For the first time in two years, Ferris State University graduates gathered in the Wink Arena of the Ewigleben Sports Complex Saturday, Dec. 18, for in-person commencement. More than 600 graduates earned degrees and certificates.
During the three commencement ceremonies, Ferris President David Eisler told students that their dedication and perseverance helped them reach an important goal. He added that the accomplishment happened despite various obstacles, including COVID-19.
“I am pleased you joined us to celebrate your accomplishment,” Eisler said. “With your hard work, sacrifice and determination, you made it to the end of this journey, but for you, another one now begins.”
Eisler also asked the Class of 2021 graduates to recognize the faculty and staff at Ferris, along with their parents, grandparents, spouses, children, significant others or friends who helped them with their accomplishment.
“As you celebrate, take time to thank those who have supported you,” Eisler said. “Their love and other contributions have helped you achieve this goal.”
Ferris alumnus Ronald Snead, of Stanwood, offered greetings for his peers on the university’s Board of Trustees.
“As a fellow Ferris graduate, I want you to understand that you have a huge network of alumni who are available and actively interested in supporting you,” Snead said. “On behalf of the board, I congratulate you.”
Traditionally, the most recent recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award is the featured speaker during the fall commencement ceremonies. In keeping with that tradition, the 2021 Distinguished Teacher Award winner Patrick Bishop, a professor of Marketing, in the College of Business, also addressed the commencement audiences. He offered a message of hope, rising from experiences with his young dog, Cooper, and his love of the works of poet Mary Oliver.
“If no one has ever told you, you can be a creative spark that can change this world,” Bishop said. “As Mary Oliver said in ‘A Summer Day,’ Tell me, ‘what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’”
Approximately 860 students graduated with degrees or certificates. Students in Ferris’ Statewide and Online programs took part with their affiliated colleges. A morning commencement greeted graduates in the College of Arts, Sciences and Education, an early afternoon session celebrated those from the College of Business. The late afternoon gathering honored the colleges of Engineering Technology and Health Professions.