In Memoriam - Macauley 'Mac' Whiting, Longtime Friend


Macauley ‘Mac’ Whiting was proud to support Northwood University from the very beginning and throughout the university’s development. He passed away in September and is gratefully remembered for helping pave the way for Northwood’s growth and prominence as a premier business university. Mac moved to Midland in the 1940s after graduating from Yale University and marrying Helen Dow, granddaughter of Herbert Henry Dow. He worked for Dow Chemical for 31 years, where he held several positions including general manager of the Michigan Division and president of Dow International. He also served as a member of its board of directors. He spentmuch of his time involved with local civic and charitable organizations. In addition, he was co-founder of the Macauley and Helen Dow Whiting Foundation.

Mac became involved in Northwood soon after its founding in 1959 and felt a deep connection to the school. His interest was more than academic as he became an unfailing friend and supporter. He valued Northwood’s approach to business education and the focus on the entrepreneurial spirit. And he believed in the success of founders, Dr. Arthur E. Turner and Dr. R. Gary Stauffer, along with their “Northwood Idea.”

“Mac and Helen were wonderful supporters of the school. But it was their friendship that really meant so much to us. They were family,” recalled Willa Stauffer, wife of NU co-founder Gary Stauffer. “Mac had a great sense of humor and a kind manner that made our time together a lot of fun as we worked to help Northwood grow.”

With his wife, Mac donated much of his time and resources to Northwood. The Whitings gifted a historically important property to the school in 1966 that became part of Northwood’s Indiana campus. Mac was a vibrant member of the board of trustees for 40 years. He also served on the board for the Margaret Chase Smith Library that Northwood operated in Skowhegan, Maine.

Northwood truly appreciates the impact Mac made to Northwood and treasures his many contributions. Whiting Drive was named in recognition of Mac and Helen’s generosity and dedication to Northwood for more than 50 years.

“Mac did a lot for Northwood quietly. He didn’t need attention, he just cared about the school and all of the people involved. He was an effective leader who helped Gary and Arthur make their new idea for business education a reality. Mac was an inspiration for all of us,” Stauffer said.

Mac’s quiet intelligence, thoughtfulness, and experience significantly benefited Northwood and our students. His positive energy and gentlemanly guidance will be greatly missed.

Ignite Your Engines - 54th Auto Show Revs Up Midland


Header caption: Chuck Elledge, a senior from Coal City, Illinois, served as general chair of the auto show. Allison Brown didn’t mind making a monkey of herself to call attention to the Jaguar and Land Rover automobiles she was tasked with promoting.

“Any opportunity to dress up and be crazy, I love it,” said the senior from Battle Creek, Mich., wearing a monkey costume as she prowled the walkway of this fall’s Northwood International Auto Show. Music from the “Tarzan” movie soundtrack played in the background, faux foliage sprouted up around the vehicles, and a hidden special effects machine sprayed out a cloud of primordial mist.

Now in its 54th year, the Northwood University International Auto Show (NUIAS) continues to be a signature event for the university and the Midland community. This year more than 65 manufacturers and 500 vehicles were on display the weekend of Oct. 6, 2017.

With the theme “Ignite,” the 2017 show attracted more than 60,000 visitors. An entirely student-run event, the teams manage everything from planning to logistics to booth design to visitor interaction.

This year’s general chair was Chuck Elledge, a senior from Coal City, Ill., studying automotive marketing and management.

“I got the awesome privilege of overseeing the operation of the auto show,” Elledge said. “You have to think of everything, and then you have to deal with anything. And it’s never the things you think that will go wrong that go wrong.”

Nick Dubs was captain of the BMW team. He and the other 14 team members went with a dignified look for their display. Students wore suits as they greeted visitors, and Sinatra songs played in the background. The main attraction was a high-tech BMW i8 hybrid, on loan from a dealer in Iowa.

“This is perfect training for the real world,” said Dubs, a sophomore from from Owendale, Mich., studying automotive marketing and management. “It’s like being a manager of a dealership. We’re not allowed to sell a vehicle, but if people are interested we can give them a dealer’s information.”

