Friday, February 26, 2010

Ferris To Host Senate Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

BIG RAPIDS - Ferris State University President David Eisler will be offering testimony on behalf of the University at 10:30 on Monday, March 8, in IRC 109 to the Senate Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

Eisler's remarks will focus on Ferris' 125 years of providing educational opportunity, the decade-long decline in state support for higher education, and last year's devastation of state student financial aid funding.

In addition to Ferris, the agenda includes remarks from Lake Superior State University and Central Michigan University.

Author, Anti-Racism Expert Zeskind to Speak at Ferris State University

BIG RAPIDS – One of the nation’s leading experts on white nationalist political and social movements, Leonard Zeskind, will speak at Ferris State University at 7 p.m. March 4 in Williams Auditorium.

The author of Blood Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream, Zeskind will sign copies of his book at 4 p.m. at Great Lakes Book and Supply prior to his lecture in Williams Auditorium. A Kansas City native and a MacArthur Fellow, Zeskind has been actively calling attention to the hot-button issues of immigration and “illegal aliens,” which he contends has helped the white nationalist movement gain mainstream attention in the United States.

Zeskind’s lecture, sponsored by Barry Mehler and Ferris’ Institute for the Study of Academic Racism, is free to the public courtesy of a mini-grant awarded by the University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

“Leonard has more knowledge than anyone in the country in following the movements of neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, skinheads and other groups of this kind as they attempt to become more mainstream in an effort to appeal to a broader audience,” said Mehler, a professor of history at Ferris, who has known Zeskind since the early 1980s. “It’s great for us to be able to bring someone with his knowledge and background to Ferris to speak on such an important topic.”

For 30 years, Zeskind has devoted countless hours to researching and writing about white nationalism in America. In 1985, after working to organize white workers and youth against racism, Zeskind became research director of the Anti-Klan Network, based in Atlanta. Later, the organization was renamed the Center for Democratic Renewal, but continued its work documenting and combating the resurgence of the Klan and white nationalism.

“Leonard’s analysis of white nationalism is organized, clear and not hard to understand,” Mehler said. “Right now, with the debate about immigration issues, white nationalists see an opportunity to move from the margins of society into the mainstream, as Leonard has written about in his book and discussed in many of his lectures. Leonard has been really courageous in working on this for more than 30 years.”

Also a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and a television analyst, Zeskind was awarded a 1998 “genius fellowship” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, worth $295,000, for his work to expose and combat hate groups. Upon being awarded the fellowship, Zeskind told a reporter for the Kansas City Star, “(White nationalism) is not just a problem for academics to study and do-gooders to do good about. This is a problem for every person who does not want to see this country torn apart.”

For more information about Zeskind’s visit to Ferris, visit the ISAR Web site at:

Naomi Tutu to Speak at Ferris as part of Ferris’ Women’s History Month

BIG RAPIDS – Inspired by her upbringing, as a black female growing up in apartheid South Africa, Nontombi Naomi Tutu has evolved into an international activist for human rights.

The daughter of Desmond Tutu, a legendary South African activist in the fight against apartheid and recipient of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, Naomi has followed in her father’s footsteps as a champion for human rights. As part of Ferris State University’s 2010 Women’s History Month activities, the campus will host Tutu as a featured speaker to talk about her experiences growing up as a black female in apartheid South Africa. Tutu’s presentation is titled, “South Africa: Healing the Wounds of Racism.”

The one-hour event, free and open to the public, is scheduled for March 2 at 11 a.m. in Williams Auditorium.

“It is our hope that FSU students are informed of the issue of apartheid, and Naomi Tutu's life's work,” said Michael Wade, assistant director of Ferris’ Office of Multicultural Student Services, one of several campus offices working collaboratively to sponsor the visit. “We hope Naomi Tutu’s presentation will provide insight for our students through her experiences from growing up during apartheid in South Africa.”

University officials are hopeful that having an international speaker of Tutu’s notoriety visit Ferris will inspire students to think beyond the campus, state and nation.

“The International Center is excited that Naomi Tutu’s visit to Ferris will add extra exposure to the issue of racism in the context of South Africa,” said Janel Lockwood, an international student advisor at Ferris. “We in the U.S. often forget that racism is not only an issue in the U.S., but all around the world.

“The International Center staff hopes that her visit will encourage students to think globally, to become interested in studying abroad, to meet international people and to consider different cultural perspectives,” Lockwood added.

