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.

The Book Business


There’s something special about writing a book. It is a permanent mark on the world. Two Northwood alumni have written books, and as they have learned, the process requires much more than simply putting pen to paper.

Two decades into a successful career in the automotive and financial industries, Don Corder ('82) had what he calls "a burning bush experience." He decided to apply his skills to a higher purpose, helping religious and other nonprofit organizations handle their business and administration more effectively, freeing them to focus on their core missions.

It has gone so well that Corder has made a thriving business of it, and now he's written a book, “Minding His Business,” to share some of what he's learned.

"When a church needs a lawyer, it hires a lawyer," Corder explains in his book. "When a church needs a plumber, it hires a plumber. But when a church needs to conduct business, it often calls a butcher, a baker, a mechanic, and a stay-at-home mom to form a committee."

Corder offers a better alternative: he provides professional business expertise combined with a commitment to the faith that is the foundation of the organization. His book offers a wealth of insight designed to liberate church and ministry leaders from the burden of the bottom line.

"Chances are, if you work in a church, you are not an experienced businessperson, nor should you be," Corder writes. After several years of offering his expertise to a variety of churches and public service organizations, Corder launched a shared services organization called The Provisum Group in 2013. It grew quickly, and now has about 30 full-time employees and 25 as-needed employees offering a variety of business services to about 40 client organizations.

As customers find out how liberating Provisum services can be, the word spreads quickly.

Which is one reason Corder expects Provisum’s annual revenues to grow from about$1 million now to between $5 million and $10 million in five years.

“There are 350,000 churches in America. This is a very, very significant niche."

Many new parents tell their children stories, but Jaclyn Coy (‘05) brings a Northwood education to the nursery, which means she sees opportunity that others might not.

“I think if you talk to people, a lot of them have a desire to write a book, especially a children’s book,” Coy said recently.

Coy had a triple major in marketing, advertising and management at Northwood, then later earned a master’s degree in elementary education. She taught briefly before the career of her husband, Ben (’07), took them to California, where she has spent the past five years working for a marketing company.

Their daughter Wynn was born in 2016, and it didn’t take long before the seeds of a children’s book took root in Coy’s mind.

“The story basically wrote itself after my daughter was born,” Coy said. “It is a children’s book, but it’s definitely intended to entertain the parents who are reading it to their children.

“Everybody tells you, ‘Oh it’s fantastic, and it goes by so fast, and they’re adorable’ – and that is all true, but there are also all these challenges. So I wanted to write something that would be fun for parents to read.”

The result was “Love You to Pieces Beautiful Monster,” a 34- page, charmingly illustrated tale of parental devotion. Calling it “healing medicine in the form of humor,” Amazon describes the book this way on its website:

“From the moment this beautiful monster wakes, the rollercoaster ride begins. From the highest highs to the lowest lows – who is more emotional, the monster or the mother? Our babies make us CRAZY, yet we can't help but love them like CRAZY. This is a read for every new parent. It includes a touch of loving sarcasm and it's filled with illustrations that even the little monsters will enjoy.”

With her business expertise, Coy chose to self-publish the book, and even hired a freelance illustrator Love You to Pieces, Beautiful Monster from Romania to achieve just the look she had in mind.

Coy has already completed a draft of a second book, but her long-term plans are to use the experience she has gained, coupled with her marketing background, to help other authors successfully navigate the self-publishing world.

“I was able to go from an idea to a published book in a short amount of time, and I would like to help other people do that, too.”

In Memorium


The Northwood family was recently saddened by the death of alumnus, friend, and university booster Richard “Dick” Huvaere from the class of ’68. Dick passed away on Feb. 16, 2017, in Ocean Reef, Fla., surrounded by his family. He will be remembered for his leadership in the automotive industry, his dedication to Northwood and his community of Richmond, Mich., and for his love of life. Dick often said his Northwood education made a difference in his success, and he graciously gave back to the University throughout his adult life. He and his wife, Stephanie, established the Huvaere Family Endowed Scholarship to support students pursuing degrees in the Entertainment, Sport, & Promotion Management program. As the chairman of the Michigan campus Capital Campaign Committee and a member of the Board of Governors, he was proud to be a founding member of Northwood’s 1959 Society.