Two-thirds of this year’s Northwood students took part in the auto show in one way or another, Elledge said, further proof that the impact of the auto show extends far beyond the event itself or the thousands of people it touches.


Auto Show, China Style


Header caption: About 70 vehicles are displayed around the athletic field on the campus of Jilin University – Lambton College in Changchun, China, for the 2017 auto show.

What happens when you take one of the most successful outdoor auto shows in North America and replicate it on another continent? A second, wildly successful event in China that mimics all the best of the Northwood University International Auto Show (NUIAS).

Northwood University International Program Center at Jilin University – Lambton College (JLU) recently hosted its eighth Changchun Auto Show Sept., 25, 2017, at the campus athletic field.

“It’s smaller in scale than the auto show in Midland, but the sprit is the same,” said Mamiko Reeves, Northwood assistant vice president and dean of International Programs. “It is run by students. Students contact the dealers, work on the displays, and work with faculty members who are there to support them.”

The show, which featured about 70 vehicles, was in keeping with the character of the JLU program, kicking off with a performance of Chinese drumming. It also included a fashion show, as well as a talent show that served as a welcome event for the year’s incoming class of new students.

“The students’ hope is to make the auto show bigger and more well known, and get even more support and collaboration from the auto industry,” Reeves said. “Northwood students in JLU are hired very quickly by the industry. The auto show is a great way for them to demonstrate their learning.

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.

Gala Breaks Record for Scholarship Donations


Header caption: Mother and daughter Lindsey and Tammy Horner, both Northwood graduates, spend time together at the Gala.

For the seventh consecutive year, the Northwood University International Auto Show (NUIAS) has had a classy kickoff to Auto Show weekend in the signature event, the Auto Show Gala.

The 2017 Gala was the most successful to date, raising more than $111,000 for two scholarship endowments – the Town & Campus and the Alumni Legacy Student scholarships – while providing a festive night to more than 200 friends of Northwood.

“It is a big family reunion,” said Jennifer Williams ('83), Gala co-chair. “People love it. They love the whole atmosphere. The food. The drinks. The band. The dancing. Most importantly, the fellowship shared and coming together to support our students.”

CDK Global was the presenting sponsor for the Gala, leading the way to breaking the record for donations. CDK Global provides auto dealer software as well as solutions for truck, motorcycle, marine, and RV dealers throughout North America and beyond.

Jennifer ('83) and Graham Williams, parents of 2016 Northwood graduate Griffin Williams, chaired the event.

“We are grateful for the support of our donors, friends, and our dedicated committee that was led by Jennifer and Graham Williams,” Summers said, pointing out that work has already begun on the next Gala.

"There’s no better way to look back and pay it forward than attending Auto Show Gala," added Williams. "This event enables you to “bond” with fellow alumni and faculty and most importantly, raises monies to enable student scholarships for the next generation to attend Northwood. Great food, great music, a great time. Don’t miss 2018!”

In Memoriam - Helen Devos Philanthropy and Faith


Helen DeVos believed that both giving and serving were essential to a well-lived life. Her caring focus upheld her deeply held values of family, community, and education. Through her support, Helen shared her love for music and the arts, as well her devotion to relieving hunger, improving healthcare, and strengthening education. Helen passed away on Oct. 18, leaving behind an unparalleled legacy of philanthropy and faith. Helen's son, Dick DeVos said," My family and I mourn the loss of my mother, Helen DeVos. We also celebrate her incredible life. She was amazing. As a mother, wife, grandmother, great-grandmother, teacher, and philanthropist, she always cared and helped develop the best in others."

Helen and her husband, Amway co-founder Richard M. DeVos, made a commitment to giving early in their marriage. As they worked hard to raise a family and build an international business together, Helen and Rich never wavered in their desire to reach out and give back. Over the years, the DeVos family has given away $1.2 billion, mainly through the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation. A multitude of community organizations – including hospitals, symphonies, universities, K-12 schools, and churches – publicly recognized her philanthropic efforts. However, Helen found a simple and selfless joy in seeing the difference that sharing her time, talent, and support could make in improving the lives of others. In 1993, Northwood was honored to present Helen with our Distinguished Women Award.

