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Alumna Graves Joins The Ferris Foundation Board, Bringing Governmental and Developmental Expertise

PhotoDenise Graves

Six Ferris State University alumni have joined The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors. Among the new directors is Denise Graves, a 1989 graduate of the College of Business and university relations director, in entrepreneurship and innovation for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Graves said her nomination as a director, approved by Ferris’ Board of Trustees on Friday, Dec. 17 meeting is “thrilling.”

“I view The Ferris Foundation Board as a great opportunity to do important work for students and to assist the faculty and staff of the university in moving forward. So, I am proud and honored to join such an esteemed group,” Graves said.

The Pewamo-Westphalia native now lives in Brighton. In her role with the MEDC, Graves has recurring interactions with Ferris’ Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

“It has been a great experience working with the ORSP’s Tom Dowling and the faculty members who are learning to commercialize the technology and studies they pursue,” Graves said. “I am so proud to see my alma mater coming to collaborations with ‘R-1’ research universities, while Ferris faculty mentor students in incredible experiential learning opportunities through their research efforts.”

Some examples of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s support of research on the Ferris campus include ADVANCE Proof of Concept Grant and Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization funding, and connecting faculty researchers to mentors-in-residence, through the Technology Transfer Talent Network (T3N) program.

“The networking and learning that takes place at Ferris, thanks to these collaborations, enhance the stature of the university while demonstrating the excellence of those researchers and the ORSP’s administration and support,” Graves said.
The Ferris Foundation directors will gather in February. Graves, who graduated from Ferris with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, said she looks forward to beginning her service.

“I am not yet involved in advisory board activities at Ferris,” Graves said. “Once I have begun engaging with the Foundation Board, I would be open to considering other opportunities to serve.”

Ferris Vice President for Diversity, Inclusion and Strategic Initiatives David Pilgrim also received approval to join The Ferris Foundation Board at the December Board of Trustees meeting.