Thursday, July 2, 2009

July's Jim Crow Museum Question of the Month

Q: Did you know that Superman was instrumental in bringing down the Ku Klux Klan of the 1940s?

- Chapin Kellogg - Nolfork, Virginia

A: I am pleased that you asked this question because it gives me an opportunity to talk about one of my favorite writers and civil rights activists, Stetson “Stet” Kennedy. In the 1930s he was Director of Folklore, Oral History and Ethnic Studies for the Florida Federal Writers Project. One of his colleagues was Zora Neale Hurston, the famed novelist and anthropologist. In the 1940s the United States was fighting Nazism in World War II, but because of a back injury, Kennedy was unable to join the military. He satiated his desire to fight injustice, though, by infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan, a domestic Nazi-like terrorist organization. He joined the Georgia Klan at the behest of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation; he would later come to not trust these law enforcement personnel. The information that he uncovered was reported in his books Southern Exposure (1946), and The Klan Unmasked (originally published as, I Rode With the Ku Klux Klan in 1954). In these books, he used eyewitness data to undermine the racial terrorists who used violence to enforce local Jim Crow laws and customs.

For the complete answer, and to learn more about Ferris State University's Jim Crow Museum for Racist Memorabilia, visit:

Bob Horan III Earns Ferris' Pete Peterson Pride Award

Horan III, a loyal supporter of the Bulldogs, is honored by Ferris

BIG RAPIDS - Bob Horan III has been chosen as recipient of the FSU Athletics Department's annual "Pete Peterson Pride Award" for the 2008-09 athletics season.

Horan, who currently is in his sixth year as general manager at Babb Ford Sales Inc. in Reed City, Mich., has been a loyal supporter of Ferris State University and Bulldogs Athletics for over 20 years. He's the 21st individual to receive the "Pete Peterson Pride Award" since its inception following the conclusion of the 1981-82 athletics season.

"It's a honor to accept this award because I'm a true Bulldog and want to help in any way possible," said Horan III. "The University provides us (the community) with a lot of cultural activities and I believe it's imperative we show our support."

The Pete Peterson Pride Award is named in honor of former Ferris State Athletics Director and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Commissioner Pete Peterson (1964-79). The award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated loyalty and unselfish support of Bulldog Athletics. The award, which was reinstated following the 2002-03 athletics season after a seven-year absence, recognizes outstanding service and support from those outside the athletics department staff. Coaches and athletics department staff nominate individuals to be considered which are selected from alumni, community members, university faculty or staff member, and a fan. A committee from the administration staff of intercollegiate athletics, as appointed by the athletics director's office determines the award recipient.

Horan III, a Ferris State graduate, has been actively involved in the Ferris State Athletics Coaches Car program by donating vehicles to various Bulldog athletics programs over the years to assist in their recruiting. As a result, the FSU Athletics Department has saved substantial monies throughout the years. Horan III also has supplied a truck for hauling of equipment to and from the various athletic venues.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ferris In The News

Kendall College Students Get 'Opportunities by Design'

What do you get when you link cross-disciplinary design students with a nonprofit organization to help in problem solving and identifying new opportunities? That's what the Design West Michigan advisory board wanted to find out, reports Michigan Business West in its Knowledge Quarterly. Their quest was realized in a collaborative design project involving Kandu, Inc. and Kendall College of Art and Design. The idea for the project, said John Berry, executive director of Design West Michigan, was to find examples of how design thinking could be applied to help various organizations meet their existing needs and identify growth opportunities, thus exposing more groups to the role design plays in economic development. But the discussion "became somewhat problematic" when the board realized it didn't want to be in the position of deciding cost or which practitioners worked on the project. The thought shifted to nonprofit organizations and involving design students. "Nonprofits have some needs for the kind of help design could bring about," Berry said. Two board members — Matt Blair, Kandu's director of operations, and Gayle DeBruyn, assistant professor at KCAD and partner at Lake Affect Design Studio — jumped at the idea. Read more at

Former Ferris Football Player Chosen as Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year

The awards just don't stop for Jake Visser. The former Ferris State University football standout received yet another prestigious honor in being chosen as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. Visser, a 6-foot-2-inch, 280-pound defensive tackle who signed a free agent contract with the National Football League's Houston Texans and has been working out with the team in Houston, completed his career at Ferris in the fall of 2008 after graduating with a degree in history education. He ranks fourth all-time on the school's sacks list and is sixth all-time in tackles. A native of Coopersville, he also was named Ferris' Male Bulldog of the Year for 2008-09.