The difference that Helen and Rich made to Northwood is immeasurable. Their belief in the engaged and values-driven education that is fundamental to our vision was instrumental in Northwood Institute becoming a well-respected university with an outstanding graduate school that carries their name, the DeVos Graduate School. Helen and Rich last visited campus in May of 2016 for the dedication of the new state-of-the-art, modern Richard DeVos Graduate School of Management building.

Helen and Rich shared their personal values and dedication to Northwood University with family, too. Their sons, Dick and Dan, and granddaughter Cassie, all graduated from Northwood, where they have continued the family’s legacy of philanthropy through generous contributions to the University. The Northwood community celebrates Helen’s life of leadership, service, and generosity. She exemplified the positive impact heartfelt giving can make every day.

“The loss of our mother has been difficult for the entire family, but her legacy will live on. She was always focused on her faith, family, and community,” said her son Dan DeVos. “Being a former teacher, she was also committed to education at every level. She was a strong believer in the Northwood Idea and how Northwood graduates would make a positive impact throughout the world. We will always miss you, Mom.”

How an Urban Idea Can Grow


Northwood Alum Shares Urban Forestry Story during Values Emphasis Week

John Hantz lives in Detroit, runs a Detroit-area business, and deeply cares about the city and its people.

So he was concerned about the large number of abandoned homes stubbornly dotting the city’s neighborhoods, even as downtown and other high profile areas enjoy a renaissance. His solution: invest millions of his own dollars to buy abandoned properties from the city, clear the land and grow hardwood trees for a profit.

It worked.

After overcoming stiff resistance by a few neighbors and community activists, his Hantz Farms Detroit organization has transformed more than 2,000 formerly abandoned lots in an area on the city’s East Side, demolishing 54 vacant structures and planting more than 15,000 trees. Residents in the area have delighted in the improvements they’ve seen in their neighborhood, and the Detroit Free Press reported that the median home price in the area went from $15,500 before the project to $74,750 after.

Hantz was on Northwood’s campus during this spring’s Values Emphasis Week for a screening of the documentary movie “Land Grab,” which tells the Hantz Farms story. After the screening, he and Sean O’Grady, the film’s producer, took part in a discussion about the project and how it relates to Northwood’s values.

“What I hope happens here is that we say, ‘… A person took a risk, and that risk led to the betterment of a lot of people who lived in that square mile,’ ” Hantz says in the documentary. “This is making a difference. And it is creating hope.”

Hantz and his story were just one of several compelling programs during Values Emphasis Week, which offers a formal, yearly opportunity for Northwood students, faculty, and staff to reflect on moral and ethical values relating to their personal lives, involvement in the community, and their work in the world of business.

Values Emphasis Week originated in 1979 and is rooted in the university’s code of ethics, which provides a roadmap for students, staff, and faculty to advance their shared values. The Northwood code of ethics includes: freedom, respect, empathy, spirituality, honesty, achievement, integrity, and responsibility.

Rich Agenda

Other programs during this year’s Values Emphasis Week included:

  • Star Parker, founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a public policy think tank that promotes market-based solutions to fight poverty.

  • Ayn Rand Institute fellow Don Watkins, co-author ofNorthwood’s spring term Omniquest selection Equal is Unfair.
  • Northwood Founder’s Day, with the annual Outstanding Alumni Awards ceremony, featuring keynote speaker Brian Calley, Michigan’s lieutenant governor.


Nairobi to Northwood


Chris Songe was doing just fine. After growing up in Nairobi, Kenya, he earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Nairobi and landed a series of sales jobs in auto dealerships, selling and servicing well known international brands such as BMW, Volvo, and Renault KIA. It was the late 1990s.

But Chris is not the kind of person to settle for fine.

"I was looking at the big picture," he remembers.

How big? As big as the world, it turned out.

At a career fair in Nairobi, he struck up a conversation with someone who told him about Northwood’s world-class automotive marketing program.

"I had been thinking of going back to school. I wanted to have a successful career, and to find a job in the OEM space within developing markets," Chris said. "And I was very excited about the fact that Northwood was one of the few universities that had an automotive marketing program. I'm a car guy."