“Dick was one of the first Northwood grads I met when I came to the university in 1995, and over the next 22 years I witnessed his dedication to his alma mater. He wanted to see Northwood succeed and grow and invested his time, talent, and treasure to make sure it did,” said Brian Parr, Northwood senior advancement director. “Thanks to his enthusiasm and fun-loving nature, he encouraged countless other alumni to get involved and support the university. He was a wonderful friend personally and is greatly missed.”

A full story will be available in the next issue of IDEA magazine.

Alumni in Action - Michigan


Northwood alumni and friends gather around the country to recognize fellow graduates and enjoy a variety of fun activities in the summer sun. michigan_main1Northwood alumni and their families enjoyed a favorite pastime during Northwood Alumni Night at the Great Lakes Loons game in Midland.




michigan_photo2The Northwood Lansing Alumni Chapter gathered on June 14 for Northwood Night at the Lansing Lugnuts baseball game.



michigan_photo4Northwood held its annual Northwood Night at the West Michigan Whitecaps game on June 28, 2016.




michigan_photo3On July 29, the Northwood Chicago Alumni Chapter hosted its annual Rooftop Outing during a Chicago Cubs game.





On July 29, the Northwood Southeast Michigan Alumni Chapter hosted its annual Detroit Tigers outing attended by 135 Northwood alumni and friends. After a pre-game tailgate party at the Detroit Athletic Club, the group headed to the game to watch the Tigers capture a win.

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The 25th Annual Northwood University Scholarship Golf Outing was held on June 13. Northwood alumni and friends filled the course and raised just over $9,000 for the Northwood Alumni Legacy Endowed Scholarship.

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Alumni in Action - Texas


The Fort Worth Program Center staff and faculty hosted a commencement celebration dinner at the Botanic Gardens Conservatory for the 2016 graduating class of 47 students. The event featured keynote speaker Capt. Mike Steffen, Commanding Officer, Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base (JRB), and had a record attendance of 120 alumni and friends. Also in attendance were Dr. Terry Silva, Academic Dean, and Mike Anguiano, Director of Military Operations. The Fort Worth Program Center, a military friendly institution of higher learning, has been located on the Naval Air Station JRB for more than 30 years. texas_main

The Northwood Texas Alumni Group hosted a Career Transition seminar with Northwood career coach Beth Bryce in Arlington on July 28. Later that evening, 56 Northwood alumni and friends hosted “Northwood Night” in a suite at the Texas Rangers game.

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Alumni in Action - Florida


On May 4, the Northwood Florida Alumni Chapter hosted two events to welcome the last graduating class from the Florida campus to the “Northwood Alumni Network,” a networking event held the night before commencement and a post-commencement reception on campus. Our warm appreciation and heartfelt congratulations to our distinguished alumni. florida_main florida_photo1

The Florida Alumni Chapter held a meet and greet in July at Roger Dean Stadium during the Palm Beach Cardinals game.


Restoring the American Dream


The Campaign for Northwood University, concluded December 31, 2014, was the most successful fundraising campaign in the University’s history.

Through the generosity of more than 13,000 alumni and friends, almost $73,000,000 has been given to Northwood University. These funds are enhancing the educational experience for students and strengthen the university for the long term. Support for scholarships, facilities, program and endowment have provided opportunities for ambitious men and women to pursuit their dreams--The American Dream.

Students are the heart of Northwood University. This campaign is giving them the funding to reach higher and become tomorrow’s business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Northwood educates the free enterprisers who will employ and lead profitable endeavors that will produce the prosperity for the country. Thousands of contributors, volunteers and advocates made this effort a reality. Thank you for believing in the power of education, free enterprise, ambition and commitment to the students being served.

