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Ferris State Graphic Media Management Program Receives $1.75 Million Boost to Enhance Recruiting, Bolster Long-Term Sustainability

Patrick Klarecki class

College of Business professor Patrick Klarecki is pictured with students Ana Staup, of Coopersville; Tara Seth, of Coopersville; Emalyn Nelson, of Manistee; and Liz Kamphuis, of Holland.

Ferris State University’s Graphic Media Management program is getting a $1.75 million boost from Ann Arbor Graphic Arts Memorial Foundation to support students today and long into the future. 

College of Business professor Patrick Klarecki said the partnership, with support from The Ferris Foundation, will help the program keep its curriculum in line with the needs of the growing industry and provide scholarships to help attract students.

Ferris State’s program is the only one of its kind in Michigan.

Klarecki pointed to Grand View Research data that projects the global commercial printing market size, valued at $489.63 billion in 2022, to grow nearly 3 percent through 2030.

“We believe the printing industry is alive and vibrant,” Klarecki said. “Through this investment from the Ann Arbor Graphic Arts Memorial Foundation, Ferris State is going to be in an even greater position to recruit high-caliber students to train to be industry professionals.”

Securing this endowment, Klarecki believes, positions Ferris State to be a stronger player in recruiting and graduating well-trained future printing professionals.

The $1.75 million will be split with $750,000 devoted to the programmatic endowment, with an estimated $40,000 available for year one, while the other $1 million will be invested in scholarship dollars for students, with a projected $80,000 available to spend in the first year.

The $1 million dedicated to scholarships will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Ferris Futures Scholarship Challenge, making a total endowed scholarship of $2 million.

“We’re excited about this endowment and the investment it’s going to make in the long-term stability of our program as we see positive projections for the industry overall,” Klarecki said. “This is an opportunity to get the word out, knowing it will be backed by scholarship support for students and programmatic investment. We’re looking forward to working with schools with graphic programs to help them see what we will have at Ferris State and how students can benefit, which will benefit the industry.”

Klarecki is familiar with the AAGAMF’s long-running commitment to financially assisting students in pursuing a career in the printing industry and how it aligns with the Ferris State Graphic Media Management program.

Opportunities for Klarecki, current colleagues and future keepers of the program to get into schools around Michigan and beyond will allow them to help students visualize career possibilities.

An aging workforce speaks to opportunities for young students, according to Klarecki. His program notes Bureau of Labor Statistics data reporting that 54.3 percent of the printing industry workforce is 45 or older. Retirements on the horizon, he added, will create opportunities for young graduates in the years to come. 

“For more than 50 years, Ferris State’s Bachelor of Science in Graphic Media Management program has prepared students to make, sell, and distribute printed items such as packaging, brochures and catalogs, and T-shirts and textiles,” he said. “Our program gives students access to one of the most advanced printing labs in the U.S. and is the only program of its kind in Michigan.”

The education is comprehensive. Students learn completely automated production, from sales to distribution, engineering workflow, making sustainable products, and developing marketing communications solutions.  

“This is a great example of the work that can be done when public and private groups get together with a shared goal in mind,” Klarecki said. “This is possible for others as we grow our industry while showing current and future students what is possible here at Ferris State University.”