Still, Midland is a long way from Nairobi.

"I was really torn about leaving my family to come to Northwood," Chris recalled. "But it was an opportunity I didn't want to pass up."

So he headed off to the United States, not sure exactly what to expect.

"I remember two things very clearly. I was very intimidated when I got to the airport in Chicago. I was afraid I would miss my flight to Midland," he said. "The only other thing I was worried about was that I had never used a vending machine."

Fitting in at Northwood proved to be less scary than the concourse at O'Hare.

"The university did a fantastic job helping me get settled in," Chris said. "And one good thing was that there were a lot of other international students. From Holland. From Canada. I was the only student from Africa in the automotive program, but I didn't feel like I was the only guy who was away from home."

Northwood's openness to international students is a benefit to everyone, said Mamiko Reeves, Northwood assistant vice president and dean of International Programs.

"When students come here from around the world, they bring fresh ideas, unique perspectives and valuable insight," Reeves said. "It all adds to the character of the university, which is a big part of what makes Northwood special, and helps advance our mission of developing global leaders."

In 1999, Chris earned his Northwood bachelor's degree in Automotive Marketing and was quickly snatched up by CDK Global, which provides integrated technology solutions to more than 27,000 auto, truck, motorcycle, marine, RV, and heavy equipment dealers throughout the world. He started as a business solution consultant, helping clients' employees learn to use the company's system, and has advanced to his current role as an implementation manager, overseeing implementation for hundreds of clients per year. Chris and his wife, Tracy, live with their two sons, George and Ian, outside Minneapolis.

"I'd like to give thanks to Northwood," Chris said. "I wish I had come here from the beginning."


Celebrating Family Loyalty with the Northwood Alumni Legacy Endowed Scholarship


A Northwood degree comes with an added bonus that many alumni may not know about: a scholarship designed especially for their eligible NU legacy-student children. The Alumni Legacy Endowed Scholarship was created in 2010 to recognize academic achievement and leadership potential in the children of our alumni who choose Northwood University.

Northwood is fortunate to have alumni who have passed on their enthusiasm for their alma mater and “The Northwood Idea” to their children. We celebrate this special relationship by offering financial support to kids whose love of Northwood was ignited by their parents.

“We are proud that our alumni share their love of the university and their belief in the value of a Northwood education with their children,” said Carmen Mittler, Northwood’s director of Annual Giving. “Through the Alumni Legacy Endowed Scholarship, we honor the loyalty of multigenerational Northwood families by investing in their students’ potential during their NU careers.”

A Parent Alumnus

Craig Smith, ’81, is an entrepreneur and dealer operator of Craig Smith Auto Group and Craig Smith RV Center in Ohio. The years he spent at Northwood prepared him for his successful career and also shaped his belief in the importance of a free enterprise system. His son Brent started at Northwood a year into the ’08 economic downturn, which hit the auto industry especially hard. The Alumni Legacy scholarship that Brent received lightened the family’s financial burden during an incredibly challenging time. Now Craig and his wife, Ginger, are happy to give back to help other students attend Northwood.

“Every day of my life I use something I learned in college, from accounting to writing. So I was very happy when Brent chose Northwood. Now that he’s graduated, I can say that he gained knowledge and skills, especially how to think critically and to do so with empathy, that will contribute to his future success. Northwood has made a big difference in both of our lives. And I’m equally excited that our younger son, Alex, is starting at NU this fall,” said Craig.

A Recipient (and Alumnus!)

Brent Smith, ’13, general manager of Craig Smith RV Center, had his heart set on Northwood from the time he was in middle school. His choice may have seemed like a “natural,” given that his dad is an alumnus. However, it was also an excellent choice for his career. Brent’s Northwood education helped him learn about the multifaceted automotive business. And the connections he made at school have helped him build his industry knowledge and support base as he builds his future.

“I was thrilled that I could follow in my dad’s Northwood footsteps. He has always been a mentor and role model for me. When I started at the school, I found a new source of support: For the first time, I was around other kids who were as passionate about the automotive industry as I was. I wish more kids could attend the university, because it offers such a focused and relevant business education. The scholarship definitely helped me, and I’m glad it’s available for other kids of alumni.”