Scholarships mean an opportunity to achieve the dream of obtaining a degree from Northwood. Nearly $22,500,000 has been given to build annual, endowed scholarships and endowed professorships. Over 80% of Northwood students receive some assistance to attend the university. These scholarships will provide needed funds so ambitious men and women will be the leaders of a global free enterprise society.

Facilities are the place where education takes place; in the classroom, the lecture hall, the athletic field, library or dorm room. It is where students come together to discuss ideas, share dreams for the future, are challenged by faculty and form their view of the world.

Over $24,600,000 has provided needed funds for facilities including:

  • A New Gateway
  • New DeVos Student Development Center
  • Helen Gerace Auditorium
  • Carl A. Gerstacker Academic Center
  • Griswold Dining Hall
  • Tennis Courts
  • Field house bathrooms
  • Strosacker Athletic Training Center
  • New Weight room and Training facility
  • Renovated Bennett Sports Complex
  • New Graduate School


Enhancing the student experience through programs such as internships, experiential learning including the auto show, and fashion show give students the real world experience to excel in their career. $25,600,000 has been donated to assist Northwood university students to make a difference in the world.

The Campaign for Northwood University is a milestone and is transforming our future. 

Enhancing the Student Experience Annual Scholarships and Program Support-Current Funding

Over $25,000,000 has been contributed to program support students. These programs and learning activities make the educational experience come to life for students at Northwood. An educational tradition at Northwood University is learning through real life experience. The support given means more students are participating in activities that make them better prepared to step into the work force and make a difference for their employers and community. Students at Northwood University are encouraged to take leadership roles in educational activities such as auto show, fashion show, Stafford dinner, semester abroad learning opportunities, varsity and intramural sports, guest speakers and many more. All of these activities provide a way to connect to each other, the faculty and the community. Not only do students become friends, spouses and business partners, they become advocates of free enterprise. They have learned “The Northwood Idea” the uniting elements of all alumni. The Northwood Code of Ethics is derived from the Northwood Idea. These code emphases: Freedom, Respect, Empathy, Spirituality, Honesty, Achievement, Integrity, and Responsibility. These are taught in the classroom and become the foundation of the student’s life.

Building a Strong Future

Over $20,200,000 has been given in support of endowment for Northwood University.

Building the endowment is creating a strong future for the students we serve today and into the future. A growing endowment is critical to sustaining the Northwood educational philosophy.

It is the University’s financial foundation and a permanent source of funds. However, the reach of the endowment goes beyond the dollars it generates. An increased endowment means the educational message of self-determination, individual responsibility and free enterprise will always be a part of the national landscape. New gifts to the endowment strengthen the educational experience by increasing the resources for scholarships and professorships. Alumni and friends gave cash to build the endowment as well as providing for the university through their estate. We are profoundly grateful to those individuals who understand and appreciate the importance a strong endowment can make.


Scholarships are a critical component for student success at Northwood University. The campaign raised $9,748,545 in annual scholarships and $9,870,869 for endowed scholarships. Nearly $20 million in new scholarship funds were raised to help young men and women receive a Northwood University education.

The new scholarships are important to offering competitive financial packages to attract new students, providing support to retain students, and creating incentives to attract the best and brightest students. Most importantly, scholarships are an investment in “The Northwood Idea” and educate future leaders who will staunchly defend free enterprise.

The support provided by this campaign means we will continue to graduate more entrepreneurs than our peers. More than 30% of our graduates go on to own all or part of their business – imagine where that number may be in the future as a result of this and other campaigns.

Of the students who come to Northwood, about two-thirds have financial needs that aren’t completely met. And, of course, students end up not coming here because of a lack of funds for scholarships. The generosity demonstrated through this campaign assures the dream of a Northwood education is available to all individuals, establishes a support system for deserving young men and women, and serves as tangible reinforcement to all parties that a Northwood business education is the best choice.


