BIG RAPIDS – Become one of “They Who Dreamed…” at the 10th annual Ferris Foundation for Excellence Benefit at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids on Friday, Nov. 7, featuring best-selling author Mitch Albom (at right) and the first Ferris Humanitarian Award recipient Dr. Ronald P. Mahoney (Pharmacy – ’59).
Mahoney, of Houston, Texas, will be honored by Ferris for his outstanding contributions of service during the war in Vietnam as an artillery battalion surgeon and village doctor, as well as his current outreach activities in the rural cardiac clinics he established to serve low-income patients in the outlying communities of Houston.
Having grown up in the small Michigan town of Standish, Mahoney didn’t know what path his life would take. He remembers working at a very young age to help his parents. From selling cans of Cloverine brand salve to peddling newspapers, he understood early that he needed an education to make something of himself. He graduated from Ferris in 1959 with a degree in pharmacy and continued on to Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, obtaining his medical degree in 1963. An internship followed at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. He then headed to Vietnam and spent two years with the First Infantry division, with one of those years as a battalion surgeon. He received a Bronze Star and Vietnamese Medal of Honor.
Mahoney is currently the director of Cardiology at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital in Sugar Land after founding the heart program at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital in Houston. In addition, he has spent many years and dollars of his own establishing outreach clinics in rural communities, such as Eagle Lake, Texas, for patients who aren’t able to travel to the city for specialized heart care. He’ll treat 15 to 20 patients when he’s there each week, who often can’t pay for their medical care. They give him baked goods and fresh grown vegetables to show their appreciation for what he does for them and for their community. It’s the kind of small-town medicine he lives for.
Albom, a nationally-syndicated and award-winning columnist, radio show host, and national television commentator, has won more than 100 writing awards during his career and has been named the No. 1 sports columnist in the nation by the Sports Editors of America.
He is the author of 10 books, including phenomenal best-sellers The Five People You Meet In Heaven, Tuesdays With Morrie and his newest novel, For One More Day. He also hosts two popular radio programs on Detroit-based WJR, “The Mitch Albom Show” and “The Monday Sports Albom,” and is a regular ESPN panelist on the television show “The Sports Reporters.”
He has appeared on such programs as “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” CNN’s “Larry King Live,” NBC’s “Today Show,” ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “The Early Show” on CBS.
A Philadelphia native, Albom holds master’s degrees in journalism and business from Columbia University. He and his wife, Janine, live in suburban Detroit.
Established in 1991 to respond to the University’s need for a long-range fundraising program, The Ferris Foundation has grown over the last 17 years to include managing more than $35 million.
“Since the University was founded by Woodbridge N. Ferris nearly 125 years ago, its mission has been about providing opportunities for students,” said Foundation Chair-Elect Dick Shaw. “Through your generosity and the work of the Foundation, the dream of an education becomes a reality for current and future Ferris State University students.”
Individual tickets for the event may be purchased, or you may choose from a range of sponsorship levels. Funds raised support the Foundation for Excellence Scholarship Endowment for Ferris students and the Exceptional Merit Grant Award program for faculty and staff initiatives that advance the University’s mission.
To buy tickets, reserve a sponsorship or receive additional information, please call Kim Erickson at (231) 591-2365.