Tutu holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and French from Kentucky-based Berea College and a master’s in international economic development from the University of Kentucky, and has taught at the universities of Connecticut and Hartford and at Brevard College. She has been a public speaker since her college days, in the 1970s, and frequently speaks at colleges and universities around the nation.

In addition to OMSS, Tutu’s visit is sponsored by the Globalization Initiative, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, the International Student Center, and through funds made available from a Diversity and Inclusion Office Student Diversity Grant.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ferris Extends Student Recruitment to 16 States and Ontario

BIG RAPIDS – Ferris State University is making the option of attending an out-of-state school at in-state tuition rates more attractive to prospective students in 16 states and Ontario, Canada.

Beginning next fall, first-time eligible freshmen and transfer students from California; Florida; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kentucky; Maryland; Minnesota; Missouri; New York; Ohio; Ontario, Canada; Pennsylvania; Tennessee; Virginia; West Virginia; and Wisconsin can qualify for in-state tuition for 15 credit hours per semester through Ferris’ Great Lakes Scholarship.

Ferris began placing a greater emphasis on recruiting out-of-state students in 2008 when it introduced the Chicago Area Scholarship for students in Cook, DuPage and Lake counties in Illinois. Because of its popularity, the scholarship was expanded to all counties in Illinois and three other states, including Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, and renamed the Great Lakes Scholarship.

Interest Grows In Great Lakes Scholarship

The interest in the Great Lakes Scholarship, which tripled the number of students enrolling in Ferris from the four GLS states, was enough reason for university officials to expand it further for the 2010-11 academic year, particularly in these tough economic times for students and their parents, said Kristen Salomonson, dean of Enrollment Services at Ferris.

“Certainly, in these economic times, price sensitivity is more important than ever before,” said Salomonson, who noted that eligible GLS students can save more than $6,000 a year in tuition costs.

She added, “This scholarship also allows us to be more competitive with other colleges and universities in the Great Lakes region, to maintain an aggressive student recruitment program in response to predictions that the number of high school seniors in Michigan is not expected to increase for another 10 years, to create stronger geographic diversity on our campus, and to expose students to Ferris’ unique program mix.”

Ferris Sees Increase In Numbers

The number of GLS students enrolling at Ferris has increased from 50 in 2008 to 154 in 2009, and retention rates are upwards of 80 percent, Salomonson said.

“The Great Lakes Scholarship is consistent with Ferris State University’s founding principles of opportunity and access that have continued to resonate over the past 125 years. Ferris remains as committed as ever to creating greater access to a quality education for students,” said Dan Burcham, vice president for Student Affairs.

To attract out-of-state students to Ferris, admissions representatives will expand recruiting visits to targeted states; continue aggressive direct mail, e-mail and personal communications; involve Ferris alumni and athletic recruiters in outreach; and place admissions recruiters in selected states.

Learn More Below

For more information on the Great Lakes Scholarship, or other financial aid opportunities, click on the “Scholarships” link on the Ferris homepage at

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ferris In The News

Ferris Hosts Regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

The Granger Center for Construction and HVACR on Ferris State University’s campus will be filled with aspiring engineers Feb. 27, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. An annual tradition for Ferris to host the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, the competition has now grown to include a battle for high school students. Competing high schools include Brandywine, Clare/Gladwin ISD, East Jordan and Mackinaw City. The task for high schoolers is the same as for Ferris’ team: Dispense an appropriate amount of hand sanitizer into a hand. The Ferris Rube team, consisting of seniors Mike Dunakin of Grand Rapids and Kyle Hebner of Oscoda, and sophomore Bryan Williams of Lupton, will be uncontested for a shot at the national competition being held at Purdue University in March. Since January, the team has been busy building two machines, one in Japan where they broke their previous world record for most steps to complete a task and the one they will run at the regional competition. The day begins at 10 a.m. with the Ferris Rube team. The high school competition will commence at 1 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

Holocaust Art Series Debuts This Week

Although the Festival of the Arts is a celebration of the arts – from paintings to performances – some of the art is somber, showing that art does not necessarily have to be beautiful, only moving, reports the Big Rapids Pioneer. Take this week’s feature, which will transport patrons to a dark period in history – the Holocaust. “It’s something we need to share,” Ferris State University Rankin Art Gallery Director Carrie Weis said. “It’s about communicating something…something that can affect you at a personal level. The Holocaust Series showcases that art isn’t just about pretty pictures.” In a series of four presentations, three survivors of the Holocaust will present their artwork, focusing on a single theme – remembrance. For more information about the Holocaust Series, or other Festival of the Arts events, visit

Gear up for the Michigan Energy Conference

BIG RAPIDS - The start of the Michigan Energy Conference is more than a month away, but the planning that helps make this Ferris State University-hosted event a success is ongoing.

