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Collins, Horn, LaLonde join The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors

Three supporters of Ferris State University’s mission to prepare students for successful careers, responsible citizenship and lifelong learning have been appointed to the Ferris Foundation Board of Directors.

Two of the appointees are Ferris alumni: Dr. Barbara Horn, president and owner of ExpertEyes Family Eye Center and Optical in Washington and Chesterfield, Mich., and Robert LaLonde, vice president of higher education for Clark Construction Company in Lansing, Mich. The third appointee is John Collins Jr., district sales manager for the GM Southeast Region in Huntsville, Ala., and an avid Ferris hockey supporter.

“The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to welcome our three new directors. All will add much expertise and enthusiasm to The Ferris Foundation’s overall goal to help the students and faculty of Ferris State University,” said Howard Stross, board chair of The Ferris Foundation.

The Foundation is in its 15th year of providing scholarship assistance to many students who might not otherwise have access to a Ferris education, in addition to providing financial support for faculty study, exploration and service. It is governed by the board of directors, whose members are appointed for three-year terms.

The new appointees are:

John Collins Jr.

Collins hopes his years of experience in industry will be a beneficial contribution to the Ferris Foundation board. His interest in the university resulted through a business association and friendship with fellow board member Gary Trimarco, of Big Rapids, Mich., who introduced him in 2007 to Ferris ice hockey head coach Bob Daniels.

“They made a hockey fan out of a southern boy,” said Collins, who became friends with Daniels and has watched “many Bulldog hockey games.”

Collins began his career in the automotive industry in 1983 as a district sales manager in the Chevrolet Motor Division in Wilmington, N.C. His career path took him to Detroit four years later to become an area sales and service manager for the Chevrolet Marketing Center. He was promoted in 1999 to market area manager for GM North Central Region in Detroit, and, a year later, moved to Atlanta for the same position in the GM Southeast Region.

Collins returned to Detroit in 2002 to work on a special projects team for Dealer Network Planning and Investment. After completing that assignment in early 2013, he returned to GM’s Southeast Region to assume his current position.

“I’m also a certified mediator for GM and have experience in group dynamics and resolving issues,” Collins said. “I hope to bring a perspective that will be beneficial to the Foundation and its role for the university.”

He lives in Madison, Ala., with his wife, Jo.


Barbara L. Horn, O.D.

Horn, a 1998 graduate of Ferris’ Michigan College of Optometry, earned both her doctorate in Optometry and Bachelor of Science in Visual Science from Ferris, graduating with high distinction for both degrees.

“I am thrilled and honored to have been appointed to The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors,” Horn said. “I look forward to volunteering with this dedicated group of individuals working together to help support Ferris State in advancing and achieving its mission and goals.”

The recipient of numerous awards, including the Michigan Optometric Association’s 2011 Optometrist of the Year, 2007 Ferris Pacesetter Award, the MOA Young Optometrist of the Year award in 2005 and the American Optometric Association Young Optometrist of the Year in 2006. Horn also is a trustee for the AOA.

Horn is a board liaison for the AOA Communications and Marketing Group; the AOA-Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry Joint Project Team; the American Optometric Student Association; and The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

A diplomate for the American Board of Optometry, Horn is a member and past president of the Michigan Optometric Association and a member of the MOA Legislative Committee.

She lives in Washington, Mich., with her husband and their two children. She also has two step-children.


Robert LaLonde

LaLonde, of DeWitt, Mich., earned a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management and an Associate in Applied Science in Commercial/Industrial Building Technology from Ferris.

“My time as a student at Ferris was very transformational for me. Who I am and where I am today is because of the quality of the education I received at Ferris and the experiences I had there,” LaLonde said. “I want to pay it forward by giving back to Ferris, so future generations of students can have the same opportunities I have had."

He began his career in commercial construction at JM Olson Corporation, starting as a scheduling engineer and then advancing to project engineer, project superintendent and director of business development.

LaLonde was hired at Clark Construction Company in 2006, where he worked as a project manager and senior project manager before his current role as vice president. He is a LEED accredited professional through the U.S. Green Building Council.

LaLonde and his wife have two young daughters.

For more information on the Foundation, visit The Ferris Foundation website, here.