From relatively humble beginnings sprouted a dynamic office that has positively impacted the lives of thousands of Ferris State University students on the road to success during the last quarter century.
On Friday, April 29 the Office of Multicultural Student Services plans to celebrate its 25th anniversary as an on-campus department and resource for Ferris students. That celebration begins at 7 p.m. and takes place in the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Big Rapids. The event will pay tribute to a department started by Raymond Gant as the Office of Minority Student Affairs before it evolved, during the last quarter century, into today’s OMSS.
Matthew Chaney, the current OMSS director, is excited about this anniversary and has enjoyed the stories he has heard from the many alumni impacted by the office’s work. In the weeks and months leading up to the celebration, Chaney had opportunities to engage alumni and hear the memories that make them proud of the office and its contributions to Ferris since 1986.
“We feel like the office has been making significant contributions to the campus community by making a positive impact in the lives of so many students during the last 25 years,” Chaney said. “I don’t remember when it struck me that it was the anniversary year, but when it did I contacted the previous director, Raymond Gant, and said that I wanted to host a celebration for the 25th year of the office and recognize that great milestone in its history.”
The reception opens the event at 7 p.m. followed by a dinner and special presentations at 8 p.m. The entertainment portion of the celebration commences at 9 p.m.
The event will feature remarks from honorary guest speaker Ronald E. Snead, chair of Ferris’ Board of Trustees as well as a special presentation in recognition of Gant.
Chaney indicated that he anticipates more than 200 guests will be in attendance to celebrate the office’s 25th anniversary.
“We have a strong alumni base and a big reason for that is we have a lot of people who were greatly impacted by the efforts of our department over the years,” he said.
Many of the returning alumni will remember the department as Minority Student Affairs while others have come to know it by its current name, the Multicultural Student Services.
“We’ve evolved from the Office of Minority Student Affairs to the Office of Multicultural Student Services because we wanted to become a more inclusive office,” Chaney said of the name change. “We’ve incorporated the university’s core values as part of our mission. So, our services really haven’t changed in that we’re driven to support student success.”
The OMSS current staff consists of Chaney, director; Michael Wade, assistant director; Kia Hunter, GEAR UP coordinator; Andrea Beck-Jones, office secretary; and Tyrone Collins, admissions counselor.