Program Expansion & Innovation

Now & Always - The Campaign for Ferris State University


Program Expansion & Innovation


Ferris’ founders, Woodbridge and Helen Ferris, were entrepreneurs. They saw a need for higher education: a school where students could gain marketable skills, one that focused on doing rather than theorizing. They opened the Big Rapids Industrial School, which flourished over the years, ultimately becoming Ferris State University.

In keeping with our founders’ vision, we offer 190 degree programs in growing fields, such as health sciences, technology and business. Twenty of the University’s programs are one-of-kind in the state or the nation. Industry partners advise Ferris’ academic programs and provide excellent internships, ensuring that students can access more relevant coursework and hands-on educational experiences.

Through the campaign, we want to strengthen our career-oriented focus and expand the University’s horizons into other practical, productive ways of learning.

College of Pharmacy

The College of Pharmacy has a distinguished tradition of providing Michigan and the region with exceptional pharmacists capable of advancing the profession while providing the highest level of patient care. As it nears its 125th anniversary, the College has grown to more than 140 graduates annually and almost 7,000 alumni serving in every type of pharmacy practice.

Pharmacy Campaign

In June 2017, the College completed its first-ever campaign, raising almost $12 million for student scholarships, programmatic enrichment, and renovations to the Hagerman Pharmacy Building. Pharmacy alumni and friends in large numbers have stepped forward in support of the College, not only with generosity, but with continued engagement and considerable pride in its rich history and ongoing work.

Pharmacy practice today demands an enhanced learning experience featuring the most current, hands-on, and simulated instructional environments. Consequently, funding for the renovation of the Hagerman Pharmacy Building remains a critical focus, along with increased scholarships to recruit and retain the nation’s best students. The College’s commitment to research and discovery is reflected in an initiative to establish endowments that support faculty-led innovations to healthcare delivery and improved healthcare for our communities.

Support the College of Pharmacy

Institute for Construction Education and Training ( ICET)

Institute for Construction Education and Training

The Institute for Construction Education and Training ( ICET) is recognized as the primary training and certification location in Michigan for hot-mix asphalt, soil density, and aggregate and materials testing. An extension of Ferris’ Construction Management program, ICET was created in the 1980s to meet the needs of industry and housed in an old building adjacent to campus. Nearly 40 years later, that same facility is now sub-standard with insufficient space, improper sewage and water, unsafe ventilation, and inadequate heating. The new facility will serve as a state-of-the-art industry training center for Hot Mix Asphalt and Aggregate Testing Certification and offer academic laboratory use for advanced materials classes. It will include adequate parking, new equipment, increased space from eight to 12 students and will include a 24-seat classroom. This Institute for Construction Education and Training project will demonstrate and provide an optimal teaching and learning experience for students now and in the future.

Support the Institute for Construction Education and Training (donor must designate OTHER and specify gift)

Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia

Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia

Established in 2012, the Jim Crow Museum houses over 9,000 artifacts – artifacts that demonstrates how racist ideas and anti-black images were pervasive within American culture. It also shows how these images and ideas have resurfaced in recent years. Lauded by Henry Louis Gates Jr. as “One of the most important contributions to the study of American history,” the mission of the museum is to use objects of intolerance to teach tolerance and promote social justice. To continue and advance this important work, Ferris State University is planning a project to build a new museum, archive, research, and education center on the Big Rapids campus. The project will improve the Jim Crow Museum’s capacity to expand its collection of artifacts documenting the characterization of African Americans during the Jim Crow era. The center will also provide an educational environment for humanities researchers, school groups, and other groups that will immerse learners and scholars within the history and narratives of the collections. This new facility will integrate scholarship related to social justice with collection, preservation, and documentation of racist objects.

Support the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia

College of Engineering Technology: Swan Annex Expansion and Renovation

Swan Annex

Sixty years ago, Ferris launched its manufacturing curriculum with the Machine Tool program. In the years since, the College of Engineering Technology has expanded and diversified its offerings to reflect the transition from the mechanical age to 21st-century technologies. Today, Ferris’ welding and manufacturing programs represent the pinnacle of manufacturing in higher education, as evidenced by the waitlists for students for these programs and a job placement rate of nearly 100%. As the laboratories and facilities are expanded and upgraded, Ferris students will have the opportunity to learn on the latest equipment and stay abreast of the rapidly changing developments in processing technologies, tooling, robotics, adhesives, friction-stir welding and more.

