December 16, 2011

Winter Commencement

Tomorrow, members of the Michigan Campus will gather to celebrate the class of 2011. Two hundred ninety undergraduate and 88 graduate students will join the ranks of over 45,000 Northwood alumni, 39,000 of whom are active throughout the world today.

In so doing, we will welcome and honor President and CEO Chip Perry who will serve as our commencement speaker and join the class of 2011 himself as we award him an honorary doctor of laws degree. Both Perry and are prime examples of the kind of achievement that is possible when creativity, integrity and entrepreneurship are free to flourish. One of Automotive News’s “Stars of 2011,” Perry guided from start–up (he was their first employee when the firm started in 1997) to an industry leader expected to gross over $1 billion dollars in revenue this year.

This year’s festivities also include two other special events: We will present Professor C. Diana Webb with her Ph.D. on behalf of Capella University and will host a commissioning ceremony honoring senior Lance Foos who completed The Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program while attending Northwood.

Please join me in congratulating the graduating class of 2011.

Disciplined Dreaming: Summer & Seamless Enrollment Updates

As announced in November, Northwood is pursuing a variety of new initiatives–which came out of our Disciplined Dreaming exercises–aimed at better positioning the University in the increasingly competitive marketplace for higher education. Two of those initiatives are Summer Enrollment and Seamless Enrollment.

In the 2012 summer semester, Northwood will offer a 25% discount on tuition for all students taking classes on our residential campuses in Florida, Michigan, and Texas. This will enable students to complete on-campus course work for just $477 per credit hour. Online, weekend express, and one-week condensed classes as well as independent studies, internships, and practicums will not be included in the discount.

“This is a good way to drive summer enrollment meeting the needs of current NU students and attracting some guest students,” explained John Young, Vice President of Marketing and Enrollment Management. “Students who have looked elsewhere to complete courses over the summer now have a financial incentive to stay on campus and work toward finishing their degree in four years,” he continued.

Looking further down the road, Northwood faculty and staff system wide have comprehensively analyzed the particulars involved in the Seamless Enrollment initiative and revised the implementation timeline to ensure that we accomplish the objectives correctly and sensibly. As a result of this analysis, we are referring to this initiative as Seamless Enrollment/Flexible Delivery, the purpose being ensuring that we expand our capacity to delivery learning when, where and how our students need it. As of today, our Seamless Enrollment/Flexible Delivery plan is as follows:

  • In fall 2012, Northwood will offer both 16-week online and evening sections to meet the needs of our residential students
  • Prior to fully implementing the Seamless Enrollment/Flexible Delivery initiative we will address the differences in tuition, corridor pricing, scholarships, and policies regarding withdrawal, add/drop, attendance, etc.
  • In view of the above, we are targeting full implementation by Fall 2013.

Concurrently, we will expand our online capacity and assure quality and consistency through collaborative efforts between the Deans’ Council and faculty members across ONE Northwood.

Northwood Transfers Margaret Chase Smith Library to the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation & University of Maine

Effective January 1, 2012 Northwood will transfer ownership and control of the Margaret Chase Smith Library to the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation and operation of the library to the University of Maine. Dedicated in 1982, the library is home to a museum and Congressional archive that chronicle the life and ground-breaking career of Senator Smith who was first in many regards, including: the first woman to be elected to both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and the first woman to be nominated during a major party convention for U.S. President.

Following politics, she embarked on a second career in education, including a long and fruitful relationship with Northwood University. In 1976, she was named to the highly esteemed group of Northwood University Distinguished Women and from 1978 to 1981 she served as Chair of Northwood’s National Women’s Board, traveling America coast to coast to speak to, meet with, and organize its nearly 5,000 members. Throughout, Smith never wavered in her mission to inculcate a sense of civic duty and engagement, especially on the part of our youth, and dedicated much of her time and energy to promoting and teaching the art of public service and community engagement.

In August of 1982, in partnership with Northwood University, the library bearing her name was dedicated. To this day, it serves as an active center for study and research, museum, archive, and public policy center.

Widely revered for so many enduring accomplishments in education, she was the recipient of ninety-five honorary degrees, including one from Northwood University. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor a U.S. citizen can receive.

Following a brief illness, Senator Margaret Chase Smith passed away at the age of 97 on May 29, 1995.

“We believe this will be beneficial for all involved,” remarked Kristin Stehouwer, Executive Vice President, Chief Academic Officer. “This will allow Northwood to carry forward Senator Smith’s legacy in new ways and for the library to be affiliated with a Maine institution and even better serve the citizens of that state.”

And although we are handing over control of the library that bears her name we will never forsake Margaret Chase Smith’s fine example and influence, especially as a role model for our women faculty, staff, and students. As Dr. Stehouwer noted, “Senator Smith’s legacy is deeply rooted at Northwood and will bear fruit in our community for decades to come.”

Have a great weekend.


Keith A. Pretty, J.D.
President and CEO
Northwood University
4000 Whiting Drive
Midland, MI 48640
989.837.4203 (phone)
989.832.9590 (fax)