Skip to Top NavigationSkip to ContentSkip to Footer
Ferris State University BulldogFerris State University Logo

‘Ferris Famous’ Homecoming Crowd Treated to Unseasonable Warmth, Abundant Joy, Incredible Play

Mike and Liz Van Diepenbos

Ferris State University's Homecoming 2023 grand marshals were alumnus Mike Van Diepenbos and his wife, Liz.

Splashes of fall color were in the backdrop as thousands of Ferris State University students, alumni, friends and followers arrived in Big Rapids on Saturday, Sept. 30, for the 97th Homecoming celebration, which had the theme of “Ferris Famous.”

Mike Van Diepenbos, of Cascade, enjoyed a trip through town to the tailgating area as the 1989 graduate of the College of Business served as Grand Marshal for the Homecoming Parade, along with his wife, Liz. Mike is a member of The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors and the immediate past president of the Alumni Association. The senior vice president and group leader of business banking for Comerica Bank in west and southwest Michigan was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus at Friday’s Fall Reunion.

“It is a tremendous honor to be asked, to receive such an invitation and to serve as Grand Marshal,” Van Diepenbos said. “What a treat it was to travel in Cindee Wilcox’s 1931 Ford Model ‘A’ coupe and, just as important, to be with fraternity brothers, my friends from the Alumni Association and The Ferris Foundation Board to experience Ferris’ championship football program together.”

Class of 1990 alumnus Marlon Hairston smiled across from the Alumni Association tent as a barbecue crew did its work at the east end of Reunion Row. The Southfield resident was an offensive lineman for the Bulldogs football team, joining the program in 1985. Today, he is a manager in a Chrysler Jeep plant.

Marlon Hairston and Ronald Snead

Class of 1990 Ferris Alumnus Marlon Hairston, a former Bulldogs offensive lineman and Southfield native, joins with 1971 Biology graduate and Ferris Board of Trustees Vice Chair Ronald Snead to enjoy the “Ferris Famous” Homecoming celebration in Big Rapids on Saturday, Sept. 30.

“I have only missed five Homecoming games since I wrapped up at Ferris,” Hairston said. “I feel like the program’s evolution to the national stage and NCAA postseason in the 1990s to their current leadership in Division II has been great. I am just honored to come back to Big Rapids and live vicariously through these teams.”

Near the College of Business building, Lynne Scheible joined the football alums and friends from the 1970s as part of a bustling crowd of Bulldog supporters. Lynne is an alumna with three degrees from Ferris, concluding with a Master of Science in Career and Technical Education in 1989.

“It was 1974 when Bill and I arrived, and he started playing for the Bulldogs. I became his fiancé as of the first quarter of that year, and we were married in November, following the season,” Scheible said. “Everything happens for us between football seasons. It is important to both of us, a great part of our lives.

Bill Scheible is a Ferris Athletics Hall of Fame inductee for his play and contributions to the university and programs, having served in various roles, including director of Alumni Relations.

“Bill is a conduit of information and joy to those who are and are not at each game,” Lynne said. “We are happy to have so many fond memories.”

Paige Byrnes

Here is our 2023 Homecoming Ambassador Paige Byrnes (second from right). Pictured, left to right, are David Carrier, retention and recruitment coordinator for Entertainment Unlimited, Vice President for Student Affairs Jeanine Ward-Roof, 2022 Homecoming Ambassador Hazelle Williams, Byrnes and Ferris State University President Bill Pink at halftime of the Ferris State Football game at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids.

At halftime of the Homecoming game, Paige Byrnes was announced as Homecoming Ambassador, chosen by student voting from a field of four candidates. The Business Administration major from Holton is adding a minor in Digital Marketing and acknowledged working on the game would have been as rewarding as her honor.

“I was a co-chair on the Homecoming Committee in 2022,” Byrnes said. “Entertainment Unlimited has done a great job, but I missed that involvement. So, I decided to give being the Ambassador a try.”

Byrnes was greeted by the EU representative, 2022 Homecoming Ambassador Hazelle Williams, Ferris Vice President for Student Affairs Jeanine Ward-Roof and Ferris State President Bill Pink following her award announcement before a teeming crowd.

“This is so special,” Paige said. “My mother (Erin Monette Byrnes, volleyball) and aunt (Dawn Monette, basketball) were Ferris alumna and Bulldogs athletes, and I guess I have made my own route, thanks to those who supported me.”

On the field, Ferris opened Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action with a record-setting 78-3 win over Northern Michigan University. The game saw the Bulldogs rush for more than five times the yardage the Wildcats managed in total on offense (497 and 98, respectively). The scoring output, with 5,642 in attendance, sets a new standard for the two-time defending national champions.