The Northwood University International Auto Show Cruises Through The Golden Anniversary


We did it. We, the student body of Northwood University, executed the greatest auto show of its kind. The 50th Anniversary came with a set of high expectations—expectations that were exceeded in every way. “There is only one 50th Anniversary, and we were lucky enough to get it. I couldn’t be more proud of the success and grateful for all of those that put in the time to create this show,” remarked General Chair Adam LaFurgey. We wanted to grow.

Through the use of heightened promotional efforts, more people than ever were exposed to the Northwood University International Auto Show. Social media following increased by 26% six weeks prior to the show with over 28,000 people exposed to posts throughout the weekend. New forms of advertisement helped spread awareness to a greater range of individuals, beyond the Great Lakes Bay Regions. These actions warranted the record breaking attendance of over 60,000 guests.

We wanted to provide opportunities. In an effort to create an increased value for students, the show joined with the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA)—an automotive aftermarket company celebrating its 50th anniversary—to provide both a student panel and professional seminar. An all-star VIP Panel shared their knowledge and expertise with students, faculty, and members of the community, opening their eyes to the latest industry trends and giving insight into what to expect in the future. The keynote address by CEO of Toyota North America, Jim Lentz, opened up a thirty minute question and answer period that allowed students to ask the tough questions without fear of judgment.

We wanted to improve the quality. 

In addition to SEMA, Bentley/Rolls Royce was once again added to the show, increasing allure with its higher end vehicles. The overall scope and inventory provided in all divisions grew, giving guests an even better experience with more to see and compare. Fundraising efforts increased, giving us more financial freedom to create a better, more memorable show. Also, while this was completely out of our control, the weather was absolutely fantastic.

We wanted to push ourselves. 

Every last student that participated in the show worked incredibly hard, working in their individual area to reach their highest level of professionalism and excellence. The executive board worked late nights and countless hours for eleven months, ensuring a smoothly run show. Hospitality students once again provided an incredible spread for guests, achieving record sales. Captains, co-captains, and team members carefully put together their displays based on the theme—and definitely delivered. This was especially true for Cadillac, Mercedes Benz, Kenworth, Toyota, American Expedition Vehicles, and John Deere—all taking home awards for best displays in their respective divisions.

We wanted to make this event unforgettable. 

The iconic Golden Anniversary has come and gone, but its legacy will remain forever. Shows to come will continue to grow and evolve because of the strides made during this milestone year. People will be talking about the 50th anniversary and its achievements for years to come. A precedent has been set. However, because we are students of Northwood University, it is a precedent that we will continue to push and heighten to better the show and ourselves. Here’s to the fifty years before us and here’s to the fifty years that will follow us. Here’s to Cruising Through The Golden Anniversary.

- Kristin Hammond