Quick Facts about the Northwood Alumni Legacy Endowed Scholarship

  • Available to eligible dependents of degreed alumni
  • Funded by private donations and events such as the Annual Northwood Scholarship Golf Outing and Northwood Auto Show Gala
  • Awarded to students based on demonstrated financial need and academic merit

For more information or to donate to the Northwood Alumni Legacy Endowed Scholarship, please contact Sherri Riepma, Private Donor Scholarship coordinator, 989-837-4146 or

Gallery Returns to its Downtown Anchor Location


For roughly four decades, The Northwood University Gallery has provided Midland with a place to experience the expressive works of talented artists. The Gallery is a retail operation specializing in decorative art, jewelry, home accessories, and gifts. It serves as an extension into the community of the Northwood Idea, especially the belief that an understanding and appreciation of the arts and humanities is a primary source of human enrichment in the lives of productive human beings.

Meanwhile, downtown Midland continues to grow and thrive, with new businesses, activities, and energy. A key part of that momentum is the renovation of the H Residence hotel, which played a role in the location of Northwood Gallery.

The Gallery has actually had several homes through the years. Opened in 1978, the Gallery was part of the Town & Campus project, a women’s organization in Midland that connects the community to Northwood. In 2000, the Gallery relocated to its own space donated by the Midland Area Community Foundation, at the corner of Ashman and Main streets. In 2014, it moved yet again, making way for the H Residence renovation. In April of 2017, the Gallery returned to its Ashman and Main location, within the renovated H Residence.

The new location features bright colors and geometric shapes that pay tribute to renowned Midland architect Alden B. Dow.

“The main goal of moving the Northwood Gallery to Ashman and Main in 2000 was to beautify downtown and encourage all other businesses to refurbish their facades,” said Dr. Mia Dvornic, the Gallery’s director and curator. “Moving the Gallery back to its original location continues our efforts to bring the community together through art and business.”

Now on display at the Gallery is the exhibit “III Voices: The Art of Photography,” which features the work of local artists Preston Jones, Stephen K. Grewe, and Armin Mersmann. The exhibit is open to the public six days a week.



When Brittney Lewis got a dream job offer from Apple Inc., she got ready to say goodbye to her home state. Then Bluewater Technologies came along with something even better than California dreaming. The 245-employee (and growing) company creates event and trade show displays and moving live event and technology experiences for strong brands including General Motors Co., Samsung, Key Bank, Quicken Loans and many more heavy hitters across an array of industries. “This is so collaborative, so organized, so raw. I could not wait to dig my hands into it to help,” says Lewis, 31. “It’s a place where I felt I could make a big impact. I could help improve people’s day- to- day lives, help ideas flourish, and deliver the clients’ vision.”

Four years later, Lewis isn’t the only one making an impact at Bluewater in Southfield, Michigan. She has helped recruit and hire 10 more employees with Northwood ties, including a pair of current interns.

“It’s kind of become a joke: ‘Oh, there’s another Northwood alum working here. Aren’t there other universities out there?’” laughed Lewis, who is director of the Project Management Office.

Lewis has brought on four women who, like her, were members of the Alphi Chi Omega sorority.

“A lot of people who went to Northwood are referred to here as rock stars,” she said. “There’s a difference. There’s a differentiating characteristic with an NU alum. It’s a mixture of gumption, tenacity, and vigor all rolled into one that makes an amazing employee. They all bring something amazing to the table that is paramount to the success we are having as a company right now. And the exciting thing is we just started pushing the accelerator. We have big goals and the right people along for the ride.”

It’s the kind of work Lewis honed as events chair for the Northwood University International Auto Show and as vice president of communications and membership for Alpha Chi Omega. She has a 2008 bachelor’s degree from Northwood in marketing, advertising and management and a 2013 master’s degree from Walsh College in Troy, Michigan.

“Whenever I see people interview here, they say the people here are so cool, it feels like family,” Lewis said.

