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Alumna McKay to Receive Honorary Doctorate at Ferris Commencement Ceremony

Ferris State UniversityFerris State University will award Teresa (Fraser) McKay, an alumna, former Bulldog athlete and the current director of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service its Honorary Doctorate of Business and Industry, during commencement ceremonies beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 5 in Big Rapids.

McKay, a 1982 graduate of Ferris’ Accounting/Finance program in the College of Business, will participate in the ceremonies to be held in the Jim Wink Arena of the Ewigleben Sports Complex. She has nearly 10 years of service directing a DFAS workforce of 12,000 military and civilian employees, which is the world’s largest finance and accounting organization. McKay’s tenure as director is the longest in the agency’s history.

She said her personal goals for athletics and academics motivated her choice to enroll in what was then Ferris State College.

“Growing up in northeast Lower Michigan, I was very involved in sports,” McKay said. “I made the volleyball team as a walk-on, under coach Monica Folske, and continued to play for Kathy DeBoer. I also played on the basketball team for coach Pat Dolan. I might admit to having greater memories of my coaches, than specific recollections of the Business faculty.”

McKay said her father was an Army officer and businessman who helped shape her decision to pursue opportunities in Ferris’ College of Business.

“I really liked Accounting, from the first class I took at Ferris,” McKay said. “My experience in athletics was a mini-model of what I have found to be successful strategies in the workforce, promoting team concepts, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of those who work for me and emphasizing the importance of personal effort.”

McKay’s return to the Ferris campus for commencement joins with a number of other visits, both for the sake of her employer and the university, as she serves on the Accountancy Advisory Board

“Our agency has a robust campus recruiting program for entry-level employees, so I have turned to the College of Business to find a number of interns and employees,” McKay said. “It has been a very successful endeavor for the DFAS and I try to come to campus as often as I can.”

She also attended a 2016 reunion for Ferris’ women athletes, which was held in the city of Big Rapids.

With more than 30 years of experience in accounting and financial management, McKay is a certified public accountant, a certified management accountant and a certified government financial manager. She received the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award in 2006 and the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award, in 2015. McKay also has her Master of Business Administration from Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama. She said the honorary doctorate, from Ferris, was “most unexpected.”

“I knew the honor existed, of course,” McKay said. “This is nothing that I ever dreamed of, and I am most thankful to the College of Business and the university.”

Also receiving honorary doctorates during Spring 2018 commencement ceremonies will be Alex Gorsky, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Johnson & Johnson, and Robert M. and Ellen A. Thompson, of Thompson-McCully, based in Belleville, Michigan.

Approximately 1,900 Ferris students will participate in the Spring 2018 commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5 in Big Rapids.

The university’s ticketed commencement ceremonies will be held in the Jim Wink Arena in the Ewigleben Sports Complex. Those guests without tickets will be able to watch the ceremony via a live stream on the university’s commencement website.

PHOTO CAPTION: Teresa (Fraser) McKay, a former Ferris State University athlete and director of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, an agency of the United States Department of Defense, will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Business and Industry from her alma mater. McKay will take part in the commencement ceremony for Ferris' College of Business the afternoon of Saturday, May 5.