Ferris Pharmacy Grad Joins Ranks of Elite Racers

Tyler Jenema, a recent graduate of Ferris State University's Pharmacy school, crossed the finish line of Superior Bike Fest's Presque Isle Circuit Race Sunday to the excited screams of his father Kent and sister Ashley, reports the Marquette Mining Journal. No, Tyler didn't win the race. In fact, he finished fifth. But the 23-year-old Negaunee High School product was racing in the weekend's premiere division of the Superior Bike Fest, the Pro 1 and 2 Category, and was the only local rider in the field. Tyler said he was happy with his finish, but as a member of Team Priority Health, he was a little disappointed with not having a teammate atop the podium. With the team racing nearly every weekend, he said road biking has become a lifestyle for him. "We're an elite squad," Tyler said. "The majority of us are either going to school or have jobs. By no means would I say we're weekend warriors. We train 20 hours a week. It's basically a full-time job in itself." Read more at

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ferris In The News

Ferris Runner Earns All-America Honors

Nouvel Catholic Central graduate Mikinzie Stuart’s track career at Ferris State University has run its course, but not before it led her to indoor and outdoor all-America honors that put a metaphorical stamp on what was a great four-year run, reports the Saginaw News. “It was my last year and it was also my best year,” said the 22-year-old Stuart. “Getting two all-Americans in the same year put the cherry on top for me. It was a good way to end it.” Stuart earned all-America accolades for the first time as a freshman in 2006 when she was a part of FSU’s record-setting distance medley relay team at the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships. The top eight finishers at both the indoor and outdoor championships achieve all-America status. This year Stuart finished seventh with a time of 4:58.59 in the one-mile run at the indoor championships, March 13 and 14, at the University of Houston. More recently she placed fourth in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:31.67 during her first trip to the outdoor championships on May 23 in San Angelo, Texas. Both performances were rewarded with all-America honors. Read more at

Three Kendall College Students Earn Scholarships

Three seniors at Kendall College of Art & Design have won the American Society of Furniture Designers’ David Kline Memorial Scholarship contest for 2009, Furniture Today reports. Steve Hubbard, Hafele America’s senior product manager-Functional Hardware Group, presented the awards to: Nicholas Blair, whose Krieger Desk System won the first place award of $3,500; Jillian Stoltz, who won second place and $1,000 for Slider, a piece that can be used as a desk, sofa table or both; and Anastacia Magnuson, who won third place and $500 for her Henrietta sofa table/sideboard. Read more at

Ferris Athletics Stepping Up Outreach Effort Through Promotions, Community Service

The Ferris State University Athletics department’s concept for the 2009-10 sports year is to make the home games more than just games. Nowhere is that more evident than the hockey team’s schedule, reports the Big Rapids Pioneer. Each of the bulldog’s 18 home games for next season will feature a different theme with a variety of promotions, including such themes as Big Rapids Public Schools Night and Canadian Lakes Night. Ferris Associate Athletic Director Jon Coles, who spear-headed the campaign, hopes to create stronger ties with area communities. In addition to the added promotional efforts, Coles is trying to make Ferris Athletics more visible and active within surrounding communities. “If we can create more of a connection with the community, it’s going to be a win-win for everybody,” he said.


Two Ferris State University senior student-athletes have been named the recipients of the Dean Davenport “Bulldog of the Year” Award. Standout Bulldog football player Jake Visser (Coopersville) and All-American Mikinzie Stuart (Saginaw/Nouvel) of the FSU women's cross country/track and field squad were honored as FSU's 2008-09 recipients.

Visser was chosen as a recipient of the "Bulldog of the Year" Award for the second consecutive year.

The Dean Davenport “Bulldog of the Year” Award, which was reinstated in the 2002-03 season following a seven-year absence, is presented annually to the most outstanding Ferris State male and female student-athlete. Award criteria consists of strong athletic achievements (must be a letterwinner and achieve outstanding athletic accomplishment), strong individual character and academic achievement.

