Friday, November 20, 2009

Ferris In The News

Debate on Michigan’s Knowledge Economy Continues

At Business Review’s knowledge economy forum last week, we all learned a lot – mostly about what we still have left to learn. With roundtables dedicated to exploring what a knowledge economy means to Michigan’s economic pillars, as well as talent attraction and retention and education, we gathered more than 150 people from across the state and representing a breadth of industries to discuss our state’s future, West Michigan Business Review reports. It was an incredible feeling. An inspiring comment by President David Eisler of Ferris State University in Big Rapids was that the colleges don’t necessarily need more money to improve education – just stronger partnerships. He referenced the existing partnerships that university has with west Michigan community colleges, including Dowagiac’s Southwestern Michigan College, where Ferris offers programs to SMC students. The equation of open capacity plus demand minus bureaucracy and greed will equal positive outcomes for Michigan workers. Read more at

Ferris Recognized for Storm Readiness

A student project turned into a special recognition at Ferris State University. Wednesday night, the National Weather Service named the school a StormReady facility, reports 9&10 News. It’s one of only four universities in Michigan to be recognized. From an outdoor broadcast system to emergency phone alerts, students spent months documenting how the school was prepared for an emergency. The National Weather Service is encouraging communities to take part in the StormReady program. They say the better prepared you are, the more people could be saved in a disaster. Watch the video at

Learning Life Lessons Through Basketball Practice

This week marked the start of boys’ basketball practices across the state. With that comes drills, plays, sprints and any other little thing coaches can think of to get players mentally and physically ready for the rigors of the upcoming season, Cadillac News reports. However, Manton coach Ryan Hiller wanted to give his team a different kind of refresher course. Two years ago, Ferris State University Assistant Athletics Director Jon Coles visited the Rangers’ basketball team to talk about leadership on and off the court. He also talked about what Manton’s student athletes would have to do to get noticed by various colleges and universities. On Wednesday, he returned to give a little refresher to the upper classmen who were on the team two years ago, as well as a fresh perspective to the ones who weren’t. “Without question, leadership is a benefit to them on and off the court. Eventually everyone becomes a leader, whether it is of their family, a business or in education,” Coles said. “The skills they learn (Wednesday) afternoon they can use the rest of their lives.”

Granholm Recruits for Student Aid Battle

Gov. Jennifer Granholm stepped up her campaign Wednesday to put public pressure on the Senate – especially Senate Republicans – to restore the Michigan Promise Scholarship program, which was eliminated in the new state budget. Among her tactics: a letter sent to 348,000 high school and college students who have qualified for the grants, faulting the Legislature for killing the scholarship. Matt Marsden, a spokesman for Senate Republicans, said the income-tax change Granholm supports was approved by the Senate last month to add more money to K-12 public schools. “We wish we had the resources to provide the Promise grant. Presently, we do not,” Marsden said. “There are other more-pressing needs now.” Some schools are scrambling to figure out ways to make up the difference. Ferris State University also will use stimulus funds to help students such as Paula Getzmeyer, 18, of Ortonville, who has been told that she will receive $1,100 to make up for a semester’s worth of the Promise and Competitive grants – both state funds – that she had expected earlier this year. That help from Ferris will cover books and other odds and ends, said Getzmeyer, a pre-pharmacy student. “You learn in your first year how quickly those things add up,” she said.

Grant Provides Interest-Free Loan Opportunities for Ferris Students

BIG RAPIDS – Ferris State University received the third of four $25,000 payments as part of a $100,000 grant from the Charles E. Schell Foundation. Fifth Third Bank serves as trustee to the Schell Foundation and bank representatives recently presented the check to the university.

Charles E. Schell established his trust in 1932 to provide interest-free loans to students who meet the following criteria: recipients must be from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia or adjacent states; have at least a 2.0 grade point average; and demonstrate loyalty to the United States.

The grant award was secured by Ferris Investments and Grants Officer Karen Thompson, in conjunction with Carla Miller, associate vice president for Advancement at Ferris. Ferris received the first installment of $25,000 in November 2007. The final installment will be received in November 2010.

Thompson notes the grant award is one of many university-wide efforts to establish additional financial aid resources for students. Through Schell’s generosity and vision, many students have been able to pursue what Schell called a “practical education,” Thompson added.

