chair Amna P. Seibold, of East Grand Rapids; vice-chair Ana L. Ramirez-Saenz, of Grand Rapids; secretary Rupesh K. Srivastava, of Wixom; member-at-large Lori A. Gwizdala, of Bay City; Robert J. Hegbloom, of Norton Shores; Kurt A. Hofman, of Grand Rapids; Kari L. Sederburg, of East Lansing; and LaShanda R. Thomas, of Grosse Pointe.
The next regular meeting of the Board is Friday, Dec. 18 in Big Rapids. Committee meetings begin at 3 p.m. followed by the 4 p.m. full board meeting.