Thursday, July 8, 2010

President Eisler's Memo To Faculty And Staff Regarding The Death Of Former President Wenrich

It is with sadness that I report the death of J. William “Bill” Wenrich, who served as President of Ferris State University from 1984-88. President Wenrich passed away yesterday on July 6th. He was 73 years old.

Although it has been more than 20 years since Bill led Ferris, he has remained a part of the University. Recently, Bill played an important role in developing Ferris’ Educational Doctorate in Community College Leadership. His own leadership of Ferris, combined with his expertise in community college education, made his advice in the design of this program uniquely invaluable. Just last year President Wenrich received the prestigious National Leadership Award from the American Association of Community Colleges.

This past February I travelled to Dallas to visit with President Wenrich. We spent a wonderful afternoon together and then were joined by his wife Martha for dinner. Even though he had been battling cancer for some time, Bill was fit and vibrant. We spoke for 4-5 hours and one would never have known he was ill. Bill’s considerable intellect, profound insight into higher education and his extraordinary experience created a memorable experience that I will long remember. The hope was that Bill would be able to join us for April’s celebration of Ferris’ 125th anniversary. Although on the advice of his doctor he was not able to travel for our symposium of former presidents, I spoke with him by telephone from his home and recorded his comments to be shared with us here in Big Rapids. His remarks helped contribute to a remarkable day.

Bill initially joined Ferris in 1971 as a vice president working with President Bob Ewigleben. He returned in 1984 to serve as president of Ferris State College. It was in 1987 during his administration that we became Ferris State University. Bill left Ferris in 1988 to become chancellor of the San Diego Community College District and moved in 1990 to become chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District – the largest undergraduate educational institution in Texas. He retired from that position in 2003 and continued to serve as an emeritus chancellor. During his over 40 years of college leadership Bill also served as president of Canada College and Santiago College, and as chancellor of the Rancho Santiago Community College district, all of which are in California.

Bill had great vitality and remained engaged with Ferris State University. Those who knew him personally and others who simply benefited from his leadership feel the loss of his passing. I know that you join me in extending our thoughts and prayers to the Wenrich family as they deal with this loss.


David L. Eisler, President

For Ferris State University's News Services press release, visit here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sculpting 125 Years of Ferris State University History

BIG RAPIDS – The founding mission to create opportunity and provide access to education for all began more than 125 years ago at Ferris State University and a recent sculpture dedication will ensure these values have a permanent place in the community.

The unveiling of the set of three sculptures, placed permanently west of campus on Perry Street, took place on May 7 as part of the University’s 125th celebrations.

“The sculptures are a visual narrative that offer a thought-provoking dialogue to the viewer of all ages about the nature and intellectual personality of a place and time,” Ferris Resident Artist and professor of Creative Arts Robert Barnum said.

For the full story, visit the News Services Web site, here.

Want To Host A 5-Star Ferris State University Event?

Would your Ferris State University department or student organization like to host a Five-Star Event?

The Student Leadership & Activities Office is currently taking applications for department and student organization to host Five-Star Events.

To host a Five-Star Event, the event needs to meet specific criteria.

Please see our website for a complete list of the criteria and the application:

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Allissa Witucki at x2606. Thank you!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Check Out This Video Of Ferris' Television and Digital Media Production Camp

Here is a video, posted on YouTube, of high school students sharing their experiences at Ferris State University's Television and Digital Media Production camp.

In this video, you hear opening thoughts from Ferris assistant professor Glen Okonoski, who allowed me an opportunity to visit the camp and speak with him, one of his counselors and several students.

Interviewed, along with Okonoski, are Ferris student and counselor Mariellen Krolikowski, a senior from Commerce Township; camper Evan Coulter, a high-school sophomore from Chesterfield; and Bryan Hutchison, a senior from Lake Fenton.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ferris Graduate Earns People's Choice Top Optometrist Award

Here is another example of a Ferris State University graduate doing positive things in his community thanks to a career-oriented education obtained at the Big Rapids-based University.

Optometrist Andrew Schmitzer, a 1999 graduate of Ferris now based in Grand Ledge, was named 2010 People's Choice eye doctor by Grand Ledge Independent readers. Schmitzer bought Grand Ledge Optometry three years ago and the business has experienced a growth that has the Ferris grad smiling with pride.

Here is an excerpt from the story:

Schmitzer got his undergraduate degree at Michigan State University, graduating in 1995. It was there he became familiar with the Grand Ledge area and thought it would be a good place to live.

He has since moved to town with wife, Jennifer, and children Sierra, 9, and Rylie, 5.

"We love it," he said. "It's similar to what I grew up with, a small-town atmosphere, friendly and down-to-earth. It's hard not to see a familiar face where ever you go."

His doctor of optometry degree was obtained at Ferris State University in 1999.
For the full story, visit here.

The story and photo are from Barb Modrack.