For more than 40 years, Karl Linebaugh has been an important figure in the Big Rapids community, both in his professional role as president of Chemical Bank’s North Region and through his altruistic service to Ferris State University and many civic organizations. As a result, Ferris’ Board of Trustees will recognize Linebaugh and his achievements with an honorary Doctorate of Business and Industry degree.
Linebaugh and his wife, Cindy, have been Big Rapids stalwarts since moving to town in 1972. Since then, he has been a true pillar of the community, someone who has been an extremely positive force for business, education and the arts.
“When you have been a resident of Big Rapids for as long as we have your dedication, appreciation and love for this community becomes second nature and the contributions of time and resources becomes almost automatic,” he said.
Linebaugh’s involvement in the community includes serving on various boards and committees. He is a former member and president of the Big Rapids Jaycees, and a former board member and president of the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce. He is a member who previously served as president and on the board of the Big Rapids Lions Club, and is a founding board member, past president and current member of the Mecosta County Community Foundation. He is a member of First United Methodist Church and chair of its finance committee. He also served as co-president of ArtWorks and is on the advisory board of the Salvation Army.
His contributions to the Big Rapids community earned him the Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year recognition and the Mecosta County General Hospital Foundation’s Northern Lights Award in Business and Industry.
Linebaugh also has deep ties to the University. In addition to serving on the Ferris Foundation Board of Directors, his involvement with Ferris includes a board position and past chair on the Friends of Ferris and membership in the University’s Founder’s Club. He is past president of the Bulldog Club and served on the 2003 presidential search committee.
In addition, his father, William, taught at Ferris from 1969 to 1988. Linebaugh’s parents established the William and Marjorie Linebaugh Scholarship, which is awarded annually to an undergraduate student majoring in communications at Ferris.
Another unique association Linebaugh has with the university comes via his banking career. Ferris State University founder Woodbridge N. Ferris was president of Big Rapids Savings Bank from 1902 until his death in 1928. That bank became First National, then affiliated with Chemical Bank in 1988. Linebaugh became Big Rapids community president in 1989. He has Big Rapids Savings Bank stock certificate No. 1 hanging in his office.
Linebaugh will address the College of Business graduates during the 4 p.m. ceremony on Saturday, May 9 in Wink Arena of the Ewigleben Sports Complex in Big Rapids. He plans to tell graduates about his life experiences and the four values that define his life: happy, humble, helpful and hard work.
Also receiving honorary doctorates will be Dale Hagerman and Frederick E. Shell. You can find out more information on Ferris’ commencement ceremonies, here.