Northwood Focuses Clearly on the Future


Goal: An Endowed Chair for Every Major Excellence in learning begins with excellence in teaching.

Many of us have heard this adage. According to Justin Marshall, Northwood’s vice president of Advancement and Alumni Relations, it’s definitely true for Northwood University. To stay at the forefront of business universities, Northwood must hire the best and brightest faculty, and one of the ways to accomplish this is by creating endowed faculty positions.

“Developing endowed chairs is an important strategic focus area for Northwood University,” said Marshall. “As part of our transformative journey to retain our position as a leader in business education, we are now working hard to create new endowed chairs in every department.”

Benefits of an Endowed Chair An endowed chair or professorship is a position permanently paid for with the revenue from an endowment fund specifically set up for that purpose. Generally structured so part of the investment is reserved each year, the endowment stretches the impact of that investment over a long period of time.

Considered by most universities to be the gold standard for attracting and retaining exceptional faculty, endowed positions reward academic leadership and give the chair holder the resources and freedom to pursue new levels of scholarly studies and teaching. To fill the endowed positions, the university can bring new scholars to campus or develop existing staff for the esteemed positions.

“With an endowed chair, we can offer the kind of innovative curriculum that leads to breakthroughs in classroom teaching, student outcomes, and management techniques. We can lead the market in business education,” Marshall explained.

Northwood’s Endowed Faculty Positions Northwood began developing this strategic investment opportunity with the establishment of its first endowed chair in 1992, the Maj. Gen. William C. Lewis, Jr. Professor of Business Administration. Today, Northwood has five faculty endowments:

  • David E. Fry Endowed Professorship in Free Market Economics
  • Maj. Gen. William C. Lewis, Jr. Professor of Business Administration
  • McIntyre Endowment in Aftermarket Management
  • Alan W. Ott Endowed Chair in Finance and Banking
  • Jim Riehl Automotive Marketing Professorship

In addition to enhancing teaching and learning, endowed chairs provide a chance for the university to honor an industry or deepen its relationships with donors and the larger community.

An example is Northwood’s newest endowed chair established this fall, the Alan W. Ott Endowed Chair in Finance and Banking. Named for respected banker, mentor, and Midland community leader Alan Ott, the chair honors the banking and finance industries by supporting relevant education. At the same time, it is a way for like-minded advocates of Ott and the university to help fund the chair position through donations.

Through the endowed chair, Ott’s legacy will live on at Northwood University. Students will continue to benefit from the values he holds and learn the importance of using their personal and professional lives to make a difference in the community. And, the faculty member holding the endowed chair will be a model for future generations to advance the lessons of Ott’s successful career and life.

Marshall added, “We are tremendously grateful to Mr. Ott and all of the donors who believe in Northwood University and understand the importance of our professors to student success. Their unwavering generosity year after year inspires us to stay focused on our mission to develop the future leaders of a global free-enterprise society.”



Universally acclaimed as an exemplary banker, advocate for leaders in the Great Lakes Bay Region, mentor to his professional colleagues, and inspiration to countless entrepreneurs in the region, Alan Ott’s influence has touched every aspect of business in Midland, Michigan, and beyond.

Ott’s greatest legacy is as a champion of the importance of community involvement in fostering economic development. He shows his love of the Midland community with a deep commitment to making it a better place to live and work. Ott and his wife, Jean, were recently honored with Northwood’s 2016 Robert E. and Patricia L. Naegele Distinguished Community Service Award.

Ott’s philosophy and lifetime of dedication to the banking industry and the Midland community exemplify the Northwood Idea and demonstrate that with commitment and teamwork, we all can make a difference in the world around us.


  • FOR THE UNIVERSITY – recruit and retain the highest-quality faculty, build a base of leadership that enriches the academic environment, attract the brightest students
  • FOR FACULTY – recognize contributions of exceptional faculty, providing resources and freedom for high-level faculty development, create opportunities for collaboration with scholars and organizations around the world
  • FOR STUDENTS – work with scholarly faculty on real world innovations and discoveries
  • FOR BUSINESSES AND ORGANIZATIONS – give back to institutions that supply creative talent, connect organizations with faculty and students who can inspire innovation in a competitive environment
  • FOR PRIVATE DONORS – convene the brightest minds to focus on particular industries or issues, encourage advances in specific area

Interested in contributing to an endowed chair? Contact Justin Marshall, vice president of Advancement and Alumni Relations, 989-837-4279 or