December 14, 2012

Weekly Message—December 14

Northwood-Led Study Changes Michigan and National Economies

In his book titled by the same phrase, Richard Weaver, an American scholar who taught English at the University of Chicago, reminds us, “Ideas have consequences.” The passage of freedom to work or right to work (RTW) legislation this week in Michigan is a prime example of one of the many ways Northwood University is putting that same principle to work throughout the world today.

The Michigan legislature’s decision to legally recognize the right of employees to personally decide whether to pay union dues is a milestone in U.S. economic history and the evolution of individual rights. And it will remain a focal point both in the legal and political dialogue and debate that are certain to follow as we look back at decisions that changed the course of history.

The dynamic forces which led to this legislation are many and varied but an important document that guided the passage of RTW in Michigan was the Michigan Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Michigan Economic Competitiveness Study, a report that was directed and largely produced by Northwood University faculty, staff, students, and alumni. When looking at growth rates in both RTW and non-RTW states, Michigan ranks 47 of the 50 U.S. states, a fact Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and leaders in the State legislature decided was simply unsound—especially with growing competition for jobs among neighboring states like Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin and other states beyond these where similar legislation had already been passed.

The reaction to this decision has been captivating, filling newspaper headlines from coast to coast. News stories and interviews from outlets such as the Detroit News and CNBC prominently feature Northwood University and our own Dr. Timothy Nash who organized and directed the team that conducted the study.

This is a very proud moment in our history and it reminds us of the power of The Northwood Idea. Please join me in celebrating and congratulating the following Northwood University faculty, staff, students, and alumni for their work in producing this study and its impact in bringing about this historic change:

  • Dr. Timothy G. Nash
  • Dr. Richard Ebeling
  • Dr. Adam Guerrero
  • Dr. John Grether
  • Adam N. Matzke
  • Joseph T. Nash
  • Charles Ruger

Dixie Maxwell (1935-2012)

On a more somber note, we are saddened to inform you of the passing of Dixie Dee Maxwell, a lady who had become a very respected colleague at Northwood University.

Dixie started her Northwood career in 1975, serving as administrative assistant to John Church, the then vice president of Development. From 1980 to 1983, she worked as Administrative Assistant to Northwood co-founder Arthur Turner. In 1992, she became our Scholarship Coordinator and in 1995 she was named Director of our Private Donor Scholarship program. In 2007, she became the Assistant Director of Advancement, Scholarships, a role which, like all the others, she was proud to hold until her retirement in 2011.

One of her most important positions at Northwood was one she shared with co-workers and close friends Pat Armstrong, Linda Dick, Violet Frable, and Dorothy Francis. Dubbed the “Golden Girls,” in tribute to the then popular T.V. show by the same name, Dixie and company were living reminders that experience produces a beauty, wisdom, and vitality that is timeless.

Looking back, it was a role she was destined to fulfill. In a career that spanned the Turner-Stauffer and Fry eras through to the present, Dixie was both witness to, and a very important part of, the many exciting and sometimes challenging developments and changes that took place at Northwood over the course of 36 years. Drawing on her experience and understanding of how the world works, she provided guidance, direction, and encouragement to countless Northwood students and fellow co-workers.

Dixie’s love and warmth with which she did everything—especially for our students—left an indelible mark on the lives and work she touched.

We are better people and Northwood University is a better place for having known and worked with Dixie Maxwell. We will miss her dearly but her impact will forever remain.


Keith A. Pretty, J.D.
President and CEO
Northwood University
4000 Whiting Drive
Midland, MI 48640