Northwood University enrolls more than 6,000 students annually, hosts students from more than 70 countries, proudly claims more than 50,000 alumni in more than 100 countries, and impressively enables their learning each and every day.

A global and modern education at Northwood University requires more than classroom space, faculty and books. Today’s students must be comfortable with modern technology, classroom instruction must be facilitated through traditional methods, but also through online learning that includes discussion boards, video conferencing, and much more.

Northwood’s facilities must accommodate a great deal of flexibility and create an environment that is suitable to multiple instructional techniques and student needs. On top of that, our main residential campuses need to provide desirable housing, a safe environment, and amenities that serve a full complement of athletic and student clubs.

During the campaign $24,661,523 was raised to help us upgrade or build completely new capital projects. A new cafeteria exists to provide our students with more healthy options, upgraded academic facilities enhance the learning process, new athletic facilities help us compete at the highest levels, and new academic facilities will begin construction in 2015.

In the same way that Arthur Turner and Gary Stauffer set the stage for the creation of Northwood, the campaign and new capital projects are laying the foundation for Northwood’s continued success for the next 50 years.

Thank you to the Risk Takers and Believers.

“The Northwood Idea” is alive and thriving right now in large part due to the support of men and women throughout the world who made Northwood’s campaign not only successful – but historic.

Northwood does not accept direct state or federal funding, which means support from generous individuals is not only necessary, but critical to our educational efforts.

Your financial support is helping students right now learn from our respected faculty not only the tools to succeed in business… but also the key components of acting ethically and with integrity.

More than $73 million in new philanthropic gifts are at work to create new facilities, provide new scholarships, bolster academic programs, and create a stronger Northwood University. Your commitment excites an entrepreneurial spirit, demonstrates the positive influence of free enterprise, and inspires others to make a difference too.

The best two words are “thank you!” Without you it would be impossible to educate a new generation of leaders who understand the unique bond between business and liberty. By the standard you’ve set, and the education they receive, Northwood University students have the acumen to help usher forth a more prosperous future for everyone.


Honoring the Heritage of Northwood University-Texas


With the end of the 2013-14 academic year the Northwood University Texas Knights ended one chapter in their long and storied history and opened the pages of a new and exciting one.

Restructured to fit the changing dynamics of today’s higher education market, Northwood University ceased its residential campus operation to center its efforts and energy on the growing adult and business graduate education markets in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. While the new direction marks a significant change for Northwood University Texas and the University as a whole, the impact and the memories associated with the residential campus’s 48-year history will forever be part of the Northwood University story and identity. 

As we celebrate the Northwood University Texas Knights, we look back at some of the countless and significant memories made along the way. 

New Marketing Campaign Highlights Northwood University Value Proposition


The Northwood Brand. What do you think of when you hear that phrase - billboards along the freeway, advertisements on radio, television or internet?  If you answered “Yes,” you’re correct. And according to Bill Gagliardi, Associate Vice President of Marketing, Communications & Public Relations, Northwood University will continue utilizing those outlets in promoting the benefits of a Northwood education. Beginning August 1st Northwood initiated a new advertising campaign that includes alumni engagement.


“Our world is changing and the delivery of educational opportunities must be more flexible to meet the needs of working professionals, business owners, and prospective students; active military and veterans are also a bigger part of this dynamic.  Our new advertising campaign depicting transitional roles conveys specific messages on how our programs can blend with everyday life, helping students meet their educational goals,” stated Gagliardi.

“We want our constituents to know there’s value, pride and a great return-on-investment with a Northwood University education,” he continued, “in fact, some of our graduates have multiple job offers prior to graduation, as well internships; there’s a high percentage of alums working in positions that match their degree concentration with incomes to match.”

In addition to traditional media outlets, Gagliardi stated, “Our alums continue to be a significant resource in telling others about their degree from Northwood. There’s no better advertising than successful alums sharing their experience.  These endorsements change the information dynamic where prospective students are ‘asking’ about NU to that of alums ‘telling’ them how their Northwood Education became a life changing experience.”

In closing, Gagliardi said, “Northwood University is unique among universities. We are dedicated to preserving the ideals of freedom, individual responsibility, private property, and limited government through higher education. Graduates of Northwood are a community of individuals who believe ethical business is a point of pride for this nation, exemplifying our Code of Ethics which is: freedom, respect, empathy, spirituality, honesty, achievement, integrity and responsibility.”

Former NUIAS Chair Drives 2014 Auto Show Gala


After earning his BBA in 2005 and his MBA in 2006, Rob Wilson went back to his family business, Mid Michigan Materials, Inc., an aggregate materials excavation and supply firm. As Vice President of the family business and father of two sons (Levi and Noah), Wilson remains busy but amidst the rigors and demands of it all he continues to find time to give back to his alma mater.

A member of Northwood University’s Michigan Board of Governors, Wilson is also a member of the Capital Campaign Steering Committee and served as the Co-Chair—along with his wife Megan—of Northwood’s 2013 Annual Auto Show Gala. As one might imagine, Wilson’s efforts have not gone unnoticed and in 2013 NU presented him with an Outstanding Alumni Award.


A former NUIAS chair himself, Northwood’s Annual Auto Show is in Wilson’s blood and once again he and his wife Megan are serving as the Co-Chairs of Northwood’s Annual Auto Show Gala. Julie Endres-Felske, Executive Director of Alumni Relations at NU, recently caught up with Wilson to get a preview of the 2014 Gala.

Endres-Felske: Tell us about the event that you are co-chairing with your wife Megan? How is this event different from others? 

Wilson: The Northwood University Auto Show Gala is very different from many of the other events that are put on by Northwood. The Gala is a gourmet strolling dinner and cocktail party held at the Midland Country Club. The event is welcoming back the renowned Simone Vitale Band for it’s fourth year and will surely keep the crowd entertained. As part of raising funds, we traditionally have a live auction, but this year we will feature some new and very exciting auction items including a Chinese Adventure as well as a truly unique James Bond Hideaway trip.  More details about the one-of-a-kind auction items will be revealed soon on the Northwood Gala webpage www.northwood.edu/gala.

Endres-Felske: Where do the funds raised from the Gala go? 

Wilson: The proceeds of the event will directly benefit the Northwood University Town & Campus Endowed Scholarship and the Alumni Legacy Student Scholarship funds. Last year we were able to deposit in excess of $65,000 to assist students with their education at Northwood. With the exciting new things planned for this year’s event we hope to raise even more funds for scholarships.

Endres-Felske: How and why did you guys get involved with this event? 

Wilson: My wife, Megan has been a member of Town & Campus (T&C) for some time now and was on the Gala planning committee when the women of T&C planned it. Last year, we chose to chair the event together representing both Town & Campus and Northwood Alumni.  We both believe in what Northwood University did for me as a student and want to help others have that same Northwood experience, giving them the competitive edge when they hit the real world.  We look at this experience as helping invest in all of our futures.  Northwood is helping to shape the next generation of leaders and we are proud to support that.

Endres-Felske: Why should alumni attend this event? 

Wilson: This is a great event for Alumni to be a part of during Homecoming weekend. It is so important to give back to the university that helped us become who we are today.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my Northwood experience or apply a concept that I learned there and it is now our job to afford others that same opportunity.

Endres-Felske: Tell us about your committee? 

Wilson: We have a fabulous committee made up of Alumni, Town & Campus, Northwood Family and friends of the University.  We are also proud to have the support of our Town & Campus Honorary Founders Committee.  Without the dedication of our Town & Campus friends, the event would not be the success that it is today.


