Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ferris In The News

Michigan College of Optometry Faculty Receive Honors

The Michigan Optometric Association recently honored three Ferris State University Michigan College of Optometry faculty during its annual MOA Winter Seminar Awards Luncheon, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. Award recipients include: Optometrist of the Year Mark Swan, Young Optometrist of the Year Sarah B. Hinkley and Keyperson RenĂ©e O. Mika. Swan, O.D., M.Ed., F.A.A.O., is a professor in the MCO, where he serves as chief of pediatrics and binocular vision services. He also is the chief of optometry at Saint Mary’s Mercy Medical Center in Grand Rapids. Hinkley, O.D., is an assistant professor and chief of Low Vision Services for the MCO. Mika, O.D., is an associate professor for the MCO. She currently serves as the director of Community-Based Services for the MCO and led the establishment of a satellite eye clinic at Baldwin Family Health Care in Baldwin, Mich. Read more at

Ferris Task Force Addresses Pedestrian Safety

Ferris State University’s Pedestrian Safety Task Force has taken some initial steps to make the crosswalks on State Street more visible and safe, reports the Big Rapids Pioneer. The task force continues to explore a number of other solutions to improve pedestrian safety through education, behavior change and physical improvements in and around campus. Task force member Pam Augustine, Michigan Department of Transportation traffic engineer, coordinated the placement of pedestrian signs to identify crosswalks on State Street, beginning at the south end of campus at Knollview Drive near Ewigleben Sports Complex and continuing north to Morrison Street by Burger King. “This was something immediate and cost effective that we could do to call drivers’ attention to crosswalks in high traffic areas along State Street,” she said. Augustine is one of 15 members of the Ferris Pedestrian Safety Task Force chaired by Vice President for Administration and Finance Jerry Scoby. Read more at

Ferris Extends Student Recruitment to 16 States and Ontario

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, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. 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. Read more at

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ferris In The News

After Addy Award Win, Kendall Student Hopes Video Helps Her Land Bigger Prize: A Job

Elizabeth Zimmerman’s school project – an animated video – has generated a top grade and an Addy award. Now the senior at Kendall College of Art & Design is keeping her fingers crossed it will also lead to a job, the Grand Rapids Press reports. “I’m pretty psyched,” Zimmerman said of winning the top design award. “It’s a really good opportunity for people to see your work.” She spent three weeks making her 90-second video about the Pacific Ocean’s “garbage patch,” where trash from around the world accumulates. Her Motion Graphics professor Bill Bergen gave her an “A” and suggested she enter it into the regional advertising award competition. She won the Best of Show Addy for a student project. More than 500 people attended the ceremony held at the Intersection and sponsored by the American Advertising Federation of West Michigan. In total, 105 awards were handed out to professionals and students whose work will be forwarded to the national Addy Award competition.

Tutu Discusses Truth, Racial Issues

Only truth can heal the wounds of racism and oppression, whether it is in South Africa or the United States. That was the message delivered by Naomi Tutu Tuesday during her visit to Ferris State University, reports the Big Rapids Pioneer. Tutu, daughter of legendary South African activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu, spoke on “South Africa: Healing the Wounds of Racism.” The presentation was organized by Ferris’ Office of Multicultural Student Services and Globalization Initiative. Naomi’s discussion surrounded the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa following the abolishment of apartheid. “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission ensured that South Africans heard the whole story,” Naomi said. “We cannot heal by pretending that something didn’t happen.” Ferris’ Chief Diversity Officer, David Pilgrim, feels Naomi’s presentation was a great opportunity for the university campus to connect. “For too long, we have not connected well with the rest of the world,” Pilgrim said. “I think Naomi’s presentation gives us a reason to connect in a way that is meaningful.”

