Monday, January 5, 2009

Dean of Students Offers Challenge and Support

A Message from the Dean of Student Life

Dear Ferris State University Students:

On behalf of the Office of the Dean of Student Life, I welcome new and returning students to an exciting Spring 2009 semester. The theme of this semester’s letter is “Challenge and Support.” Over the course of Fall 2008, we’ve watched history in the making as the first African American was elected President of the United States of America. Unfortunately, several of our community members displayed behaviors that lead me to feel that we are at a crossroads in developing a stronger campus community at Ferris. Ernest Boyer, a well known educator, suggests that campus communities should strive to be celebratory, open, disciplined, caring, and purposeful. In every fiber of my being, I know that as community members we can overcome any social injustices that may drive wedges in our relationships or limit our ability to communicate effectively with others.

We are Ferris State University, we will be a community that respects others, and we will be a community that lives our University’s Core Values. This semester, take responsibility for your actions and strive to be a good citizen. A celebration of our accomplishments should be our way of sharing the “Ferris Story”, what it means to live and learn at one of the best institutions of higher education.

We have students who are doing some amazing things in our community and we have students who are struggling with a variety of life challenges and sometimes those challenges become our concerns as community members. It is during these times of challenge or crisis that we see the best in our faculty, staff, and students. Let our best be our natural response in all that we do and not wait until controversy or concerns emerge. Take notice of your environment and be alert to those things that prevent us from being a welcoming community.

There are a lot of support systems on and off campus that can add to your success as a student -- please take full advantage. As the economy continues to become a high level of stress for many of us, let this be our time to come together to have open dialogue about issues that make us frustrated or upset. We are in hard times but we can still appreciate each other and reach out to those who need us. This is your season to give respect and to extend a helping hand.

Please remember that as young leaders the focus is on you and what you are doing to bring an articulate voice to the table. As in every family there may be differences but we still love each other!

Model Good Citizenship in 2009

  • Get involved in Big Rapids and Mecosta County activities – This is your home.
  • Gain a greater understanding of the University’s Core Values – Live the Values.
  • Be respectful in all your interactions with others.
  • Don’t be afraid to have an open and honest exchange of ideas.
  • Reach out to others – “Say Hello” even though you may not know the person.
  • Utilize all the support systems that are available to you on and off campus.
  • Be genuine in your connections.
  • Ask questions – If you don’t get the answers you need, may be I can help.

Be a community member who embraces Margaret Mead’s idea of never doubting that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can change the world, indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. It starts with you and you bringing your fellow students together; to make dynamic and healthy progress in building a stronger Ferris community. Feel free to contact me at 231-591-2685 or send me an email at if you have a question, concern, or a suggestion.

Go Bulldogs!

Leroy Wright
Dean of Student Life
Rankin Student Center, Room 255

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