Skip to Top NavigationSkip to ContentSkip to Footer

Ferris to Award Two Honorary Doctorates

BIG RAPIDS -- Ferris State University will confer honorary doctorate degrees upon William Dansby of East Lansing and John Fenn of Sterling Heights on the second day of the University’s spring commencement Saturday, May 5.

William Dansby has been executive vice president of the Michigan Optometric Association since 1967. During his 40 years at the helm of the association, membership has doubled in the organization and MOA assets have increased from less than $25,000 to more than $2.5 million. Dansby spearheaded efforts that led Michigan lawmakers to pass legislation allowing optometrists to use diagnostic and therapeutic drugs in their practice, resulting in better care for sufferers of glaucoma and other eye diseases.

Dansby helped establish the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University in 1975. Thanks to his efforts, MCO graduates are an integral part of providing state-of-the-art eye care to residents of Michigan and beyond.

For many years, Dansby has served as a member of the MCO’s advisory committee, working to help secure general and capital outlay funding and accreditation for a new building.

As editor of the Michigan Optometrist, Dansby has worked with MCO’s administration, faculty and students to promote the College’s activities, publish articles, advise students and assist graduates.

John R. Fenn founded Fenn & Associates in 1978. The company is a leading land surveying, civil engineering and consulting firm, serving industrial, commercial, professional, residential and institutional clients. The Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors named Fenn Surveyor of the Year in 1998, and he is recognized as an honorary member of Lambda Sigma national honor society.

In 2005 the University dedicated the John R. and Lynda D. Fenn Digital Photogrammetry and GIS Laboratory, made possible through the Fenns’ generosity.

Fenn has served as president of the National Society of Professional Surveyors and chaired the NSPS’ Practice Committee. He serves as a member of the Surveying Engineering Program Advisory Committee at Ferris and has been a member of curriculum advisory committees at a number of other Michigan institutes of higher learning.

Dansby will speak at the 12:30 p.m. May 5 ceremony to graduates of the Michigan College of Optometry and College of Education and Human Services, while Fenn will speak at the 4 p.m. ceremony to graduates of the College of Technology.

The University is expecting approximately 1,400 graduates to participate in commencement ceremonies.