It's a Small World - Alumni Cross Paths in Paradise


“Ohana” means family in Hawaiian, and it also nicely sums up the Prohaska family’s vacation to the islands of Oahu and Maui last summer. Mark ('93), Michelle, and their daughter Brook, a Northwood sophomore, expected their trip to paradise to be full of fun family time. They never imagined they’d find ohana on a helicopter ride. Sightseeing by air was the perfect way for the Prohaskas to experience Oahu’s natural beauty. The warm welcome and professionalism at Magnum Helicopters, the tour company they chose, made their helicopter adventure fun and safe. And when they met the pilot and company president, Richard Schuman, the family’s enjoyment multiplied in a surprising way, thanks to Northwood ties.

“We quickly found out that we had a lot in common with our pilot, Richard,” said Michelle Prohaska. “When he learned that our daughter Brook is a Northwood student and Mark is an alumnus, he laughed. Both he and his wife Diane are Northwood grads. How great is it to meet Northwood family 5,000 miles from home?”

Richard Schuman ('80) gave the Prohaskas an unforgettable helicopter tour of Oahu, including seeing stunning landscapes, paying their respects to fallen heroes at Pearl Harbor, and forging an instant friendship.

A Home Far from Home A chance meeting with Richard Schuman on an island in the Pacific made a wonderful memory for the Prohaskas. For Schuman, the time he spent with the family was a heartwarming reminder of all he gained personally at Northwood.

“Northwood and Michigan were very different from where I grew up," Schuman said. "But I made great friends and met my wife there. I also learned about free enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit, which I use in my business. And I’m still making new friends through Northwood.”

Richard and Diane Schuman (Haglund) (’80), build their success on strong relationships and personal connections, a skill that Northwood’s close community nurtured.

It’s a Small (Northwood) World Northwood helps make the world a little smaller and a lot friendlier. Our alumni live and work across the globe, creating a welcoming Northwood network even in faraway places. Alumni also establish a comforting sense of family – a promise of ohana – for students.

“I was honored that day to be among two very successful Northwood alums. My heart was proud as I realized that attending Northwood is the right decision for me,” said Brook Prohaska. “My dad and Mr. Schuman showed me that working hard and going to a school I love will get me to where I need to be in my future.”

Main photo caption: Richard Schuman, Brook Prohaska, and Mark Prohaska forged a new Northwood friendship that spans the 5,000 miles between Oahu and Michigan.