Thursday, January 6, 2011

Former Ferris SID Pendell To Retire From Post With Detroit Lions

Tim Pendell

Former Ferris State University Sports Information Director Tim Pendell has announced that he will retire from his post as senior director for community affairs with the Detroit Lions.

Pendell, who served as SID at Ferris from 1976 to 1983, recently had a health scare with a heart attack, but came through it. His recovery from that scare is the most important thing.

Here is an excerpt from a blog that appeared in the Detroit Free Press:

Tim Pendell, the Detroit Lions’ senior director of community affairs, announced that he will retire Feb. 1 after 26 years with the organization.

Pendell, 62, suffered a massive heart attack in September. The scary incident was profiled in a December story by Free Press sports writer Jo-Ann Barnas.

“It has been a difficult decision but with my heart ‘adventure’ in September it seems that the time is right for me to step down,” Pendell wrote in an e-mail. “I am feeling well — getting better each day — and am very thankful for it. But, it is time.

“I will remain involved with the Lions so, while stepping back, I am not totally stepping away.”
Pendell is a class act, who has always had time for Ferris State University even in the years since he left Big Rapids.

We wish Tim well in a restful retirement.

For the full blog entry, visit here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In This Episode Of Expect Diversity, The Holiday Season Is Addressed

Expect Diversity (Holiday) from FerrisState TV on Vimeo.

In this episode of Expect Diversity, show host David Pilgrim sits down with Scott Cohen, director of Instrumental Concert Ensembles; Michael Wade, assistant director of the Office of Multicultural Student Services; and Jonna Toivanen, an international student from Finland, to discuss some of the different religious traditions around the globe.

To commemorate the holiday season, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas are all topics of discussion on this episode of Expect Diversity.

Hopefully everyone had a happy holiday season.

Faces of Ferris: Dr. James Hoerter

Leonardo da Vinci once said, "Learning never exhausts the mind."

For more than three decades, learning, teaching and research have been passions for James Hoerter, a professor of Biology at Ferris State University.

In the last year, Hoerter's passion has been strengthened. A Fulbright Fellowship trip to Ireland sparked a zebrafish fascination that led to a three-year grant from the National Institute of Health to explore the cause of melanoma for Hoerter. The Ireland visit strengthened his interest in this deadly form of human skin cancer. Melanoma is "a form of cancer that begins in melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin). It may begin in a mole (skin melanoma), but can also begin in other pigmented tissues, such as in the eye or in the intestines," according to the National Cancer Institute. NCI further states that an estimated 68,130 new cases were discovered in 2010 along with 8,700 deaths.

Melanoma statistics are all too real and all too deadly. That reality, in part, encouraged Hoerter's passion to learn more about the cause of melanoma.

"While in Ireland on a Fulbright Fellowship, I became fascinated with using zebrafish to study the role of stem cells in the development of melanoma," Hoerter said as he discussed his three-year grant from the National Institute of Health. "The genes controlling stem cells in the skin are almost identical to humans. I knew this was the perfect way to determine how adult stem cells are damaged by the harmful rays of the sun. When I got back to Ferris, I immediately started to lay the groundwork for this project; I knew that it was one of the best research ideas I'd had in years."

For the complete Faces of Ferris entry on Dr. Hoerter, click here.

Alumni Success Stories: Teresa Szymanski

Teresa Szymanski

Chief Teresa Szymanski Leads the Lansing Police Department

When Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero tapped Teresa Szymanski to be the city's chief of police, she became the first woman to lead Lansing's finest – but not the first Ferris graduate. This past March 13 she took over from Mark E. Alley (EHS'85), who left to become senior director of Risk Management and Public Affairs at Emergent BioSolutions.

"It started when I was little. My parents used to have some friends who came over to the house during deer hunting season," said Szymanski, whose office has a postcard-quality view of the state capitol. "They were undercover Detroit cops who had beards and long hair. I loved to listen to their stories." For someone growing up in the small northern-Michigan town of Ossineke that early shop talk proved formative.

Szymanski followed her older brother, Duane, to Ferris, then began her career as an officer in the small town of Douglas, Wyoming after graduating in 1984. "I was the only female officer in the whole county, but the guys – and they were guys – were very supportive." Szymanski said that experience taught her the importance of listening as a key policing skill.

After three years in Wyoming, Szymanski was ready for some new challenges and ready, too, to get back to her home state. After a call to a fellow Ferris grad who worked for the Lansing Police Department, Szymanski decided to apply to be a part of the Capital City's force and started with the department on June 15, 1987.

Over the next several years Szymanski was promoted to sergeant, worked patrol, transferred to internal affairs, promoted to lieutenant, ran a special operations drug team, promoted to captain and ultimately appointed chief.

"I've had a magnificent career," she said. "I started in uniform patrol, then my first special assignment was with Tri-County Metro Narcotics working undercover with state, local departments and federal departments."

Szymanski said one of her most rewarding positions with the LPD was being a community policing officer, although at first she resisted the job. "I didn't want to be a CPO and plant flowers and take kids to Cedar Point. In hindsight, it couldn't have been a better job for me. It goes back to talking to people and getting them engaged."

Almost lost in Szymanski's story of hard work, commitment and dedication is the fact that she is a woman in a field where leadership is still predominately male. The distinction isn't lost on those she serves, though. "I had some lady stop the car, get out, and ask if I wasn't the new chief. I said I was. She gave me a big hug and said it was great having a female chief of police."

With initiatives ranging from consolidating divisions to improving relations with the gay and lesbian community by assigning the city's first-ever liaison, Szymanski has already made a mark on the LPD and the city she serves.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Officials Salute Significant Rise in Graduation Rates

Ferris State University president David Eisler congratulates a graduate during a ceremony in Big Rapids. (FSU Photographic Services)

A recent study released by The Chronicle of Higher Education showed that Ferris State University graduation rates, during a six-year period from 2003 to 2008, experienced a nine-point rise in percentage points – the 15th-best improvement in the nation.

The graduation rates, according to a study released Dec. 5, are calculated as the percentage of all first-time, full-time students entering in the fall semester pursuing bachelor’s degrees who completed their bachelor’s degrees within the six-year period. As part of the study, The Chronicle compared graduation rates at four-year institutions for a six-year period that ended in 2008 with the rates at the end of 2003. In 2002, Ferris’ graduation rate was listed at 28 percent. During the six-year period, Ferris’ rates were 34 percent in 2003, 35 in 2004, 34 in 2005, 32 in 2006, 37 in 2007 and 43 in 2008. That change from 2003 to 2008 is illustrated by a nine-point rise.

Ferris President David Eisler sees the results of the study as indicative of students capitalizing on statewide academic opportunities the university offers students.

For the full version of this story, visit the News Services website:

Dr, Marc Lamont Hill To Deliver Keynote Address As Part Of 2011 MLK Celebration

Leadership will be a major part of the message of Dr. Marc Lamont Hill as he visits Ferris State University as part of the 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

Hill will deliver an address entitled “Building Community In An Hour of Chaos: Progress In the Age of Obama” as he speaks to students, faculty, staff and community members in the Dome Room of the Rankin Student Center at 7 p.m. on Tuesday Jan. 18. This event is free and open to the public. Frequently featured in Essence, Washington Post, The New York Times, National Public Radio, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, Hill is a nationally-known commentator on issues related to culture and politics.

“Dr. Hill will highlight leadership in the era of Dr. King and also discuss how leadership is needed right now for our country to get to the next level,” said Michael Wade, assistant director of Ferris’ Office of Multicultural Student Services and co-chair of the MLK Celebration Planning Committee.

For the complete story, visit the News Services website: