Greatness Defined


Northwood recognizes the enormous contributions made by men and women to businesses, communities, nonprofit organizations, and public and private sector services. By acquainting our students with the lives and achievements of these present-day leaders, we provide an indispensable part of the education of America’s next generation of business leaders. 37th Annual Outstanding Business Leader Award “Northwood University has been honoring business leaders for their contributions to our nation and to the world for 37 years,” says Keith Pretty, Northwood University President and CEO.

“By recognizing business leaders for their accomplishments in business, in their communities, and in their personal lives, Northwood encourages business excellence and inspires others, including our own students, to strive for success.

2017 Outstanding Business Leaders were honored at the March 4 dinner for their contributions to education, community involvement, personal and professional success, and dedication to Northwood’s philosophy. Proceeds from the event provide assistance to Northwood students with financial need and academic merit through the Outstanding Business Leaders Endowed Scholarship Fund.


  • Hank Graff, President, Graff Automotive Group
  • Mary Ann Van Lokeren, former Chairman & CEO, Krey Distributing Company
  • Bernie Marcus, Co-Founder, The Home Depot and Job Creators Network
  • Thomas J. Moran, CEO & Founder, Moran Iron Works and Industrial Arts Institute
  • Lon Morey, Former Owner & Chairman, Morbark Industries
  • Lt. Col. (Ret.) Allen B. West, Executive Director and Vice Chair of the Board of the National Center for Policy Analysis, and former Congressman, Florida’s 22nd Congressional District
  • Carol A. Williams, former Executive Vice President, Manufacturing & Engineering, The Dow Chemical Company


47th Annual Distinguished Women Award Gala

Northwood celebrated the outstanding accomplishments of seven women at the 2016 Distinguished Women event on Nov. 5. Honorees represent the values Northwood espouses to its students: commitment to free enterprise, partnership of arts and business, and management in a global society.


  • Celeste D. Briggs, Director, GM Women’s Retail Network, presented by Kaitlyn Cole, Saginaw, MI
  • Audrey Peterson Kline, ’76, Owner, Audrey’s Classic Designs, presented by Alix Gardner, Goodrich, MI
  • Maureen L. LaFontaine, Owner, LaFontaine Automotive Group, presented by Faith Hommes, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Terri L. Mulcahey, ’86, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Business Development, Penske Automotive Group, presented by Norma Benavides, Laredo, TX
  • Judith Schumacher-Tilton, President, Schumacher Chevrolet Auto Group, presented by Taylor Darby, Howell, MI
  • Patricia Anne Shaheen, philanthropist, presented by Emilee Davey, Saginaw Township, MI
  • Deborah Haines Stephens, President, Dow Chemical Canada, presented by Stephen Cecchini, Bay City, MI

“The creation of our Signature Events Team (SET) has allowed students at Northwood University to be actively involved and present at our signature events and ceremonies. The experiential learning opportunities that these students take part in range from onsite event execution to networking, meeting prep, and exposure to our honorees and friends of the University,” said Ashleigh Summers, Director of Signature Programs & Special Gifts.