“Once you start working at Bluewater, you hear things like, ‘This is so different. I can’t believe you guys thought of that. Wow, that was a ride. How did you pull that off?’ Most of our projects are not daisies and butterflies. They’re a challenge. We’re trailblazing. If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and dig in and take a crack at something new, this is exactly where you need to be.”

Having interviewed numerous hires over the years, Lewis said the Northwood students stand out in the best way.

“When Northwood students interview, it is obvious they are a caliber above the rest, from the way they carry themselves to the manner in which they answer and ask questions,” Lewis said. “They’re polished, and they’re practiced. There are no fillers. It’s succinct.”

Northwood’s classrooms — where students interview in front of the class and accept critiques, ask insightful questions and review realworld scenarios with professors — help prepare students for job interviews.

“The presentations and projects seem so stressful in the moment, but the experience and the feedback you gain carries you miles further than other candidates for the job,” Lewis said.

“I chose to stay here in Michigan,” says Lewis. “The opportunities to make a positive impact are endless. I love the challenge and opportunity to help our area because of the powerhouse it once was and more. Bluewater is the place enabling me to do that. I never have the same day here, ever. There is always something different going on. It’s an incubator for creativity and improvement. You have people who listen to you, agree to take on your ideas, help them, and make them become a reality.”

Header photo caption:  Northwood President and CEO Keith A. Pretty (center) presented Bluewater Technologies with the university's Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. Pictured from left to right are Nicole Gabridge, Victor George IV, Andrew Hanagan, Hannah Hayes, Melissa Phillips, Brittney Lewis, and Andrea Hlavaty.


The 2017 Northwood Style Show - Fashion & History Meet on the Runway


“The style show is about the event planning necessary in the fashion business. What the audience sees is just a small part of the work that students put into career-focused activities such as planning, budgeting, negotiating, managing, and marketing. Students learn so much through this experience before they go out into the workplace.” – Dr. Patricia Timm, Academic Dean-Michigan Campus

“Our student designers produced amazing collections for the show. Since Northwood doesn’t have a design program, it’s always a wonderful surprise for the audience to see the students’ creativity and skill. Students who worked on the show – from Fashion Marketing and Management majors to those in accounting and automotive – stretched their comfort zones. We grew as individuals and as a team.” – Emily Williams, sophomore and Style Show design chair

“The students who work on the style show are passionate about the industry. Whether they put their design skills out on the runway or use their talents behind the scenes, students discover that fashion can fuel an amazing variety of dreams. Support from our Northwood alumni – as audience members, donors, mentors, and partners – helps ensure the style show is a valuable and sustainable experiential learning effort.” – Dr. Patricia Timm, Academic Dean-Michigan Campus



The Confidence to Compete


DECA and BPA Club Members Live and Learn Professionalism

Two clubs, two trips to compete on the world’s stage, and more than 26 national awards. Northwood University’s Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) and Business Professionals of America (BPA) made their mark in national competition this past spring. All 13 of NU’s DECA team members placed at the California competition, with four finishing as Top 10 Finalists. At BPA nationals in Orlando, 13 Northwood students drew honors.

The clubs have rich history on campus with an active DECA club since 1984 and BPA since 1998. Combined, that’s five decades of facilitating student growth and giving participants an edge in the job market.

One of the ways that Northwood students learn by doing, the experience of high-level competition has left a mark on the students who competed, as well.

Joseph P. Walsh, 20, came to Northwood after his high-school DECA experience won him dedicated scholarships.

“What you put in is what you get out of it. Nationals really showed me that,” he said.

“Joseph’s leadership was, in large part, responsible for the success of the workshops and the great success of the high school students that attended them,” said John Gustincic, adviser to the club.

Nineteen students from Northwood’s BPA chapter competed at nationals in Orlando, Fla., with 13 placing.

“When you go to Nationals, you’re meeting so many people from different states,” said Ex, an Oxford, Mich., native and Finance major. “You’re competing in events that relate to our major and is pushing us farther into our field.”

“There is a lot of incentive to participate,” said Taylor, a native of Escanaba, Mich. “Northwood dedicates scholarships to BPA participants and officers. Also, BPA members can receive national certification in Microsoft programs such as Access, Excel, and Word.”