2014 Auto Show Gala Committee 

Gregory Adamczyk – Class of 2008

Jim Cross  

Gretchen Pretty

Dan Reimer – Class of 1998

Dan Saar – Class of 1998

Mike Weinert – Class of 1999

Graham Williams – Class of 1983

Jennifer Williams – Class of 1983

Richard Williams

Megan Wilson Co-Chair

Rob Wilson Co-Chair – Class of 05’ & 06’

Distinguished Women 2013


Distinguished Women Class of 2013 The Distinguished Women (DW) Awards acknowledge women who embody the values that Northwood instills in its students: commitment to free-enterprise, partnership of arts and businesses, and management in a global society. 

This year marks the 44th year of recognizing the enormous contribution women make to communities, businesses, volunteer agencies, and public and private sector services world-wide. 

The DW Class of 2013 is made up of successful and influential women serving as role models, and will join the 449 DWs, to lead future generations. 


[symple_column size="one-third" position="first"]Patricia Chambers[/symple_column]Patricia Chambers Fort Worth, Texas Ms. Chambers and her husband, Tom, built a large lime business and became leaders in the mineral industry. No stranger to the oil industry, she also manages her family oil business in Van, Texas. Ms. Chambers is a very philanthropic person offering financial support and spiritual mentoring to women in Dallas and Fort Worth.


[symple_column size="one-third" position="first"]Kay Granger (1)[/symple_column]Kay Granger Fort Worth, Texas Ms. Granger began her political career as Mayor of Fort Worth and in 1997 was elected Congresswoman for the 12th District of Texas. Recognized as one of the leaders on national security and foreign policy, she oversees 70% of all discretionary spending, chairs the Anti-Terrorism Caucus and serves as a Major Deputy Whip.


[symple_column size="one-third" position="first"]Harriet Miers (1)[/symple_column]Harriet Miers Dallas, Texas Ms. Miers is a lawyer and former White House Counsel with the Bush Administration. She was the first female to head the State Bar of Texas. In 1995 George W. Bush appointed Ms. Miers to chair the Texas Lottery Commission. Then in 2007, Locke Lord Bissel & Liddell announced her new role as a registered agent with the US Dept. of Justice for Pakistan People’s Party and the Embassy of Pakistan.


[symple_column size="one-third" position="first"]Margaret Peale Everett[/symple_column]Margaret Peale Everett Sherman, Connecticut Mrs. Everett has served in many volunteer leadership positions in philanthropic and service organizations. She has served on the Board of Trustees of Guidepost since 2003, currently chairing the Governance Committee and the Foundation Board. Mrs. Everett is also President of the Peale Family Foundation, and serves on the Board of the Mizzentop Day School in Pawling, New York.


[symple_column size="one-third" position="first"]Linda Orlans[/symple_column]Linda Orlans Troy, Michigan A native of Michigan, Ms. Orlans has established five businesses in the state, and currently employs more than 500 individuals. She serves as Managing Partner of Orlans Associates, P.C., named one of the 101 Best & Brightest Companies to work for in Metro Detroit. A graduate of Michigan State University College of Law, she is on the Donor Hall of Fame and has received the George N. Bashara, Jr. Distinguished Alumni Award.

[symple_column size="one-third" position="first"]Mary Roche (1)[/symple_column]Mary Rouche Indian Wells, California Prior to becoming Mayor, Ms. Roche served on the Indian Wells City Council and several other local commissions. She is a visionary leader with a 40-year career that spans education, business, elected offices, and philanthropy in Coachella Valley, Los Angeles, and Orange counties. She has served 11 years as Indian Wells Mayor and Councilwoman and 21 years as professor in the Los Angeles Community College District.

[symple_column size="one-third" position="first"]Lorraine Schultz[/symple_column]Lorraine Schultz Bloomfield Hills, Michigan Ms. Schultz is the founder and CEO of Women’s Automobile Association International (WAAI). This non-profit organization of 350+ members throughout US and Canada has established a scholarship fund for women seeking careers in the automotive industry. Ms. Schultz has received 18+ awards from 1991-2012 for her business and community service leadership and served as a board member for 11 other organizations.