The award was renamed in honor of former Ferris State Athletics Director Dean Davenport, who served in the position from 1979-93. During his tenure at Ferris, Davenport was instrumental in the planning of the FSU Sports Complex, the growth of women's intercollegiate athletics, the emergence of Ferris' NCAA Division I men's ice hockey program and the development of the athletics scholarship program. He also led the athletics department to 14 consecutive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) President's Cup Championships. Davenport founded the "Bulldog of the Year", "Pete Peterson Pride" and "Jimmy Swears Courage" Awards at Ferris State.

A 2009 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Postgraduate Scholarship winner, Visser recently inked a free agent deal with the National Football League's (NFL) Houston Texans. The two-time (2007 & 2008) ESPN The Magazine College Division Academic All-America First Team selection capped off an outstanding career by being named among the 24 candidates for the 2008 Harlon Hill Award, which is annually presented to the top collegiate player at the Division II level. He was the only offensive or defensive lineman from across the nation to make the list. Visser attained all-conference accolades for the fourth-straight year which included first-team recognition for the third year in a row and was voted the GLIAC's Co-Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2008 for the second consecutive campaign.

Visser, who was honored as an American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and Daktronics All-America First Team pick, competed in the annual NCAA Division II All-Star Game, the 2009 Valero Cactus Bowl, in January in Kingsville, Texas. The 2008 GLIAC Jack McAvoy Award winner for character and leadership on and off the field, Visser claimed AFCA All-America First Team honors as a senior for the second consecutive year. He was also recognized as a GLIAC Commissioner's Award for Academic and Athletics Excellence honoree for the second time.

Visser added to his impressive list of postseason accolades by being tabbed as a first-team All-American by and Don Hansen's Football Gazette. He was also named to the Associated Press Little All-America First Team, making him a consensus first team All-America choice by every source covering Division II football. As a senior last fall, Visser was also chosen as the 2008 Daktronics Super Region Three Defensive Player of the Year and among the national finalists for the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award after being chosen as Super Region Three's Co-Winner of that honor. He received the most first-place votes nationally for the Upshaw Award and finished third overall in the final voting process. He also received Daktronics Super Region Three First Team laurels, making him a three-time Daktronics First Team All-Region pick.

In 2008, Visser led the Bulldogs with 105 total tackles (56 solo), 16.0 tackles for loss (-71 yards) in addition to 7.5 sacks (-54 yards), two fumble recoveries, four blocked kicks and a forced fumble in 11 contests. He also notched his first career touchdown with a 34-yard interception return at Hillsdale (Nov. 1). The returning All-America pick and two-time (2007-08) team Most Valuable Player Award recipient finished the year ranked third among the GLIAC leaders in tackles for loss (1.45 pg.), third in sacks (.68 pg.) along with seventh in total tackles (9.5 tpg.). Visser concluded his Ferris career ranked sixth on the school’s career tackles chart with 395 total stops. He also placed fourth on the FSU all-time sack leaders list with 27.5 sacks and tied for first place with seven career fumble recoveries.

Stuart wrapped up her most successful season and impressive career by claiming All-America status with a fourth-place finish in the 1,500 meters during the 2009 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships held recently (May 21-23) at the LeGrand Sports Complex in San Angelo, Texas. Stuart clocked 4:31.67 in the 1,500-meter finals during her initial appearance at the national outdoor track and field championships. She also competed at this year's NCAA-II Indoor Track and Field Championships (March 13-14) in Houston, Texas, where she earned All-America honors by placing seventh for the Bulldogs in the women's one mile run (4:58.59). Stuart also earned indoor All-America accolades in 2006 as a member of FSU's record-setting distance medley relay team.

Earlier this season, Start received runner-up honors in the 1,500 meters (4:34.89) at the GLIAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships (April 30-May 1) in Hillsdale, Mich. Stuart won the mile run (4:57.94) at the conference indoor meet (Feb. 27-28) and ran on FSU’s distance medley relay team that placed second (12:10.01) overall.

