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Program Expansion & Innovation

Now & Always - The Campaign for Ferris State University


Expand the University's Horizons

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. In keeping with our founders’ vision, Ferris offers over 190 degree programs, with twenty of these programs being one-of-a-kind in the state or the nation. Our students are advised by industry partners and access hands-on educational experiences through internships.

We want to strengthen our career-oriented focus and expand the University’s horizons into more practical, productive ways of learning.


Projects and Programs

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. Since its founding in 1893, the College has grown to more than 140 graduates annually and almost 7,000 alumni serving in every type of pharmacy practice.

In June 2017, the College completed its first-ever campaign, raising almost $12 million for Pharmacy student in labstudent 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.

Work remains in the College of Pharmacy as we transition to Phase 2 of the Pharmacy Forward campaign. The Focus of Phase 2 is on continued capital improvements, enhancing the curriculum and student experience, building scholarship support, and creating a fund for research, development and discovery within the College.

Support the College of Pharmacy

Institute for Construction Education and Training (ICET)

Completed Spring 2020

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.

Thanks in large part to a leadership gift, the new Asphalt Pavement Association of Michigan Training Facility, was completed in the Spring of 2020 and 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. This project provides an optimal teaching and learning experience for students now and in the future.

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.


College of Engineering Technology: Swan Annex Expansion and Renovation

Completed Spring 2019

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%. A major expansion and renovation of the Swan Annex has expanded opportunities for students and the industry partners who hire them. The new space will allow for substantial enrollment growth and doubles the size of the labs, 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.

Center for Athletics Performance (CAP)

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.

Learn more about the progress of the Center for Athletic Performance project.


Center for Virtual Learning

Rendering of the Center for Virtual Learning

Situated at the academic core of Ferris State University’s campus, the 64,000-square-foot Center for Virtual Learning (CVL) facility will create a physical location to bring together the university’s online education efforts. It will be home to Ferris State’s Information Security and Intelligence program, School of Digital Media, School of Education and eLearning. The new building will also host the eSports program at Ferris and cyber competitions. Construction on the $29.5 million Center for Virtual Learning on the university’s main campus is slated to begin in May 2021 and will continue through December 2022. The new building will give Ferris the opportunity to showcase itself as a leader in innovation and technology in Michigan. The Center for Virtual Learning represents our commitment to providing students and faculty with state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and learning. The development and creation of this signature building will change the landscape of Ferris State University and support our students and faculty engaged in high demand career fields.

Learn more about the Center for Virtual Learning here


Academic Literacies Center

Completed Fall 2018

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. Read more about ALC here.