Friday, November 27, 2009

Ferris Gives to Those In Need Through Food Drives

BIG RAPIDS – The upcoming holidays remind us that it’s not what you receive, but rather what you give to those in need that makes the season bright. Students, faculty and staff at Ferris State University are preparing for this year’s holiday season by finding ways to give back on campus and in the community.

One such campaign includes the Ferris Student Government Holiday Food Drive, which runs through Dec. 3. In its third year, organizers hope to raise 7,500 pounds of non-perishable food items to donate to area food pantries. The campus community raised 6,100 pounds of food for donation during the 2008 campaign.

“We want this year’s holiday food drive to be even bigger and better,” said Liz Cottrell, Student Government food drive committee chair and Delta Zeta representative.

Donations can be made Monday through Thursday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Government Office, Rankin Student Center Room 121. The last day of the drive donations may be made between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

This year, the campaign also includes participation by Ferris faculty and staff, who are collecting food through their offices around campus. According to Cottrell, a prize will be given to the faculty or staff office that gives the most canned-goods. Student organizations, residence halls and Greek organizations also have the chance to win a monetary prize for donating the most food.

“This is a great way for people on the Ferris campus to give back to the community and help people less fortunate than them. Even a small amount of donated food is a big help to other people,” Cottrell added.

Other efforts throughout the fall semester include Ferris’ combined efforts with the Zonta Club of Big Rapids in the “Stand Against Poverty” initiative, the largest worldwide rally against world poverty, which was held on Oct. 16 at the Big Rapids City Library. Ferris students, staff and faculty, along with local community members, brought nonperishable food items to be donated to Project Starburst.

Brought to her attention by a student, Erin Weber, an assistant professor of English at Ferris, proposed the idea of joining the rally to students in her Advanced Technical Writing class. They met during regular class time and walked the few blocks over to the library to donate food items and be counted as part of the “Stand Against Poverty.”

“This was a great way to strengthen the tie between the student population and the Big Rapids community; a good way to see that students do care. It was easy to do and didn’t take the whole afternoon, so I thought ‘why not?’ It was fun to get out,” Weber said. “More students should let Ferris faculty and staff know about local volunteer events like these.”

Renee Mika, Ferris College of Optometry associate professor and Zonta board member, said “This was a great example of campus community engagement. Zonta would like to especially thank the Ferris community for helping with this great cause.”

Ferris Partners with Lansing Community College to Offer Automotive Management Bachelor's Degree Option

LANSING – Ferris State University’s Automotive Management program is expanding to its second off-campus location in January 2010.

The program is being offered at Lansing Community College’s University Center in downtown Lansing and is geared toward the working adult.

“This is a powerful partnership between Ferris State University and Lansing Community College and a great opportunity to offer one of Ferris’ more unique programs to a wider variety of students,” said Greg Denny, Ferris Automotive Management professor.

Marvin Ortiz, LCC Transportation and Engineering Technologies department chair, agreed, saying the partnership is a win-win for everyone involved. “Both Ferris and Lansing Community College have a lot to offer students.”

Classes are held one night a week allowing students to progress through the nine required classes in approximately three years, while also completing general education course requirements. Individuals with an associate degree in automotive, heavy equipment technology and collision areas, or equivalent course work are excellent candidates for this degree, Denny said.

“This is a great opportunity for those desiring a Bachelor of Science degree while remaining in the work force,” he added.

Along with Denny, Ferris associate professors Mike Ropele and Dan VanderWoude, all full-time faculty, teach this off-campus program. Students completing the degree in Lansing get the same classes and faculty they would if taking the program on the Big Rapids campus. This brings a consistency to the program not seen in other off-campus programs, Denny added.

“We are very unique in that our students get a very sound technical background,” he said. “This goes along with management and marketing classes that are specifically geared to the transportation industry.”

A graduate of the Automotive Management program can expect to find job opportunities in a number of major corporations including many domestic and import manufacturers and parts suppliers. A large number of graduates work as service, sales or parts managers and collision professionals.

Automotive Management has been offered at Ferris since 1971. Along with being on Ferris’ Big Rapids campus, the degree has been offered at Macomb Community College’s University Center in Clinton Township since 1996.

For more information, visit and click on the Automotive Management link or call Denny at (231) 591-2361.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ferris In The News

Ferris Students Gain Hands-On Learning Experience at Wine Festival

The Grand Rapids International Wine & Food Festival, a preholiday food and wine expo, hosted some 10,000-plus visitors, making it the largest food and wine festival in Michigan, and one of the premier wine and food festivals in the Midwest, The Oakland Press reports. More than 100 wineries from around the world provided samples of nearly 1,000 assorted wines, and chefs from 10 of Grand Rapids’ top restaurants prepared and served samples of their culinary specialties. Not only was the Grand Rapids International Wine & Food Festival a great opportunity to enjoy food, wine and handcrafted beers, it also provided a hands-on educational experience for Ferris State University students enrolled in the Sports, Entertainment and Hospitality Management programs. FSU partnered with show producers to give 150 students the opportunity to provide pouring services for the festival. But, what was even more impressive was the way in which the vendors partnered with these students to share product information to help students showcase their products. Last year, an FSU student pourer who worked the booths for two days was offered a summer internship and later invitation for full-time employment after graduation. Read more at