Taylor says the presentation experience also helped him develop skills he will soon need for his career.

Headline Photo Caption:  Northwood's Mock Trial team chalked up another successful season, advancing to the American Mock Trial Association’s Regional Tournament in Ohio. One team qualified for the opening round of the championship series in Ohio.

Outstanding Alumni Honored


1.) Mary Ellen George-Hess (’80, BBA, Hotel & Restaurant Management), Alumni Achievement Award. Mary Ellen, known to most people as Meg, is senior vice president of sales for HRG, a worldwide business travel company. Previously, she worked for BCD Travel, an affiliate of American Express Travel, where she helped expand operations to 100 countries around the globe, and was part of the launch of the online booking fulfillment program that helped double its size. Meg lives in Frisco, Texas, with her husband, Barry, where they enjoy skiing and travel with their children Dylan, Ivy, Hailey, and Griffen.

2.) Mauro G. Gregorio (’99, MBA) Alumni Achievement Award.

After beginning his career as a chemical engineer, Mauro chose Northwood's DeVos Graduate School as a path to a successful business management career. He advanced to the position of chief executive officer at Dow Corning Corp. and business president of Dow Consumer Solutions. He is currently on his third assignment in Midland, and credits his wife, Cinthia, as his strongest supporter.

3.) Michael D. Abbondanza (’99, BBA, Marketing & Management) Alumni Leadership Award.

In 2008, Mike and his partner Bill Newton founded Newton Motor Group, a privately owned company in Tennessee that has grown to include two Nissan stores, a Ford store, and a Chevrolet store. In 2016, the company was named the Autobytel Dealer of the Year, and earned the 2016 Top Workplace Award by “The Tennessean” magazine. Mike and his wife, Karen, a 2001 Northwood grad, live in Gallatin, Tenn., with their daughters Molly and Lucy, and together they've been instrumental in helping to establish an alumni chapter in Nashville.

4.) Grant E. Baidas (’10, BBA, Management & Entrepreneurship) Young Alumni Award.

As the third generation of his family to work for General RV Center, the nation's largest familyowned recreational vehicle dealer with 11 locations in five states, Grant was a natural choice to revolutionize the company’s online presence. He is director of Internet and E-Commerce Operations, with accomplishments that include a new, integrated smartphone app and enhanced web department that is 10 times its original size. Grant lives in Plymouth, Mich., where he enjoys golfing, boating, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

5.) Admiral Robert A. Chapman (’03, BBA, Management) Alumni Service Award.

After a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy, Robert looked to Northwood for a career “kick-start.” Upon graduation, he worked for the U.S. Department of Justice for 20 years. In 2005, he was asked to manage the legal team that prosecuted Saddam Hussein in Iraq. He supervised 40 staff members, and recalls that as a team they accomplished every goal they set, and everyone was brought home safely. Robert, his wife, Maria, son Hayden, and daughter Kayla Grace live in Arlington, Texas, where he enjoys scuba diving, running, and reading.

Always Ready to Rally for Northwood - Remembering Dick Huvaere, Class of ‘68


If Northwood pride and spirit could be embodied in a big smile, it would have been Dick Huvaere’s. His years at the university were a pivotal time in his life and, after he graduated, he was always eager to announce that he was a Northwood alumnus. But even more, Dick was a tremendous volunteer leader, dedicated cheerleader and promoter, and committed donor who made supporting his alma mater a priority throughout his adult life. When Dick passed away in February, he had achieved much in making his name known in the automotive retail industry. He built the Dick Huvaere’s Richmond Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and RAM dealership into a prosperous business, and earned countless awards from Chrysler as one of the top dealers in the nation. He was instrumental in working with the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association to create the Michigan Auto Dealers Self- Insured Fund (MADSIF) for which he served as chairman and trustee for many years. He also gave his time and financial support to a variety of community organizations in Richmond, Mich., where he lived.