Barnum’s Statue Highlight of Festival of the Arts Wrap-up

Members of the Big Rapids and Ferris State University communities bid farewell to the third Festival of the Arts celebration during which Ferris Artist in Residence Robert Barnum unveiled a three-piece scale model of a sculpture that will be displayed on the university’s campus, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. Presenting the sculpture with Barnum were Ferris Welding students Conrad Raffilo and Patrick Damveld. The sculpture, which was created in recognition of the university’s 125th anniversary, is designed to showcase Ferris now, as well as highlight where it will be in the future. “When people drive by, they need to understand that this is a statement,” Barnum said. “I believe that this sculpture will be a statement that speaks to the university’s 125-year history.” The statue, standing 20 feet tall, will be erected at the corner of Perry Street and 215th Avenue on the western-most edge of the Ferris campus. An unveiling is set for April 21.

Tutu Speaks On Issues Regarding Race In South Africa, United States

BIG RAPIDS - Naomi Tutu delivered a stirring presentation about issues related to race and racism that included her experiences growing up in apartheid South Africa.

The daughter of 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner and legendary civil rights activist Desmond Tutu, Naomi addressed those in attendance in G. Mennen Williams Auditorium on Tuesday morning. Included in the crowd were Ferris State University students, faculty and staff as well as students and teachers from several local schools. Tutu was greeted by a rousing reception as she stepped to the podium on the Williams Auditorium stage in Big Rapids.

"It really is a pleasure for me to be here at Ferris State," said Tutu said following a standing ovation and a special introduction from fellow South African native and Michigan College of Optometry faculty member Avesh Raghunandan, who followed up an opening statement from Ferris President David Eisler, that welcomed everyone to FSU.

Tutu opened her presentation by talking about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as South Africa's method of moving from apartheid to a democratic society. As part of her opening statement, Tutu discussed the massive human rights abuses that took place during apartheid and eventually the compromise (TRC) that helped the country to move from the bitter, deadly and racist history toward what South Africans hoped would be a more positive future.

"Racism is one of those things, one of those dark places in our community, in our society and in our country that we don't want to face up to," she said. "What the Truth and Reconciliation Commission did for South Africa, in starting our healing, was to ensure that as South Africans we heard the whole story of South Africa."

She went on to explain more about the TRC.

"The TRC gave us an opportunity to find out about those who perpetrated human rights abuses, those who applied for amnesty and the dark side of our South African history," Tutu said. "The TRC also gave us an opportunity to see the greatness of human beings who exited in our country.

"One of the other responsibilities was to hear the stories of those who were victims and survivors of human rights abuses. We sat and listened to stories that were wide ranging," she added.

Tutu shared stories to illustrate the horrors of apartheid (including one about a woman who wanted to know who killed her father and one about a mother who, on television, saw her son's body being dragged by a police van with a rope tied around his feet and being described as a terrorist who had infiltrated the country). People wanted to know who committed these crimes and who ordered such crimes.

Tutu explained, through such powerful examples, how the TRC helped heal some of the wounds of apartheid and take steps toward a stronger and more democratic country.

Later in her presentation, Tutu talked about education about slavery

"We can't heal from experience by pretending it didn't happen, it wasn't as bad or it was just a small part of our story," Tutu said. "The only way we heal and move forward is by telling the truth and telling the whole truth."

Her final statement was a powerful one.

"South Africa has a long way to go in moving from the legacy of apartheid, but I think what the TRC did will start us on that path in a way that we have not seen anywhere else in the world," Tutu said. "In 18 years since our first election, in many ways I think South Africa is healing from the wounds of racism more than this country. The wounds remain, but the healing has truly begun."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ferris Fans, Student-Athletes Share Unique Bond Through Ritual


Ferris State University hockey players and students come face to face before and after each period as one of the unique aspects of Ewigleben Ice Arena. (Photo/Calvin Carter)

BIG RAPIDS - Increasingly, barriers that divide athletes and fans have created a disconnect that has strained the relationship of the two groups around a common interest: the sporting events they all love.

While arenas and stadiums oftentimes go to great lengths to draw a separation between fans and athletes, Ferris State University's Ewigleben Ice Arena is proud to be an exception to the rule. At Ferris, the interaction between those who fill the "Dawg Pound" and the Bulldog hockey student-athletes is both encouraged and celebrated. In fact, the relationship between the students and the hockey student-athletes is nothing less than a mutual love affair.

