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Ferris President Eisler Named '2013 Education Newsmaker of the Year'

David Eisler, president of Ferris State UniversityRecently, the Grand Rapids Business Journal named Ferris State University President David Eisler its “2013 Education Newsmaker of the Year.” The newsmaker awards recognize leaders in 10 fields – education, government, health care, law, manufacturing, non-profits/philanthropy, real estate and development, retail, sports/arts and entertainment, and technology – who most impacted their field throughout West Michigan.

Gemini Publications editor Carole Valade cited the groundbreaking partnerships that Ferris and its Kendall College of Art and Design have successfully pursued under Eisler’s leadership.

“In 2013, the Ferris Board of Trustees, on the recommendation of Ferris President David Eisler, approved a ‘merger’ of sorts that resulted in Kendall’s leadership to manage the 25-year-old Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, one of the community jewels,” Valade said. “Further, Ferris/Kendall entered into a school partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools, began its architecture degree program and opened the first fashion design program in the heart of the city at the Woodbridge N. Ferris Building.”

The GRBJ additionally noted Ferris’ economic engagement in Grand Rapids through its partnership with Grand Rapids Community College, its College of Pharmacy instructional space on the city’s “Medical Mile,” and the university’s role in developing a design-based economy in West Michigan.

“Ferris is proud to be a strong partner with Grand Rapids and all of west Michigan. This award reflects the hard work and continued efforts of many people at our University.  Our vision at Ferris is to be the premier educational partner, and that extends beyond the university to the communities we serve,” Eisler said. “I am especially proud of Ferris’ collaboration with schools and higher educational institutions in Grand Rapids and throughout West Michigan.

Eisler has been president of Ferris for 10 years. During that time, the university has grown from 11,822 students to its Fall 2013 enrollment of 14,533. Approximately 4,400 Ferris students come from an area that includes Grand Rapids’ Kent County and seven adjoining counties. In addition to the renovation which resulted in the Woodbridge N. Ferris Building and its investment in space for its Pharmacy program in Grand Rapids, the university constructed a new facility for its Michigan College of Optometry and is working on a major upgrade of its student center – both on its Big Rapids campus.

“The year 2013 was one of significant expansion and historic engagement for Ferris State University in Grand Rapids,” Eisler said. “I look for that expansion to continue and that engagement to deepen.  As the city grows in importance – especially its arts community, design firms, advanced manufacturing industries and health care facilities – Ferris will be a part of this next chapter of the city’s rise.”