Friday, September 4, 2009

Founders’ Day, 125th anniversary are hits for the Ferris State University family

PictureBIG RAPIDS – Founders’ Day is one of the great traditions that at Ferris State University and one that has endured for years as people come together to honor what Woodbridge Ferris and Helen Gillespie Ferris started 125 years ago in 1884.

Thursday (Sept. 3) was an extra-special Founders’ Day as not only did the University community come together to honor Woodbridge and Helen, it also gathered together to kick off the celebration of Ferris’ 125th anniversary as an institution.

Founders’ Day 2009 featured activities ideal for faculty, staff and students of Ferris as well as for members of the Big Rapids community who wanted to be part of the history Ferris has created during its first 125 years.

“This is great and very exciting. I went to school here back in the 1960s, and Ferris means a lot to me and to be here on the 125th … I never thought I would be able to participate at this level with the celebration,” said R. Thomas Cook, chair of the Ferris State University Board of Trustees. “But, it’s wonderful to see the campus, a beautiful day, and the attitude of everybody is great.”

For the complete story, visit the Ferris News Services Web site at

Ferris Board Of Trustees Immediate Past Chair Arthur L. Tebo Shares His Thoughts On Founders' Day

BIG RAPIDS - Arthur L. Tebo, the immediate past chair of the Ferris State University Board of Trustees, spoke with us about his experiences at Ferris and more during this interview.

One of the interesting aspects of this interview is the warmth Tebo, as a veteran coming back from Vietnam, felt when he arrived at the University to strengthen his education.


Ferris Board Of Trustees Chair R. Thomas Cook Shares His Thoughts On Founders' Day

BIG RAPIDS - During a festive Founders' Day celebration at Ferris State University, we had a chance to catch up with R. Thomas Cook, chair of the Board of Trustees, to discuss issues related to the University.

He talked to us about his memories of the University, the mission of Ferris, how he sees the University shaping the future and more.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

President, Mayor, State Rep. And Others Pay Tribute To The Founders Of Ferris State University, Woodbridge and Helen Ferris

BIG RAPIDS - On Tuesday, Sept. 1, Ferris State University President David L. Eisler was joined by other dignitaries including State Rep. Darwin Booher and City of Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba to pay tribute to the founders of Ferris State University, Woodbridge Nathan Ferris and Helen Gillespie Ferris.

The scene at The Highland View Cemetery in Big Rapids was spectacular and the turnout for the event was strong. Many other local dignitaries were on hand for the event as remarks were made by President Eisler, Rep. Booher, Mayor Warba as well as Jon Fleming and Jerena Keys from the United Church of Big Rapids.

Thanks to all who were on hand to make it a special event honoring the founders of Ferris State University.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ferris Web Site Among Nation's Best in Search Optimzation

BOSTON, MA -- (Marketwire) -- 09/02/09 -- WordStream, Inc., a provider of keyword research and organization solutions for continuously optimizing and expanding pay-per-click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts involving large numbers of keywords, has announced the Top SEO College Websites on their Internet marketing blog.

In a recent search query analysis study, WordStream identified 15 university websites that are excelling at organic search engine optimization and keyword ranking by optimizing their websites organically to rank well in search engine results pages (SERPs). Topping the list of Top SEO College Websites are Drexel University, University of Phoenix and Capella University. Also making the list are Ferris State University, Western Governors University, Pennsylvania State University, Northcentral University, Oregon State University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, University of Texas, Canyon College, Gonzaga University, American Sentinel University, University of Illinois and Grand Canyon University.

The Top SEO College Websites were determined using SERP analysis, by counting how frequently a university's domain displayed in the top 10, 20 and 100 results for 20 of the most popular higher education and distance learning keyword phrases. Standouts like Drexel University, for example, have a leading SERP frequency rate of 23 in the top 100 results category, followed by the University of Phoenix with a frequency rate of 12, and Capella University with a frequency rate of 10.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ferris In The News

Founders’ Day Loaded with Activities to Celebrate 125 Years

Founders’ Day may carry an even more significant meaning this year as Ferris State University celebrates its 125th anniversary. The third annual Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Social will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, but a number of additional events involving the history of the university will be available to students and the public, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. “It’s a meaningful day regardless but with the celebration of Ferris’ 125th anniversary, I think it accentuates the importance of the founding of the university,” Ferris Governmental Relations Assistant and Founders’ Day organizer Geri Johnson said. Founders’ Day annually recognizes the origins of Ferris State University and the role Woodbridge N. Ferris and his wife,

