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Former Ferris State University President Earns MCAN’s ‘Brandy Johnson Board of Directors Award’

David L. Eisler

Former Ferris State University President David L. Eisler was honored by Michigan College Access Network with its Brandy Johnson Board of Directors Award on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 9-10, at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant.

MOUNT PLEASANT — The Michigan College Access Network recently honored former Ferris State University President David L. Eisler with its Brandy Johnson Board of Directors Award at its 11th annual conference on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 9-10, at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant. MCAN honored Eisler during its 2022 College Access Impact Awards, highlighting 13 individuals and organizations positively impacting college access and success in Michigan.

The 2022 event’s theme was “Doubling Down on Sixty by 30,” reaffirming MCAN’s goal to help Michigan achieve 60 percent college attainment by 2030.

Formerly named the Board of Directors Award, MCAN renamed the award in honor of Brandy Johnson, its founder and former executive director. Johnson left the organization in March 2019 to work as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s policy advisor for postsecondary educational attainment and workforce development. In celebration of MCAN’s fifth anniversary in 2015, the board developed an award it may present, though not necessarily annually. MCAN presents the award to an individual or organization that has been particularly supportive of MCAN’s mission and the “Sixty by 30” goal.

In honoring Eisler, Ferris’ 18th president, MCAN noted his leadership during his presidency, which started in 2003. Stated MCAN, “Ferris saw unparalleled growth. Student retention and graduation rates sharply increased over the past 19 years, the latter by 65 percent. During his time as president, the university’s presence also dramatically increased across Michigan, providing access to a Ferris education through partnerships with 22 community colleges across the state. In 2019, Dr. Eisler and his wife, Patsy, established the Norris and Irene Johnson Scholarship Endowment to assist students who have experienced foster care to pursue a bachelor’s degree at the university.”

“The College Access Impact Awards honor the individuals and organizations who have made extraordinary efforts to improve postsecondary attainment in Michigan, especially among low-income students, first-generation college-going students and students of color,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, MCAN executive director. “The award winners play a crucial role in helping us reach Sixty by 30 through their dedicated efforts to improve college readiness, participation and completion within their communities and across the state. By working to build inclusive college-going cultures, these award winners are helping to create a brighter economic future for Michigan’s students.”

Eisler retired as Ferris president in 2022. Succeeding Eisler is the 19th and current president of FSU, Bill Pink, who officially started on July 11, 2022.