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Big Rapids Among’s Best College Towns in Michigan, University, Municipal Leaders React ranking

The website has ranked Big Rapids, the home of Ferris State University, among its Best College Towns in Michigan list. Photo by Sandy Gholston.

Affordability and natural amenities found in Big Rapids are highlighted by the website, as the home of Ferris State University figures prominently in their Best College Towns in Michigan list.

The report considers the value of a Ferris education and life in Big Rapids, where the cost of living is nearly 19 percent less than the national average and more than 15 percent below state norms. Ferris’ new and renovated facilities complement abundant campus green space, including the Dewaine V. and Jana B. Robinson Quad. Proximity to the Muskegon River and woods and waters of Mecosta County are lauded as resources for year-round recreational opportunities.

The ongoing and future partnerships between Ferris and Big Rapids are a point of pride.

“We are so proud of this recognition for a partnership that has existed for nearly 140 years between Ferris State University and the city of Big Rapids. The ties that bind us together are strong,” Ferris President Bill Pink said. “I am excited about the great things we’re doing now and more excited about the opportunities to build more collaborative efforts in the future. A strong partnership with the city of Big Rapids and Mecosta County mean a lot to me, our students, faculty, staff and alumni, many of whom live right here in this community. The Big Rapids-Ferris State relationship continues to flourish, and it is gratifying to see others outside our area recognize our relationship here.”

City of Big Rapids Mayor Dr. Fred Guenther is a Michigan native and retired obstetrician who considered the entire state when he chose Big Rapids to begin his career and raise a family in the 1980s.

“I had visited Big Rapids when I was on Michigan Tech’s football team as an undergraduate student,” Guenther said. “When I returned with a mind to settle here, it was immediately clear that the ‘extras’ the Ferris community offered accentuated the qualities of Big Rapids and made it the perfect choice to call home.”

Guenther is a fixture in the fan base at Bulldog basketball games. His commitment to the program extends beyond cheering the men’s and women’s squads, having offered his talents in a variety of woodworking projects at Jim Wink Arena, from lockers for the men’s team to display cases and regalia in the Ewigleben Sports Complex.

“I am still close friends with former Ferris coach Bill Sall, whose teams really brought my wife, Diane, and I, to give our hearts to the program,” Guenther said. “We are proud to have attended every game in Ferris’ 2017-18 national championship season and will always pull for the Bulldogs.”

Big Rapids City Manager Mark Gifford is a Ferris alumnus whose parents were faculty members. Gifford said the university is a crucial partner in the city’s ability to serve all residents, exhibited by its commitment to serve and enrich those who learn and work on the university campus.

“The vibrancy and excitement Ferris brings to the Big Rapids community is apparent to most observers, but in my role with the city, we are thankful for the university’s willingness to partner with us and improve infrastructure,” Gifford said. “A recent $1 million appropriation for the Ives Drain project is one example of Ferris’ desire to collaborate and benefit all our citizens and residents.”

The Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual meeting in David L. Eisler Center at Ferris on Tuesday, March 14. On Friday, Oct. 13, Artworks will bring its Gala 2023 to main campus also at the David L. Eisler Center.

WorldAtlas is approaching its 30th anniversary as the original online geography resource that boasts a global audience of 165 million people. Its role has expanded to offer findings for students and instructors, emphasizing factually accurate materials on education and other topics.