A major expansion and renovation of the Swan Annex will expand opportunities for students and the industry partners who hire them. The new space will allow for substantial enrollment growth and will transform the labs, doubling their size and significantly improving their use for manufacturing-related programs such as CAD drafting and tool design, mechanical engineering technology, automotive engineering technology and rubber and plastics. Additionally, it will enable the College to launch a Center for Welding Excellence and a Center for Advanced Manufacturing.

Construction began with a $22.5 million grant from the state of Michigan; Ferris is obliged to match a minimum of $7.5 million in funding and resources. This support will help produce a whole new level of graduates for our business and industry partners, provide an educational resource for manufacturers across the state and prepare Ferris students to be the next generation of leaders in engineering technology.

Support the College of Engineering Technology (donor must designate Swan Annex Renovation)

Center for Athletics Performance

Center for Athletics Performance

The Ferris State University Bulldogs have a track record of excellence, with nationally ranked teams in football, hockey, basketball, volleyball, golf and tennis. Student-athletes are among Ferris’ most dedicated and disciplined students. They compete at high levels while also developing sought-after skills in leadership, teamwork and perseverance.

Campaign support will make Bulldog training facilities match the student-athletes’ commitment and bring Bulldog recruitment onto a more level playing field. A $6.5 million expansion will include a Center for Athletics Performance, with a new, larger weight room and much-needed additional locker rooms, team meeting spaces and coaches’ offices. The addition will also allow for the reconfiguration of the women’s volleyball arena, which will enable the University to host NCAA tournaments.

Support the Center for Athletics Performance

Professional Golf Management

College of Business: Professional Golf Management

Ferris has a nationally renowned Professional Golf Management program. Through the campaign, the University seeks to raise $3.5 million for the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center, which will provide a state-of -the-art functional indoor facility for year-round golf instruction and practice. In addition, the center will house the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, a distinction that will ensure national prominence for the Ferris PGA Golf Management program.

Support the College of Business (donor must designate Professional Golf Management Program)

College of Arts and Sciences: Summer Research Grants

College of Arts and Sciences Summer Research Grants

Campaign support will strengthen the student experience by establishing Summer Undergraduate Research and Creativity Grants and Fellowships. These awards provide students with real-world, hands-on experience that accelerates progress toward degree completion and makes them top candidates for employment.

Support the College of Arts and Sciences (donor must designate OTHER and specify gift)

College of Education and Human Services: Criminal Justice Training Center

Criminal Justice Training Center

The Criminal Justice Training Center will bring together job-ready education and community partnerships. With campaign investment, this center will integrate smart classroom technology, industry-inspired curriculum and adaptive technology, along with contract training for a variety of public agencies.

Support the College of Education and Human Services (donor must designate Criminal Justice Program)

Center for Academic Literacies

Center for Academic Literacies

Campaign investment will allow us to strengthen Ferris’ commitment to students by opening a Center for Academic Literacies, a facility that will enable us to address student academic challenges actively and holistically. By combining a writing center, optometric clinic and experts in reading, writing and mathematics, this new center will give students one-stop access to services that will support their progress toward a degree.

Support the Center for Academic Literacies (donor must designate Center for Academic Literacies)

College of Health Professions: Institute for Mobile Health and Technology

Institute for Mobile Health and Technology

This collaborative priority between the health disciplines will improve healthcare delivery and serve the holistic health needs of the underserved, rural populations in our region. Campaign support will create a collaborative institute — a mobile health clinic that will provide health screenings and community education across Northern Michigan. At the same time, it will prepare future healthcare providers in a setting that stresses inter-professional and transdisciplinary education, research and practice. It will further serve as a site for evidence-based research and practice for faculty and other healthcare professionals in our region.

Support the College of Health Professions (donor must designate Institute for Mobile Health and Technology)

Michigan College of Optometry

Michigan College of Optometry

The Michigan College of Optometry (MCO) has long been recognized for developing leaders in this vital healthcare field. Campaign support will secure this position by allowing us to offer scholarships to all optometry students at Ferris. This goal will help our current doctoral students complete their studies and create a distinct, competitive advantage for MCO in attracting and retaining the best doctoral candidates in the future.

Support the Michigan College of Optometry