Printing Industry Trains Ferris Student for World Competition

As students return to Ferris State University’s campus, one is preparing to go to Calgary, Alberta, Canada to compete for gold. Amela Mujkic, a print management and new media printing and publishing senior from Clinton Township, has spent the summer training to be the first person to represent the United States in Offset Printing at WorldSkills Sept. 1 through 7, reports WWJ Newsradio 950 of Detroit. According to Pat Klarecki, professor of printing and imaging technology and director of the School of Fabrication and Design at Ferris, without the support of industry here in Michigan and around the country, Mujkic’s run for the gold could not have happened. Dave Gilson, owner of Gilson Graphics in Grand Rapids, and his employees have played an incredible role in providing training for Mujkic. Gilson opened his facility for the entire summer to allow her to train on the same equipment on which she will be competing. Working on a daily basis with pressman Jerry White, Mujkic immediately fit in as if part of the team. “She has a good work ethic and is a go-getter,” said White. Read more at

Carrie Weis Finds Inspiration in Nature

A sunflower isn’t the image that comes to mind when first meeting Carrie Weis, but after listening to the Big Rapids artist as she describes what inspires her to paint, a resemblance between the two subjects begins to form, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. It suits Weis perfectly that among her most personal paintings is one she painted about 10 years ago of a sunflower against a blue sky – a painting she could never part with: her self portrait. “It just felt free and it just felt like an extension of my personality,” said Weis, who is director of Ferris’ Rankin Center Art Gallery. The painting only took Weis one hour to complete, but she said her best work is when she paints quickly and spontaneously because it allows her to be intuitive. The local artist, who is featured at Artworks in downtown Big Rapids, also will be teaching two painting classes in the fall at Kendall College of Art and Design. “I can no more quit painting as I can quit breathing,” Weis said. “It’s my voice; it’s my expression.” She also was recently award the “Banner Award” for her painting titled “Beauty.” It was one of five paintings on exhibition at the Whistle Stop Gallery in Granite City, Ill.

History Panel to Discuss 125 Years of Ferris State University

BIG RAPIDS – Ferris State University boasts a second-to-none history that dates back to 1884 when founders Woodbridge N. Ferris and Helen Gillespie Ferris opened what was known then as the Big Rapids Industrial School.

History buffs are invited to visit Ferris’ Rankin Student Center Dome Room at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3 to discuss and learn more about a University now in its 125th year. For anyone interested in a discussion about the University’s history, in an event moderated by Associate Dean of the College of Education and Human Services Paul Blake, join Richard Santer, Robert Leach, Ray Dickinson, Lawrence Martin and Melinda McMartin Isler on Founders’ Day. This distinguished panel will explore a number of topics, including the founders, who picked the crimson and gold colors, why our sports teams are named the Bulldogs and more.

“We are fortunate to have a strong connection to so many former faculty and staff who are willing to share their Ferris experience,” said Associate Director for Advancement Services and Technology Mary Kay MacIver, who serves as co-chair of the History Task Force. “This is a rare opportunity to hear about our rich history from those who lived it.”

For the complete story, visit the Ferris News Services Web site at

Under Investigation: The Fire That Changed Ferris

BIG RAPIDS – A bitterly-cold day, Feb. 21, 1950, marked a devastating event that nearly destroyed Ferris State University and tested its will to carry on.

On that day, disaster struck Ferris Institute and the Big Rapids community as the fire alarm rang shortly after 5 p.m. President Byron Brophy had just finished hosting a reception for graduating students when custodian Melvin Dunn and Karl Merrill, Dean of Men, informed the president of smoke in the attic of the Main Building. What resulted was a devastating fire that completely destroyed Old Main and left little of Ferris Institute standing. Today, the mystery of that fire continues to intrigue many people familiar with the history of what today is known as Ferris State University.

On Sept. 3 at 6 p.m., Founders’ Day activities at Ferris features “Unsolved History: The Burning of Old Main,” in G. Mennen Williams Auditorium as part of 125th anniversary celebration of the history of Ferris State University.
  • Do you have a theory about the 1950 fire?
  • Was the fire an accident?
  • Was it deliberately set?
  • If it was deliberately set ... what was the motive?
Your questions and thoughts are welcome.

For the full story, visit the Ferris FYI news homepage at

Focus on Skilled Trades Education Brings Scholarship Opportunities to Ferris

BIG RAPIDS – J.E. Johnson, Inc. of Midland established a scholarship benefiting the J.E. Johnson Annual Skilled Trades Scholarship at Ferris State University.

Two students each will receive $2,000 per year through this scholarship. This award will provide recipients with funds to use for tuition, books, fees or other academic expenses.

“I believe in helping our local students succeed and in encouraging them to stay in Mid-Michigan. Technical career opportunities are growing in our area and we appreciate Ferris State’s endeavors in supporting education in these career fields,” said Jim Johnson, president and CEO of J.E. Johnson, Inc. “We at J.E. Johnson are fortunate to be in a position to support these students in achieving their educational goals.”