MEC returns to Ferris on April 7-8 on the Big Rapids campus. Anyone interested in a comprehensive schedule for the conference should visit the official Web site, here. In addition to hosting the Michigan Energy Conference, Ferris also is home to the Energy Center. Through the Energy Center, Ferris works to "initiate, facilitate and support the dialogue and innovation necessary to ensure Michigan a bright, promising future."

Here is a statement about the Michigan Energy Conference:

The Michigan Energy Conference is dedicated to affecting positive advancement and opportunity associated with energy, energy efficiency, and sustainability. The conference provides an inclusive forum that cultivates accomplishment through collaboration and learning.

Anyone with questions about the Michigan Energy Conference should contact Arn McIntyre, coordinator of the Energy Center. He can be reached by phone at (231) 591-5811 or by e-mail at

Michigan Energy Conference information:

Ferris Gets Involved in National Children’s Dental Health Month

BIG RAPIDS – The teeth of a child are precious and the designation of February as National Children’s Dental Health Month aims to further drive that point home to kids and parents.

Ferris State University’s Student American Dental Hygiene Association, a registered student organization, is reaching out to children and their parents through its annual Children’s Dental Health Fair as part of, the American Dental Association-sponsored NCDHM.

The fair is open to children under age 13 and will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, in Ferris’ Dental Hygiene Clinic in the Allied Health Sciences Building located at 200 Ferris Drive.

Participants are eligible for free exams, X-rays (for qualifying patients), sealants and fluoride treatments.

“It is a fun way to help educate the public about dental health and to give back to the community,” said Ashley Theobald of Iron Mountain, SADHA president. “I am so thankful for the participation of local businesses and the dentists for their support in making this event really special every year.”

But, this fair is not all about good teeth, exams and treatments. Organizers anticipate a lot of smiles from participants.

“There will also be games, prizes, snacks, face painting, and educational table clinics and activities,” said Theobald, who is in her third year at Ferris and graduates in May.

SADHA has been actively involved in a number of activities to promote good dental hygiene. The student group decorated a display case in the Ferris library (FLITE) as a way to inform people about the importance of dental health and routine care for children. She also added that the organization works with local schools to provide free dental care in the clinic for 4-year-old children involved in Focus on Fours.

Annette Jackson, Dental Hygiene Clinic operations supervisor in the College of Allied Health Sciences, and Kathleen Harlan, assistant professor of Dental Hygiene and Medical Imaging, serve as SADHA co-advisors and have worked with Theobald and other students to organize this month’s events.

Through NCDHM, the ADA estimates its message about the importance of oral health has reached millions of people around the country. The organization believes that developing good practices at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits help children establish good habits that could lead to healthy teeth and gums through adulthood.

For more information about NCDHM, visit the ADA’s Web site at:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ferris In The News

Speaker Brings Global Awareness to Ferris

Naomi Tutu will speak at 11 a.m. March 2 in G. Mennen Williams Auditorium about her experience growing up as a black female in South Africa during apartheid, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. Tutu is the daughter of Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu, chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. Her presentation, “South Africa: Healing the Wounds of Racism,” is part of the Ferris State University Globalization Initiative and Women’s History Month activities. The Globalization Initiative includes several facets, including Global Reflections – a monthly series of discussions September through March designed to open dialogue on the challenges and opportunities of globalization. Other components of the initiative include a bi-annual speaker series, Critical Encounters with Globalization, creation of a Directory of Resources for Globalization and compilation of a White Paper.

Final Week of Festival of the Arts Kicks Off with Grand Rapids Symphony Concert

The final week of the Festival of the Arts began on Feb. 21 with a concert in the Big Rapids High School Auditorium by the Grand Rapids Symphony, reports The week continues with ongoing exhibits at the Ferris State University Rankin Student Center Art Gallery and Artworks, as well as poetry readings by John Guzlowski and Helen Degan Cohen. Guzlowski will present works about his parent’s experiences during and after World War II. His parents were enslaved by the Nazis during the war to work in concentration camps and associated farms and factories until they became refugees at the end of the war. His poetry is his attempt to give voice to his parent’s experiences, as well as, “those forgotten, voiceless refugees, DPs and survivors that the last century produced,” Guzlowski said. This reading will be held at 4 p.m. Feb. 23 at Great Lakes Book and Supply. Read more at