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Hersey couple continues support of Ferris

BIG RAPIDS – When considering giving to a favorite charity or cause, money isn’t the only thing you can give. Longtime supporters of Ferris State University, Hersey residents Ferris and Jean Leach, recently donated a gift of land to the University.

“Ferris and Jean have been tremendous supporters of the university,” said Ferris State University President David L. Eisler. “They are examples for all of us of what is possible when people truly do care. They understand what our founder meant when he said we need to ‘make the world a better place.’ The Leaches’ continued support to the University means so much to our students, faculty and staff.”

Mr. Leach also has a unique connection to the University in that his father knew the University’s founder and named him after Woodbridge Ferris. And, he continues Ferris’ mission to “make the world a better place.”

“About 35 years ago I gave my first gift to Ferris, in honor of my dad, to fix up the old library,” said Ferris. “My dad graduated from Ferris when it was an industrial school, and my daughter Kristie graduated from Ferris as well, so it’s kind of in my blood,” laughed Ferris. “I heard President Eisler speak at a Rotary Club meeting and decided I wanted to give more, so I did.”

The Leaches also established the Ferris and Jean Leach Teacher Education Scholarship Endowment Fund. Once endowed, the fund will provide scholarships to deserving Teacher Education students who are interested in pursuing science and mathematics teaching careers in secondary schools.

“The College of Education and Human Services is very grateful to the Leaches for establishing the endowment,” said Dr. Michelle Johnston, dean of the College. “The scholarships will provide so much for students...and for many, receiving a scholarship is the deciding factor on whether or not they can complete their student teaching and receive their degree.”

The Biology, Math and Physical Sciences departments at the university will also benefit from the Leaches’ generosity, as they have also recently established an endowment that will provide unrestricted funding to the departments that will help provide equipment and supplies to students involved in research projects, stipends to attract qualified students to work under the direction of Ferris faculty and funding for student travel to conferences.

“Giving students the opportunity and the funding to help with their research under the guidance of dedicated faculty will greatly increase the students’ skills and marketability when they graduate and begin their professional careers. We are very fortunate,” commented Matthew Klein, dean of the College of Arts, Sciences and Education.

For more information or to make a gift to Ferris State University, please contact The Ferris Foundation at (231) 591-2365 or Details about establishing scholarships or endowments may be obtained from the Advancement Office at (231) 591-3825.