[symple_column size="one-third" position="first"]Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk[/symple_column]Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk Dallas, Texas Ms. Thompson-Frenk is an artist and philanthropist. She was born in Mexico and raised in Dallas after being adopted by Debra and the late John Thompson, CEO of 7-Eleven Corporation. Ms. Thompson-Frenk co-founded and serves as President for both Memnosyne Foundation and the John Philip Thompson Foundation for Non-Chemotherapy/Radiation Brain Cancer Research.


Michigan Homecoming 2013


[symple_column size="one-half" position="first"]AGD AlumniDelts and friends reunion before Woody’s Taproom [/symple_column]

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beer tent group with cupsAlumni at Woody’s Taproom during the 2013 Auto Show


[symple_column size="one-half" position="first"] DJ in tent copy-smallNU student DJ Ben Baker spins his mash-ups for over 300 alumni in Woody’s Taproom


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Delt & Friends-smallCelebrating a return to campus, Delts and Friends reunite by Hantz Stadium


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Dance floor crew celebrates the last song of the evening at Woody’s Taproom [/symple_column]

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Rob and Megan Wilson were co-chairs at the Third Annual Northwood University Auto

Show Gala


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girls in tent-small

Left to Right: NU alumnae, Danielle Cull, Justine Stauffer, Cindy Baran, and Laura Beauchamp, celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Auto Show


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taproom bar-smallCurrent hospitality students put their know-how to work, running logistics for Woody’s Taproom



Northwood University Texas Students, Staff, Alumni & Friends Cross Over


This year the Northwood University Texas campus enjoyed its 10th Annual Crossing Over celebration that included a Knight Pride lunch, a residence hall decorating contest, an alumni baseball game, and the announcement of our homecoming king and queen just prior to our evening Crossing Over ceremony.    Abby Babbitt, Director of Leadership and Character Development, explained the development of this years’ event, “Being the 10th Annual Crossing Over, we really wanted to capture the tradition of the event; having an actual ‘Great Feast’ fit for a knight and décor that fit the entire theme.  We also wanted to create an atmosphere for alumni that not only showed them how the event has grown, but one that reminded them of their wonderful times here at Northwood. We placed past pictures on the dinner tables, so alumni could reminisce. We accented our new campus improvements such as our new Lambert Porch and our Knights’ Park Fire Pit.  Everyone enjoyed the atmosphere; sharing memories and supporting this amazing campus tradition.”

“The 10th annual ceremony will be one that will have a special place in the history of the event. Amid all of the opportunities that could have occurred, because of the severe weather that came in right as we were supposed to cross over, we hosted an event that was fitting to honor a legacy and tradition. I am proud of the efforts Abby Babbitt and Shane Hill made planning and coordinating the event, as well as Celeste Lindell and Maribel Deleon, from our alumni council. The event would have been a much different experience were it not for the understanding and willingness of so many people to come together to make that event what it was,” said Mike Anguiano, Dean of Students.

One of our seniors, Natasha Norman, shared her thoughts about this year’s Crossing Over celebration, “In my time at Northwood, it was the most fun and memorable event I have ever attended, even considering the weather.”  With over 1,600 Knights that have crossed over to date, even the rain could not stop the ceremony from being a success.

- Julie Felske

Northwood Alumni Connect Across the Country


Summer Events Welcome New Graduates to the Alumni Network One of the many unique features of Northwood University is its three distinct residential campuses in Michigan, Texas, and Florida. While most alumni attend alumni gatherings at or around their campus of attendance, it is rare that alumni all come together at one time and at one place. To work toward the opportunity of a “continental connection,” the Alumni Office hosted three alumni events in the surrounding areas of each campus on Thursday, June 6.  Each event had a specific focus of welcoming and including recent Northwood graduates in an effort to help them connect with fellow alumni in their communities and/or professions.