Criteria for applicants of the J.E. Johnson Annual Skilled Trades Scholarship includes being a part- or full-time student majoring in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration programs; Mechanical Design or the Welding Engineering programs and having a minimum 2.5 GPA. The recipient also must be a native of the Tri-City region, which encompasses the cities of Saginaw, Bay City and Midland.

“This scholarship is a wonderful opportunity for our students. We look forward to a long-term friendship with J.E. Johnson,” said Karen Lerew, advancement officer for Ferris’ College of Engineering Technology.

For the complete version of the story, visit the Ferris FYI news site at

Hedrick Associates Provides Scholarships for HVACR Students

BIG RAPIDS – Hedrick Associates of Grand Rapids created a scholarship endowment for students in the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program at Ferris State University.

This scholarship will be awarded annually to a full-time student majoring in the HVACR program that demonstrates financial need and has a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Karl Huffman, president of Hedrick Associates and Ferris alumnus, said the decision to create scholarship opportunities for students at Ferris creates a win-win situation for everyone. With seven of the 10 employees at Hedrick Associates being Ferris alumni, Huffman attributes the company’s success on the training provided by Ferris’ HVACR program.

“Ferris is a kind of family to us,” he said. “We have developed a sense of belonging and take pride in the school, which inherently gives us a need to help it grow and be successful.
“As a business, we want to demonstrate a way to repay Ferris for giving us access to the training and talent they provide. We want to give students the same opportunities we had, which resulted in the success of our business. We want to continue that philosophy of philanthropy,” Huffman added.

For the full story, visit Ferris' FYI news site at

Monday, August 31, 2009

Ferris In The News

Local Ferris Student Participates in Innovative Research

Big Rapids resident John Konieczny recently participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Konieczny, a Ferris State University student, was one of nine undergraduate students from around the country who were selected to participate in the summer program, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. As part of the REU program, students researched projects advancing state-of-the-art applications in biomedical, aerospace, architectural, manufacturing, composite, biomolecular and electro-optical industries. The students’ work is funded by the National Science Foundation and Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power. Konieczny’s project focused on investigation of the process of converting microscopy data sets for uses with additive manufacturing.

Wind Collaborative a Step Forward

The announcement that eight West Michigan community colleges, including Muskegon Community College, and two universities are joining forces to create a curriculum for the burgeoning wind industry is just the type of collaborative creativity this area – and the state – needs to develop the work force of the future, reports the Grand Rapids Press. West Michigan, with its extensive Lake Michigan shoreline and tall dunes, and its many experienced workers in metals technology, would appear to be the perfect place to become a state leader in alternative energy development. Now, with the West Michigan Community College Collaboration, stretching from Kalamazoo to Traverse City and including Grand Valley State University and Ferris State University, workers will be able to hone their skills for the wind turbine industry. The group has developed a business plan and is seeking state and federal grants to launch the effort. It is the first college collaborative in west Michigan. The group wants to secure a wind turbine site for hands-on classwork and community education. Read more at

Bulldog Beginnings Welcomes New and Returning Students to a Fresh Start on Campus

As summer winds down, life on campus will pick up as Ferris celebrates students’ arrival with Bulldog Beginnings Aug. 27 through Sept. 5, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. Students can expect a variety of free events and activities such as picnics, disc golf and cornhole tournaments, caricature artists, Chinese acrobats, ice cream socials and a movie in the Campus Quad. Spanning the course of 12 days, Bulldog Beginnings, formerly known as Welcome Week, gives new students a view of the college lifestyle while preparing returning students for the shift back to campus life. “During this time, the energy on campus and in the community is fun, relaxed and filled with excitement. We want students to start the beginning of their academic year receiving the same positive messages across campus that speak to making connections with others, becoming familiar with the campus and local community and having a smooth transition to Ferris,” said Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Cairns. “There are many exciting activities designed to help create new memories for students and all involved.” Read more at

Bulldog Sophomore Tailback David Freeman Sees The Best Days Ahead For Bulldogs

BIG RAPIDS - Ferris State University's David Freeman is off to a solid start this season after rushing for 89 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown.

But, the sophomore running back from Westland is confident that he and his teammates are only scratching the surface of their full potential in the wake of the team's 34-14 non-conference home win over Tiffin University at Top Taggart Field on Saturday night. The improvement Freeman has made since the end of last season was on full display against the Dragons in Saturday night's season opener. Freeman ran hard, he hit the hole and was tough to bring down with the initial hit.

It looks like the Bulldogs have a nice find at tailback, but Freeman insists what fans saw on the turf at Top Taggart Field is hardly a finished product.

"I really think as far as our execution ... we're not there yet," said Freeman, who last year played in 10 games (started two) and rushed the football only 17 times for 30 yards. "We have a lot of talent on our offense, but we still have a lot of work to do if we're going to be playing, offensively, the way that we know we can play."

