Skip to Top NavigationSkip to ContentSkip to Footer

President's Message to Campus - October 18, 2019

Dawg Days

Tomorrow will be the first of six Dawg Days scheduled throughout the 2019-2020 academic year. Hosted inside the University Center, this event brings prospective students and their parents to the Big Rapids campus to introduce them to our University. Attendees will listen to various presentations from Admissions and Financial Aid, tour the campus and enjoy lunch at The Quad Café.

I am grateful to the many faculty and staff who support Dawg Days by meeting with these prospective students and sharing about their programs and efforts. Your presence brings a knowledgeable, personable touch to these recruitment events and is much appreciated by students and their families considering Ferris. Thank you also to everyone in Admissions who staffs and coordinates these important and highly successful recruitment events. If you have never experienced a Dawg Day, I encourage you to attend. There is also a Dawg Day scheduled for next Saturday, Oct. 26.

Provost Search Committee Update

It was wonderful to see the high level of interest from faculty and staff willing to serve on the search committee for the University’s next provost. The following faculty and staff were selected to serve on the committee:

  • Sandy Alspach, College of Arts, Sciences and Education
  • Lori Armstrong, College of Business
  • Peter Bradley, Retention and Student Success
  • Mark Dunneback, College of Engineering Technology
  • Amy Greene, Extended and International Operations
  • Kristi Haik, College of Arts, Sciences and Education
  • Kim Hancock, College of Pharmacy
  • Sarah Hinkley, College of Optometry
  • Robin Hoisington, Academic Affairs
  • Emmanuel Jadhav, College of Health Professions
  • Leonard Johnson, Academic Affairs
  • Leah Monger, FLITE Library
  • Glen Okonoski, College of Education and Human Services
  • Piram Prakasam, Office of International Education
  • Jeanine Ward-Roof, Student Affairs
  • Shari Wessels, College of Engineering Technology

There were many more people who volunteered for this committee, and we were unable to include everyone who was willing to serve. Please know we are very grateful for your interest.  The committee looks forward to engaging the entire campus community as the search progresses. Thank you to co-chairs Gayle Lopez and David Pilgrim for leading this important effort, and to Tammy Babcock for providing support for the committee.

Minds Aflame

As part of its new three-year Beyond: Sustainability Initiative, the Office of International Education is hosting its first Minds Aflame event. Modeled after TedX talks, speakers will share informative and inspiring talks focusing on sustainability from environmental, social and economic perspectives. An impressive group of speakers has been assembled for this event:

  • Gayle DeBruyn, professor of Collaborative Design and chief sustainability officer for Kendall College of Art and Design
  • Alex Cartwright, assistant professor of Economics, College of Business
  • Deeb Eid, assistant professor, College of Pharmacy
  • Jennifer Johnson, professor of Geography, chair of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the College of Arts, Sciences and Education and co-chair of Ferris’ Sustainability Committee
  • Sam McMullen, executive director of
  • Brad Morgan, owner and co-founder of Morgan Composting/Dairy Doo
  • Sister Damien Marie Savino, dean of Science and Sustainability at Aquinas College
  • Chris Treter, owner and co-founder of Higher Grounds coffee company.

This event is Tuesday, Oct. 22 from 6-9 p.m. in Williams Auditorium and is sponsored by the Office of International Education, the FSU Sustainability Committee, and the College of Arts, Sciences and Education.

Bulldog Family and Friends Weekend

Currently more than 1,500 friends and family will be in Big Rapids visiting their students and our campus for Bulldog Family and Friends Weekend Oct. 25-26. A variety of events are planned to help our students, their families and friends of all ages engage with each other on campus and in the community. A full listing is available on the Family and Friends website.

Thank you to the planning committee for collaborating and giving our students and their guests a warm welcome to Big Rapids: Kaylee Burke, Nick Campau, Jason Daday, Angela Garrey (chair), Omar Gonzalez, Justin Harden, Kara Kosloski, Kathy Lake, Bryan Marquardt, Melanie Mulder, Joy Pulsifer, Scott Rossen, Mark Schuelke, Eric Simon, Nick Smith, Linda Telfer and Katie Thomas. This is the fourth annual Family and Friends Weekend, and it is impressive to see the growth and interest in this event.

Foundation for Excellence Benefit

To celebrate the transformative experience our students receive and the generosity of our donors, The Ferris Foundation is hosting the 21st annual Foundation for Excellence Benefit on Friday, Nov. 1 at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.

During the pre-event reception, guests will have the opportunity to visit with Student Affairs staff and respective departments, in addition to student-focused organizations and other areas on campus. In this, attendees will see first-hand how faculty and staff help our students to become leaders, to think globally and give them a well-rounded campus life experience.

The evening will include special recognition of several recent significant gifts to the Foundation, in addition to our Opportunity scholarship and faculty/staff merit grant recipients.  Current progress on our comprehensive campaign, Now and Always, will be announced. The night will be capped off by our keynote speaker, Ferris alumnus and Board of Trustee Robert Hegbloom. He is a 1986 graduate of the College of Engineering Technology and currently the vice president of Ram Brand International. Bob will share his unique story about his upbringing, his time at Ferris and how both experiences have shaped who he is today.

If you have not yet purchased tickets and would like to attend, there is still time to make your reservations online. Proceeds from the evening are used for student scholarships and faculty merit grants.


Last weekend our athletic teams saw much success on the road. Volleyball won both of its matches against Grand Valley and Davenport, and is now 14-3. Football rolled past Wayne State 59-13 and is currently 6-0 on the season. Soccer split their matches, winning 2-0 over Saginaw but falling to Ashland 2-1. Women’s tennis also split, defeating Lake State, but falling to Michigan Tech.

The women’s golf team placed fourth in the Music City Invitational held near Nashville, Tenn., and will close out their season next week at the Chippewa Invitational in Detroit.

This weekend, our volleyball team heads to the very competitive Midwest Region Crossover in Indianapolis as our conference’s first-seed in the nation’s largest collegiate volleyball tournament. Teams from three conferences – our Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) and the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) will compete in 63 matches on 11 courts. Our team opens tournament play today versus the G-MAC's second-seed Walsh at 2:30 p.m. before taking on the GLVC's second-seed Rockhurst on Saturday at 10 a.m. Action concludes Saturday afternoon in a contest against GLVC's fifth-seed Missouri-St. Louis at 4 p.m.

Soccer is at home this weekend, hosting Wisconsin-Parkside today at 4 p.m., followed by a contest at noon on Sunday against Purdue Northwest. Football is now the only undefeated team in the GLIAC and has won 24 consecutive regular season games. After playing four of their last five games on the road, they host Northwood Saturday at 1 p.m.

Finally, freshman men’s tennis player Yannic Nader is competing as an at-large selection at the 2019 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Cup this week in Rome, Ga. This is an impressive accomplishment for a player in his first year of college competition.

It is very exciting to see the individual and team success of our student-athletes. Best of luck to all as you compete this weekend.

David L. Eisler, president