In Michigan, The Northwood University Alumni Network hosted its first annual Young Alumni Networking After hours in Birmingham, Mich. The event was a simple meet-and-greet cocktail happy hour that brought recent graduates together with other young alumni in Metro Detroit. Participants were able to meet with the executive director of Alumni Relations, Julie Felske, win bags of Northwood alumni accessories, and mix and mingle with others who are living in the area. With over 6,000 graduates in the Metro Detroit area, networking opportunities like these are invaluable, especially for those who only recently graduated.

“Aloha Knight” was the Texas campus’s event and was hosted at a popular lakeside restaurant and patio bar, The Oasis on Joe Pool Lake. New graduates and experienced alumni from the traditional, ADP, and MBA programs attended, providing a great mix of business professionals. The theme of the evening was chosen in an effort to welcome recent graduates to the alumni network. Attendees were greeted with a Hawaiian lei, enjoyed tasty appetizers, and took advantage of the pleasant Texas evening weather all while reflecting on their Northwood experience and its place and impact on their future plans for success.

The Florida Alumni Network’s 3rd Annual NU Alumni Bowling Bash was rescheduled for June 18 due to a tropical storm and luckily, the rain did not keep alumni away on this new date. Roughly 50 Northwood graduates joined Campus President Tom Duncan to bowl a few games and try to earn the titles of King and Queen of the Pin! Awards were also given to the participant with the most Northwood spirit as well as the gutter ball winner.

“The purpose of the event was to welcome new graduates into the Northwood Alumni family and to introduce them to seasoned alumni. It was a great opportunity for our new members to network, gain career opportunities and to connect with successful alumni mentors. And the atmosphere was perfect, as it allowed for a relaxed yet engaging evening—just one reason why the occasion is one of our most popular events,” shared Stephanie Lanza, director of Alumni and Community Relations for the Florida Campus.

Throughout the year, the Northwood University Alumni Network strives to provide events and services to alumni that foster camaraderie, professional growth, and encourage The Northwood Idea of free-enterprise. To learn more about upcoming events, services offered, and how you can be involved, we encourage you to visit us at www.northwood.edu/alumni. In addition, please visit our Facebook pages, LinkedIn Groups, and follow our Twitter feeds to further build your alumni network! - Natasha Elder (Class of 2011)
















Northwood Alumni Program – Five Year Strategic Plan


The Northwood University Alumni Leadership Council determined that it is critical to the organization that an organized and documented strategic plan is necessary to achieve the goals and objectives for the department.  A five year strategic plan was approved in the fall of 2012 and implementation began immediately.  The plan attempts to assess information, draw substantiated conclusions, and articulate appropriate goals for the growth of the alumni program.  The plan integrates survey data, historic information, and measures for success in the strategic planning format preferred by Northwood University.  Many of the conclusions drawn are based on multiple questions and responses from the alumni survey conducted in the spring of 2012.  The results of the survey are broad strokes and conclusions to drive decision making for the alumni program. Northwood contracted with PEG to administer an “Alumni Attitude Survey” to understand what our alumni’s expectations, needs, and wants are. The survey results are based on over 1,400 responses from all campuses and eras. The survey covered various aspects of our alumni opinions and experiences.  Special attention was given to gaining an understanding of the alumni opinion concerning the philosophy of Northwood, The Northwood Idea, and their feelings about entrepreneurship.  An attempt was made to assess the alumni about their overall experience as students and their desires for the specific needs from the alumni office.  This is the first time in the alumni program where a high-level survey directed at specifically engaging alumni was administered to create a strategic vision for the program.  This survey is being used to set a foundation for decision making in developing activity for the alumni office.  It is our compass in targeting the next five years of alumni interaction and engagement.

The survey results highlighted the following areas of focus.  

These themes comprise the basic foundation for building the alumni program. 


We will continue to share more in-depth details with you regarding the Northwood Alumni Strategic Plan in the next few issues of this magazine. The Strategic Plan will also be featured on the Northwood alumni website for all alumni to view.  We are excited for the future of the Northwood Alumni Network and we hope you are too!

- Julie Felske, Class of 2001 • Executive Director of Alumni Relations • Northwood University