Muir Wins Regional Runner of Year Honor

Junior Tina Muir (St. Albans, United Kingdom) of the Ferris State University women’s cross country team was recognized as the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association Division II Midwest Region Women’s “Athlete of the Year” following her championship performance in the 2009 NCAA-II Midwest Regional Championships held in Kenosha, Wisc., reports LexisNexis News. Muir previously was named to the USTFCCCA all-region squad, which is based on final performances at the regional meet where she led the nationally-ranked FSU women’s cross country team to its second consecutive NCAA Division II National Championships berth by running to a third-place team finish in the regional meet. Muir clocked 21:33.2 in winning the region’s individual title as she finished nearly 11 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Mary Ballinger of Southern Indiana. The women’s field included 134 runners. Muir’s victory represented her fifth individual title in as many races this season. Previously, she was chosen as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Runner of the Year for the 2009 season. Read more at

Detroit Free Press Highlights Ferris State University's Blair Riley Being Named National Player Of The Week

BIG RAPIDS - Ferris State University senior ice hockey forward Blair Riley was named the Inside College Hockey National Player of the Week.

That honor was recognized by the Detroit Free Press in an article that also brings positive publicity to the hot start to the season by the Bulldogs as a team.

Here is an excerpt from the Detroit Free Press article:
Ferris State senior left wing Blair Riley has been named national player of the week by

Riley had four goals (including his second career hat trick) and two assists as the Bulldogs swept two games versus Ohio State at Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids.
Check the athletics blog later this morning (Nov. 25) for a full-length feature on Blair.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Check Out Recreation, Leisure Services And Wellness Video

BIG RAPIDS - Ferris State University graduates who emerge from the Recreation, Leadership and Management program make a differences in communities around the state of Michigan and elsewhere.

But, for these graduates, being difference makers in communities begins with a first-rate education at Ferris. Recreation, Leadership and Management graduates enjoy getting out in the community, emerging from behind desks and interacting with people.

Learn more about Ferris State University's Recreation, Leadership and Management program by checking out this nice video feature and visiting the Web site, here.


Ferris Receives Donation from Hino Trucks

BIG RAPIDS – Hino Trucks, a division of Toyota, donated a new medium-duty truck to the School of Automotive and Heavy Equipment at Ferris State University. The truck, one of six donated throughout the country and the only one in Michigan, will be used by students in all five programs in the school, said Mike Ropele, associate professor of Automotive Management.

Alumnus Chris Russell (Automotive Management ‘02), Hino sales support coordinator, is the catalyst behind the donation. Russell credits Ferris’ educational mix of hands-on technology and management training as the reason for his career success. He is pleased to be able to give back and provide opportunities for current and future students to advance their learning in the classroom.

“Hino is the number one growing truck in the medium-duty market and is great for the students to learn with,” Russell said. “Hino Trucks was glad to donate the truck to such a successful university and program.”

Added Ropele, “This donation allows us to continue to provide a state-of-the-art learning environment for our students.”

College of Engineering Technology Dean Tom Oldfield said the success of Ferris’ career-oriented programming can be seen through graduates such as Russell. “We’re grateful for the continued support of our alumni once they’ve entered the workplace.”

For more information or to make a gift to the university, please contact The Ferris Foundation at (231) 591-2365 or Details about establishing scholarships or endowments may be obtained from the Advancement Office at (231) 591-3825.

Check out this story and more by visiting Ferris State University's News Services Web site:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Check Out Faces Of Ferris Entry On Dr. John Matlock

I'd like to encourage everyone to take a moment and read one of the recent Faces of Ferris entries. I had an opportunity twice to interview Dr. John Matlock, a Ferris State University graduate from the class of 1971.

The original story I wrote was published in the current addition of Ferris Magazine, which can be viewed online, here.

The Faces of Ferris entry is an adaption of the Ferris Magazine story and is more focused on the opportunity Ferris presented him when he arrived as a high-school dropout. John only went from being a high-school dropout to earning a bachelor's degree from Ferris, his master's from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. from the U of M.

Dr. Matlock has an inspiring story that made me oftentimes wonder what it was like during the turbulent 1960s. When I hear stories, such as the ones I heard from John who became an activist at Ferris and after his time in Big Rapids, I often wonder what I am many others like me would have done in the fight for civil rights.

I hope people will take the opportunity not only to check out the stories I wrote about John, but also an older article that takes a deeper look at John's time at Ferris during the Civil Rights Movement era and focused more on some of the struggles that took place at Ferris and in Big Rapids for minority students.

Take the time to learn about one of our great graduates who today works at the University of Michigan as Associate Vice Provost and Director of the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, University of Michigan.

Happy 30th Birthday, Brutus The Bulldog

BIG RAPIDS - Brutus the Bulldog celebrated a happy 30th birthday on Friday evening with a birthday party during the Ferris State University-Ohio State University ice hockey game in Ewigleben Ice Arena.

As with many birthday parties, Brutus invited a few buddies as he was joined by the mascot from Buffalo Wild Wings, the mascot from Central Michigan University, the cardinal mascot from Saginaw Valley State University, the KFC chicken mascot and the mascot from the Grand Rapids Griffins. It was a nice party that included a lot of good work by the Student Alumni Gold Club members of Ferris. The crowd sang happy birthday to Brutus, who enjoyed a number of different activities to celebrate his milestone birthday.

It was great work all the way around and I want to again wish Brutus a very happy 30th birthday.

Photo by Ed Hyde