In the student section, the Ferris pep band (which from time to time includes Ferris President David Eisler and his trusty clarinet) begins the steady drum beat as students gather together to form a human tunnel in the pathway from the Ferris locker room to the playing surface of Ewigleben Ice Arena, one of the toughest barns for opponents in all of college hockey. Those fanatics, the ones who rush in like crazy to get their spots the minute the ice arena opens for games, are about as fired up as the players.

"I believe we have always had a unique relationship here at Ferris between our students and our student-athletes," Ferris head coach Bob Daniels said as his team enters this weekend's competition (a home-and-home series against Western Michigan University that begins tonight in Big Rapids and ends Saturday in Kalamazoo) with a record of 19-11-4 overall and tied for second place in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings. "There is a mutual respect between our students and our student-athletes and it's great to see how they come together and support each other and feed off of each other."

Ewigleben Ice Arena is not merely tough because it's small and it feels like the fans are right on top of you with their aggressive and relentless chants and their banging of the boards. When the building is packed to its limit (2,493), it is akin to (for opponents) playing major college hockey in an area that feels like an average-sized basement jammed with 2,400 people who are far from your best friends and don't exactly have a lot of love for you.

"The Dawg Pound is a great lift for us every time we hit the ice," said former three-time Ferris hockey captain Adam Welch, who recently concluded his Bulldog playing career. "It is the best student section in all of college hockey."

The "Dawg Pound" has a lot of love for the Bulldog players and coaches. In almost ritual fashion, every time the players and coaches take the ice they are greeted with a human tunnel of fans filled with unconditional love for Ferris hockey.

"The atmosphere in which the student section has developed over time gives our players a distinct advantage, so much as it seems like we have a seventh man on the ice," said Drew Famulak, Ferris associate head coach. "We, as a coaching staff, believe it has become the toughest facility for opposing teams to play in."

In 1999, the University added a state-of-the-art locker room to the west side of Ewigleben Ice Arena. As a result of the new location of the locker room, the Bulldogs began a different route to the ice surface - a route that takes the players and coaches right past the area that is home to the student section and the band.

"I think it is a unique quirk about our rink that at the beginning and end of each period our players walk through our students," said Daniels, who confessed he could not think of any other Division I college hockey arena with a setup that brings the players and fans together. "It's truly one of the different experiences for our great fans and our players that is not something you see in other hockey arenas where the players are a little more removed from the fans.

"It's something special that we have right here at Ferris."

NOTE: This blog, written by Sandy Gholston, originally was published on Crimson and Gold Report and the Ferris State Athletics Blog.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dr. Ian W. Mathison Selected as American Pharmacists Association Fellow

BIG RAPIDS – Dr. Ian W. Mathison of Big Rapids, dean and professor of medicinal chemistry of Ferris State University’s College of Pharmacy since 1976, has been selected by The American Pharmacists Association as a fellow in its Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science.

Fellowship is conferred upon those members who have demonstrated progressive, exemplary service and achievements in his or her professional area through participation with the APhA academies and other national, state and local professional organizations.

Mathison, who also is a fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, earned Bachelor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Science degrees from the University of London. His academic career has been hallmarked by numerous academic and professional awards and recognitions, and receipt of grant awards and patents for research endeavors on novel chemical structures for antiarrhythmic and antihypertensive activities.

He serves on a number of national advisory committees, is a consultant on the education of pharmacists and to the World Health Organization’s Malaysian Ministry of Health, and is an external examiner of the University of Sains Pharmacy School in Penang, Malaysia.

To share his global understanding of the pharmacy profession with Ferris students, Mathison developed a student exchange program for seniors that enables reciprocal exchanges between Ferris and the University of Bath in England and the University of Angers in France.

The APhA, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, represents more than 63,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others interested in advancing the profession.

APhA, dedicated to helping pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States. APhA members provide care in all practice settings, including community pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, managed care organizations, hospice settings and the uniformed services.