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Donors Recognized at Weekend Societies of Distinction Event in Grand Rapids

Howard StrossPeople who have generously supported Ferris State University’s mission and core values were recognized at the Societies of Distinction dinner held on Saturday, May 3 at Noto’s Old World Italian Dining in Grand Rapids.

“The evening was truly a celebration of the kind of generosity that changes the lives for many, many students, making a Ferris education possible for people who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend our university,” Ferris President David Eisler said. “I want to thank our many donors and our staff from University Advancement and Marketing who worked very hard to make the evening a wonderful success.”

During the evening, individuals who have given generously to the university shared remarks. These individuals included Stephanie Leonardos, president and CEO of Amerikam, who spoke about her company’s engagement with students; Mike Bigford, CEO of Utility Supply and Construction, who sponsors the Michael and JoAnn Bigford Mentorship Fund and an endowed scholarship for Professional Golf Association-Golf Management students; the Totten family, including Joan Totten, director of Student Academic Affairs for the College of Engineering Technology, who support the Joan E. Totten Endowed Scholarship and Totten Family Hockey Scholarship Endowment; and Howard Stross, founder of the Stross Law firm and a Woodbridge N. Ferris Society member, who also chairs the Ferris Foundation Board of Directors.

The Ferris Foundation Board was briefed about the status of the university’s fundraising efforts. The Foundation Endowment has now grown to more than $44 million. A decade ago, this was less than $20 million. This year’s phonathon using students as callers for the Annual Fund raised more than $132,000. So far this year, contributions to Ferris have exceeded the $9 million mark, a university record.