For the complete story on Freeman, visit the Ferris sports blog:
Photo taken by Ed Hyde

Dr. David Pilgrim Presents: Tolerance, Intolerance and Inclusion

BIG RAPIDS - In the 125 years since Ferris State University was founded, one of the cornerstones of the institution has been its expressed commitment to diversity and inclusion.

On Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Rankin Student Center Dome Room, Dr. David Pilgrim, who is the chief diversity officer out of Ferris' Diversity and Inclusion Office, will present: "Tolerance, Intolerance and Inclusion."

We encourage anyone who is interested to take an hour out of their evening to visit the Dome Room for Dr. Pilgrim's presentation on this important topic as the Ferris family gathers back together for the 2009-10 academic school year.

Anyone with a disability who needs special accommodations to attend, please call 231-591-2612 at least 72 hours in advance.

This is an activity that is part of Welcome Week.

For more information, contact Sherry Hayes by e-mail ( or use your phone to speak by voice at (231) 591-2612.

Check Out Ferris State University's Celebrating 125 Years Site

BIG RAPIDS - Ferris State University is celebrating its 125th year and we don't want anyone to miss out on the second-to-none history of the institution founded by Woodbridge Nathan Ferris and Helen Gillespie Ferris in 1884.

Learn more about the rich history of FSU by visiting the University's newly-launched 125th anniversary Web page.

Log on and see how our great history sets the stage for our great future:

Special Postal Service Event Highlights Ferris 125th

BIG RAPIDS - The Big Rapids branch of the United States Postal Service is holding a special and rare stamp cancelation event for Ferris State University and Big Rapids community members on the University’s Founders’ Day, Thursday, Sept. 3.

Community members are encouraged to bring stamped letters or postcards to have them sent off to friends or loved ones during an event set to take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Ferris’ Campus Quad. Whether its letters, cards or bills to be paid, stamped letters can be mailed with a historic and rare stamp to commemorate the founding of Ferris State University 125 years ago by Woodbridge N. Ferris and Helen Gillespie Ferris.

Individuals can have a maximum of 50 items stamped. Beyond the limit of 50, items may be canceled at a rate of five cents apiece (up to 1,000).

“Stamp cancelation events are important in a community,” said Postmaster Darrel J. Kordie, of the Big Rapids branch of the U.S. Postal Service, who is finishing the final preparations to make sure the stamp cancelation event is a success. “It’s always an honor when you can have a stamp cancelation like this for us and for the community.”
For the complete story, visit Ferris' FYI homepage at

President, Mayor to Speak at Ceremony to Honor Ferris Founders

BIG RAPIDS – Woodbridge Nathan Ferris and Helen Gillespie Ferris, who founded Ferris State University 125 years ago, will be honored during a special wreath-laying ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

The laying of the wreath will take place at the Ferris mausoleum at Highland View Cemetery (607 W. Bellevue Street) in Big Rapids at 4 p.m. For Ferris students and anyone else in the community unable to attend the ceremony in the cemetery, the wreath will be on display on the Campus Quad from 1 to 3 p.m. at the WNF statue. As part of this ceremony, remarks will be made by Ferris President David L. Eisler and City of Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba.

“We’re so pleased to have this tribute to our founders, Woodbridge and Helen Ferris, to set the stage for Founders’ Day activities and to begin the celebration of the 125th year of Ferris State University,” said Jennifer Thede, a member of the History Task Force, which works to commemorate the history and traditions of the University. “We’re also very pleased the Ferris ROTC is going to be participating by laying the wreath as they assisted in January 2003 when we celebrated the 150th birthday of Woodbridge.”

An invocation and a benediction will be given by Jon Fleming and Jerena Keys of the United Church of Big Rapids.

For the full story, visit the Ferris FYI homepage at

Ferris Steps up to the Challenge: 125 hours for 125 years

BIG RAPIDS - All Ferris State University students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members are challenged to reach 125 hours of service throughout the school year in celebration of Ferris’ 125th Anniversary.

Those students who complete the challenge, reaching the Woodbridge N. Ferris Level of 125 service hours, will be recognized at the Torchbearer Society Awards Ceremony and be awarded a medallion to wear at graduation.

Non-student participants will be recognized for reaching service hour milestones including the Dean’s Level of 50 service hours and President’s Level of 100 service hours.

The idea for the service challenge was brought to the attention of the Student Leadership and Activities managers by Mary Kay MacIver and Ferris’ History Task Force.

"The Initiative 125 Service Challenge is based on the belief of our founders, Woodbridge and Helen Ferris, that the world improved over time through human endeavor. This initiative provides an opportunity for Ferris faculty, staff, students, alumni and area members to honor them and our 125th anniversary by making a lasting impact in their communities as a result of their volunteer efforts," said MacIver, associate director for Advancement Services.

For the full story, visit Ferris' FYI homepage at