“Dick will be remembered as a businessman with deep integrity. He went out of his way to help people. But he never did it for the recognition; he just wanted to help. He shared his business know-how with me as I started my business, helping define success and sustainability,” said Jason Huvaere, ‘96, Dick’s son and president of Paxahau Events. “He brought a wonderful sense of humor to everything he did, which created a positive attitude in his businesses and at Northwood.”

Dick served Northwood for many years as a member of the Board of Governors, the President’s Advisory Committee, and the 1959 Society. His counsel and advice (sometimes constructively critical) helped make Northwood a better university. A generous donor throughout his life, he and his wife, Stephanie, established the Huvaere Family Endowed Scholarship that has supported many Northwood students and will continue to make a difference in the lives of future students. Dick also showed his support by attending as many Northwood celebrations as he could. He had a way of always letting everyone know that “Hoovie” was in the house.

“He loved Northwood and he enjoyed people, which made him a great ambassador for the school. He talked about Northwood whenever he got a chance. His passion for the school was clear to everyone who knew him and was a major part of the successful person he was,” said Dick’s son Ryan Roscia, ’07, president and dealer principal of Dick Huvaere’s Richmond Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and RAM.

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.

Project 100 Grant: A Fashion First


With the click of a button, Northwood University alumni gave fashion marketing students a boost in the job market. Project 100 awarded its inaugural grant for $10,000 to Northwood’s Fashion Marketing and Management Department to buy MockShop software. The grant will pay for 100 site licenses for up to three years, plus installation and training in this industry standard software.

“It’s going to prepare those students so much more for the job market,” said Melodie Davis- Bundrage, department chairwoman. “Digital is not just the future: It’s the current. We need to be working in digital systems as much as possible.”

Project 100 is a novel way for graduates to direct their giving. Donors give $100 per semester; and the effort has 65 founding members who donate $600 each. Every donor is asked to vote for the project with the most merit.

“There’s been a great buzz on campus, and all the19 project submissions were great ideas,” said Dan Waskevich (’11), an emcee for the presentations.

Finalists make their pitches in front of a live and online audience, with Project 100 members watching.

“Because of the online presentation and voting, my 3- and 5-year-old were also able to participate and help us decide as a family how we were going to vote for our donation.” said Project 100 member Michelle Mitchell.

In her appeal for support, Davis-Bundrage explained how students currently create their designs.

“They are doing store design by hand, with oldfashioned graph paper, and we make the most of it,” she told a room of alumni gathered to award the first Project 100 grant in February. “MockShop is the industry standard. It enhances student learning in many ways. Students are able to present their work in a 2D and 3D format. If we are awarded the grant, graduates would already know how to use the software that the employers use.”

Two other finalists also made live pitches:

THE SIGNATURE EVENTS TEAM presented a proposal to enhance an outdoor recreational and gathering space on campus near Recognition Park. Features included seating, bonfire pits, picnic tables, tetherball, and outdoor lighting.

THE MOCK TRIAL program appealed for tablets with student resources on them so students could better prepare for competition, two travel bags for mock trial equipment and a second camera system for each of the teams to use to study and improve their performances.

For information about how to join Project 100, go to

The next Project 100 meeting will take place Saturday, Oct. 7, during the Northwood University International Auto Show.

Game Changer - North Village Offers New Apartment Living


Excitement is building as work continues on North Village, Northwood’s first new student housing complex built in more than 30 years. The apartments are on track to open to 162 residents in August. The structure features 59 units — 24 four-bedroom apartments, 31 two-bedroom and four with one-bedroom. With the addition of North Village, the Midland campus will house about 900 students.

The wood-sided exterior is no accident of design. Students in focus groups identified Northwood’s “woodsy, beautiful campus” as an important part of its identity.

“It does play a big role in what we ultimately decided on the exterior,” Cripe said. “We’re trying to preserve as many trees around it as possible so it does feel like it’s in the woods. Our students definitely identify with that, and we want to stay true to that.”

“Our entire housing stock needed TLC,” Cripe said. “Throw in (that) there is this beautiful new jewel of North Village, where 162 students will be living this fall … there is a definite buzz.”

“I can’t wait to have this open so our students can experience it, because it’s going to be a game changer,” said Andy Cripe, dean of Student Affairs.