Last fall, Stuart was named to the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II All-Midwest Region Team following her performance at the 2008 NCAA-II Midwest Regional Cross Country Championships (Nov. 8) at FSU's Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids, Mich. She placed 12th overall (22:41.6) in the field of 132 runners as FSU narrowly edged Southern Indiana by two points for the final national team qualifying berth. Last fall's third place regional effort was the program's best showing since an identical third-place finish at the 1990 NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Championships and the 2008 campaign represented only the third time in history the Bulldog women's cross country team qualified as a team for the national championships, where they finished 17th at the NCAA-II National Championships (Nov. 22) in Slippery Rock, Pa. Stuart also was named to the All-GLIAC Cross Country Second Team last fall after an eighth-place individual performance at the league cross country championships.

Visser's selection marks the 11th time a Bulldog football player has been honored as a winner of the "Bulldog of the Year" Award while Stuart is only the fifth women's track and field/cross country participant to claim the honor. Additionally, Visser is only the fifth student-athlete in school history to receive the award multiple times.

Bulldog of the Year Recipients
2008-09 – Jake Visser (Football), Mikinzie Stuart (Women's Track & Field/Cross Country)
2007-08 – Jake Visser (Football), Rachel Folcik (Women's Basketball), and Becky Hoffman (Women's Golf)
2006-07 – Mike Klobucher (Football), Rachel Folcik (Women's Basketball), and Kristie Smilanich (Women's Soccer)
2005-06 – Dennis Springs (Men's Basketball), Jenny Irwin (Women's Cross Country and Women's Track & Field)
2004-05 – Carlton Epps (Men's Basketball), Karla Fairbanks (Women's Volleyball)
2003-04 – Derek Fudge (Football), Lucy DeMartin (Women's Basketball)
2002-03 – Chris Kunitz (Men's Ice Hockey), Kathryn Bobbie (Women's Golf)
1995-96 – Bill Love (Football), Theresa Luciow (Softball)
1994-95 – Bill Love (Football), Shelli Gaul (Women’s Track & Field)
1993-94 – Ed Philion (Football), Kathy O’Connor (Women’s Volleyball & Women’s Basketball)
1992-93 – Monty Brown (Football), Jodi Raab (Women’s Basketball)
1991-92 – Dan Hutcheson (Wrestling), Monica Ferguson (Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field)
1990-91 – John DePourcq (Men’s Ice Hockey), Karen Volkers (Women’s Volleyball)
1989-90 – Paul Cochran (Men’s Track & Field/Football), Karen Volkers (Women’s Volleyball)
1988-89 – Jarvis Walker (Men’s Basketball), Penny Bailey (Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country)
1987-88 – Dave DenBraber (Football), Patty Theis (Women’s Volleyball)
1986-87 – Brad Morris (Wrestling), Patty Theis (Women's Volleyball) and Karen Kramer (Women’s Basketball)
1985-86 – Scott Kelly (Baseball), Patty Theis (Women’s Volleyball)
1984-85 – Paul Jungck (Wrestling), Sharon Sanders (Women’s Volleyball)
1983-84 – Terry Schumacher (Wrestling), Leigh Feenstra (Women’s Volleyball)
1982-83 – Bruce Faccio (Football), Monta Ware (Women’s Basketball) and Linda Spicer (Women's Volleyball)
1981-82 – Tim Smelser (Wrestling), Vicki Williams (Women’s Basketball)
1980-81 – Rick Baillergeon (Men's Basketball), Terri Fraser (Women’s Volleyball & Women's Basketball)
1979-80 – David Sall (Football), Roxanne Abramouski (Softball)
1978-79 – Tim Herman (Men's Basketball), Sharon Lipinski (Women’s Basketball)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Students Bring Home Bronze Medal

College of Engineering Technology students Josh Ferris, Frank Kruger and James Wolf took home the Bronze Medal in Automated Manufacturing at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City, Mo. The annual event wrapped up Friday June 26 with the medal winners being announced during the closing ceremony.

Other Ferris students participating at the Conference were Kyle Busse in Graphic Communications (7th), Jon Vance in Technical Drafting (4th) and Shane Wilcome in Diesel Technology (Honorable Mention). In order to compete on the national level, the competitors had to take gold at the states.

For more information on the Conference please visit or about SkillsUSA in Michigan.