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Outstanding Graduate, May 2016-Dan Chilcote

Ferris State UniversityDan Chilcote understands what it takes to be part of a championship team, and to strive for academic excellence.

The Jackson, Mich. native believes that his experience with the Ferris State University Bulldog men’s basketball program, and in the classroom, as a student in the Honors program will support his desire to become a doctor, and pursue a career in emergency medicine. A major highlight of his Ferris experience will occur when he graduates as part of the College of Arts, Sciences and Education ceremony on Friday, May 6.

Chilcote said he came to this career decision as a youngster, prior to entering Jackson Lumen Christi High School.

“It’s been a goal since I was 10 or 11 years old, I used to get latex gloves as a birthday gift,” he said. “Emergency medicine is kind of action-packed, there are many tense situations. It has its parallels to competitive athletics.”

While Chilcote’s professional goal has not wavered, there have been a number of obstacles to face, and adjustments required to become a graduate. Chilcote came to Ferris after first accepting a congressional nomination to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“My path is kind of unique, as I went to the academy, and that didn’t work out as I had expected,” Chilcote said. “The head basketball coach at that time, Bill Sall, and Ferris’ current coach, Andy Bronkema, had kept in touch with me. Coach Bronkema had recruited me, and said ‘We want you here.’ Coming to Ferris has been the most rewarding decision I’ve ever made.”

Chilcote’s abilities in the classroom have brought him many honors, as he made the Dean’s List in each semester that he was eligible, earned President’s and Dean’s Awards from the university, and was placed on the All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference Excellence Team in his sophomore, junior and senior years. He also learned about balancing athletic and academic achievement with service to the university.

“I was on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and the Athletic Advisory Committee,” Chilcote said. Being involved taught me about proper time management, and that helped to distinguish me from other students.”

Chilcote was able to complete his Bachelor of Science in Biology, Pre-Medicine requirements in four years, while taking a medical “redshirt” athletically as a sophomore, after suffering a torn labrum. He also dealt with two shoulder injuries and three concussions during his Ferris basketball career. Despite his hopes to contribute heavily in the frontcourt and as a three-point shooter with the Bulldog basketball team, Chilcote accepted his new opportunity as a support player. Ferris won the GLIAC men’s basketball tournament championship in the 2014-15 season and qualified for the NCAA Division II playoffs, an achievement for which Dan is proud.

“I’m an extremely competitive person, and went through a bit of a maturation process, as my teammates did also,” Chilcote said. “When those adjustments were made, we all got a lot better and the results were evident on the court.”

In the last year, Chilcote has balanced the completion of his bachelor’s degree requirements with challenges to meet in the athletic and academic ranks.

“I had another injury in what would have been my fifth year, so I was able to hang up the shoes without too much remorse,” Chilcote said. “I had the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) this year, and that took a lot of my focus.”

Even with practice tests and other preparatory materials available, Chilcote said the MCAT was definitely the most demanding test he had ever taken.

“It’s an animal, long and challenging, you walk out and you’re just fried,” he said. “I’m going to take it again on June 18, and after that, start applying, with hopes of finding a medical school in Michigan to attend in 2017.”

Chilcote views the next several months with optimism, and sees great opportunities for the next year, both personally and professionally.

“I’m considering spending my ‘gap year’ in a one-year master’s program, and there are several interesting possibilities available,” he said. “I’m also looking at finding a job in a hospital, to build up my resume.”

While the path ahead for Dan Chilcote presents some unknowns, he remains confident in his choices, and the opportunities they have brought him.

“The Ferris campus, and Big Rapids are close-knit communities, they’ve helped me to succeed in the classroom, and have a role in a championship on the court,” Chilcote said. “I’ve made the best friends of my life here.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Dan Chilcote, of Jackson, Mich., will graduate from the College of Arts, Sciences and Education in a ceremony that will take place on Friday, March 6 in Big Rapids.

This is part of a series of stories that recognize outstanding graduates with unique circumstances as they prepare for Spring 2016 commencement ceremonies. This year, Spring 2016 commencement ceremonies, for main campus, will be hosted May 6-7 in Jim Wink Arena of the Ewigleben Sports Complex.