“In this time of economic challenge in the state of Michigan, we are hearing from more students in need of financial assistance,” said Jerry Scoby, Ferris vice president for Administration and Finance. “We greatly appreciate this grant from the Charles E. Schell Foundation to assist our students in obtaining an outstanding education from Ferris State University.”

Although the loans are interest free, students will be required to sign a promissory note to repay their loans so future students can benefit from the loan fund, Thompson said. There are 17 students who have benefited from the first two installments of this grant award.

Students interested in this loan or other forms of financial aid, should contact the Financial Aid Office at (231) 591-2110.

For more information or to make a gift to Ferris State 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.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra Visits Ferris State University, Tours Granger Center, Meets With President Eisler

BIG RAPIDS – Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Holland) visited Ferris State University on Monday, Nov. 16 to learn more about how Ferris is meeting the needs of the new economy and manufacturing opportunities, the retraining/retooling of industry and the environment.

While on campus, Hoekstra spent time with College of Engineering Technology Dean Thomas Oldfield and Interim Director for the School of Built Environment John Schmidt touring the Granger Center for Construction and HVACR. The Center is a 72,000 square-foot interactive learning environment with exposed plumbing, electrical, structural and building components providing learning opportunities beyond the typical classroom setting.
“We want our students to not only be able to understand the engineering aspect in their field, but to be able to apply that theory by providing a hands-on experience,” Schmidt said.

Programs offered in the Granger Center are in Construction Management with emphasis on Civil Engineering Technology and Building Construction Technology; Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology; and HVACR Engineering Technology. The center also is used by industry like the Michigan Department of Transportation through Ferris’ Institute for Construction Education and Training, and Hobart Service for training technicians in servicing commercial foodservice refrigeration equipment.

A strong focus of the HVACR programs is on energy efficiency. As one of only two HVACR bachelor’s degree programs in the country, Ferris is looked upon by industry as leaders in educating environmentally aware technicians and engineers.

“The School of Built Environment is solidly formed around the education of efficiencies and sustainability through our HVACR options, facility management degree, professors that are LEED certified and our new Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture and Sustainability that will be offered starting in Fall 2010,” Oldfield said.

Hoekstra ended his visit meeting with university President David Eisler.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ferris In The News

Ferris Student Organization Stitches Ponchos, Pillowcases for Hospital Patients

Patients at Helen DeVos children’s hospital in Grand Rapids will be a little warmer and a little cheerier this winter thanks to the efforts of some Ferris State University students, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. Members of Ferris’ Association of Clinical Laboratory Sciences – a student organization – made 30 fleece ponchos for the children as part of Project Poncho. Students also plan to make 100 pillowcases. Hospital representatives are excited to receive the donation, said Nicole Cuneo, former ACLS president and Project Poncho chair. “They never receive enough donations,” Cuneo said, adding the ponchos keep children warm and don’t interfere with IV lines. “It feels good to give to someone else,” ACLS member Angie Deering added.

Ferris West Central Concert Band Performance Honors Veterans

Playing to a patriotic crowd, the Ferris State University West Central Concert Band presented its seventh annual Veterans Day Concert Monday night in G. Mennen Williams Auditorium. The band played a variety of songs linked to different eras of combat for American soldiers – from the Revolutionary War to present, reports the Big Rapids Pioneer. The Croton American Legion Post No. 381 Honor Guard also performed the presentation of colors preceding the concert and the AMVETS Red Arrow Post No. 1941 presented the “Honored Guest.” Ferris professor emeritus Richard Santer gave a speech about the military’s Polar Bear units, made up primarily of Michigan men who fought the Russian Bolsheviks immediately following WW I. The evening also included performances by John King, who sang a salute, and Ferris President David Eisler, who served as guest conductor.

Mecosta-Osceola Career Center Instills Service in Students at Young Age

There are 46 area high schoolers enrolled in the Mecosta-Osceola Career Center’s Public Safety Program who have the itch to serve their community as firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians, corrections officers, emergency dispatchers or military members, said instructor Jim Williams. Students are able to gain basic skills through hands-on learning from instructors with law enforcement experience, which also opens the doors for job shadow opportunities with area law enforcement agencies, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. At Ferris State University, having a background in the field is beneficial for students considering entering the university’s Criminal Justice program. Steve Reifert, director of Ferris’ School of Criminal Justice, said participating in the MOCC program gives students perspective on whether or not a career in criminal justice is for the right career path for them. “Right off the bat, students have a better understanding of what they’re studying,” Reifert said.