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Trustees Approve Honorary Doctorate Recipients, New Degree Program

Board of Trustees
The Ferris State University Board of Trustees hosted a regularly-scheduled meeting on Friday, May 10, in University Center, on the Big Rapids campus. Committee meetings were held at 10 a.m. after which the full board met, at 11 a.m. 

Ferris State University’s Board of Trustees has approved honorary doctoral degrees for alumni Mary Garvelink, principal owner and president of Commercial Design Engineering; Jeff Rowe, former executive vice president of Diplomat Pharmacy; and Mickey Shapiro, CEO of M. Shapiro Real Estate Group and a principal of Lautrec Limited, in addition to a new associate degree, at its regular meeting on Friday, Feb. 10.

Garvelink is a 1972 College of Education and Human Services alumna; Rowe
is a 1979 alumnus of the College of Pharmacy; and Shapiro studied at Ferris, in the 1960s, before he earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, in 1969.

“Ferris State University is honored to recognize three remarkable Ferris alumni – Mary Garvelink, Jeff Rowe and Mickey Shapiro,” Ferris President David Eisler said. “Each is a leader in their field and actively involved in helping others through their charitable activities. They illustrate the type of extraordinary success possible with ability, determination and a Ferris education.”

Garvelink has a history of success as a businessperson, an educator, a philanthropist and more. After graduating from Ferris, Garvelink taught at the University of Colorado—Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Community Mary GarvelinkCollege (Colo.) and in the Colorado Springs School District. In 1975, Garvelink and her husband, John, a 1971 Ferris College of Engineering Technology alumnus, started Commercial Design Engineering, a full-service mechanical contracting company. Today, CDE is a Certified Woman-Owned Business that has two offices in Colorado Springs, an office and sheet metal fabrication facility in Grand Junction, Colo., and an office in Cheyenne, Wyo. For more than 40 years, she has been active in the plumbing, heating and cooling industry. Garvelink is an emeritus member of The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors and, in September 2016, received a Distinguished Alumni Award, from Ferris.

Rowe has more than 30 years of experience in the specialty pharmacy industry, having served most recently as executive vice president of Diplomat Pharmacy and as a member of its board. He started at Diplomat, Jeff Rowein 1993, after owning two successful independent pharmacies. In the time he has worked at Diplomat, the company has grown from a single location, with revenue of less than $5 million, to 16 locations and $3 billion in sales while being traded publicly on the New York Stock Exchange. Rowe has also served, at Ferris, as a member of the College of Pharmacy Advisory Board, from 2007 through 2015, and as chair of the Pharmacy Forward initiative’s steering committee, since 2012. He was recently honored with Ferris’ Distinguished Alumni Award. In May 2015, Rowe, and his Ferris alumna wife, Annette, made a $1.5 million gift to the university’s College of Pharmacy.

Shapiro, from Farmington Hills, holds ownership positions in numerous real estate entities, nationwide. His companies own and provide complete property management services for apartment complexes and manufactured Mickey Shapirohome communities throughout the U.S. and Canada. These communities have values in excess of $1 billion. Shapiro is actively involved in numerous charitable organizations, throughout the U.S. He has donated funds to create the Sara and Asa Shapiro Opportunity Scholarship Endowment, at Ferris, to acknowledge and support provisionally-admitted students who have successfully completed their trial year. In 2002, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. In 2015, he co-chaired an event with Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg, founder of the USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education.

Spring 2017 main-campus commencement ceremonies take place Friday and Saturday, May 5-6, in Jim Wink Arena.

In other news, trustees also approved an Associate in Applied Science in Information Security and Intelligence. The degree’s curriculum has been reviewed and recommended for approval by the University Curriculum Committee, Academic Senate, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Blake and the president. The university plans to enroll students, in this College of Business program, beginning with the Fall 2017 semester.

Eisler welcomed three new members of the Board of Trustees: Robert J. Hegbloom, of Clarkston; Amna Seibold, of East Grand Rapids; and LaShanda R. Thomas, of Grosse Pointe. The new trustees were appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder, in December 2016, and officially assumed their responsibilities in January 2017.

“We are delighted to have Bob Hegbloom, Amna Seibold and LaShanda Thomas join the Ferris State University Board of Trustees,” Eisler said. “I am appreciative that they will lend their considerable skills, expertise and experience to our leadership efforts at Ferris.”

Trustees also approved the following:

  • Fifteen sabbatical leave requests, as recommended by the provost, after submission by the All-University Sabbatical Review Committee.

  • Four appointments and 17 reappointments to the boards of directors of FSU-authorized charter school academies.

  • Reauthorization of the Clara B. Ford Strict Discipline Academy, in Dearborn Heights, Mich. The academy was originally authorized, in 2007; reauthorized for five additional years, in 2012; and is now authorized through June 2022.

  • Acceptance of administrative reports from Khagendra Thapa, president of the Academic Senate; Josh Olszewski, president of Student Government; and President Eisler.

The rest of the trustees are Chair Paul E. Boyer, of Ada; Vice Chair Lori A. Gwizdala, of Bay City; Secretary Ana L. Ramirez-Saenz, of Rockford; Immediate Past Chair Gary L. Granger, of Byron Center; and Rupesh K. Srivastava, of Wixom.