March 22, 2013

Fifty-Four Years Later, The Northwood Idea Still Drives Us

Tomorrow, Saturday March 23, marks the 54th Anniversary of Northwood University’s founding. As system-wide Founders’ Day celebrations and Values Emphasis Week activities remind us, the core principles that led Drs. Arthur Turner and Gary Stauffer to launch Northwood Institute in 1959 still drive us today.

Florida Campus

On Thursday March 21, our Florida Seahawks welcomed Northwood President Emeritus Dr. David E. Fry and Mr. Malcolm Pray, award-winning automotive dealer and founding member and past president of the American International Auto Dealers Association (AIADA).

Dr. Fry opened the event by talking about Northwood’s history and Mr. Pray delivered the keynote address, highlighting the different ways he integrated Northwood values into his professional and philanthropic works over the course of his career.

Following his work at a small import car dealership in Greenwich, Connecticut, Pray went on to launch a complex of national auto dealerships which he ran for 45 years. The foundation of his success, something unknown to non-domestic car owners in the 1960s, was service. As Pray noted, customer satisfaction was the most important element to his success as an entrepreneur and civic leader.

A past chairman and president of several organizations—including the National Volkswagen Dealer Council, the National Porsche Audi Dealer Council, the Connecticut Volkswagen Dealers Association and the Greenwich Automobile Dealers Association—Pray is the recipient of the Time Quality Dealer Award; Connecticut Automotive Trades “Dealer of the Year": and the Sports Illustrated Dealer of Distinction Award.

Michigan Campus

On Monday March 25, Timberwolf students, faculty, and staff will celebrate Founders’ Day with a dessert celebration and picture display highlighting Northwood’s development and growth over 54 years.

As part of its Values Emphasis Week activities, the Michigan campus also welcomed two speakers who shared their experiences and insights about the importance of sound values and ethics in everyday business.

On Tuesday March 19, Mr. John Clemente, the principal broker and owner of Somerset Commercial Real Estate LLC, drew upon his 35 years of experience in commercial real estate to speak about “The Value of Real Estate Management.”

Northwood alumnus Brian Bromley followed on Thursday March 21 with a presentation on “Ethics in Banking.” The senior vice president of Huntington Bank-Grand Rapids, Bromley has worked in management positions for Empire National Bank in Traverse City and Huntington National Bank in both Traverse City and Grand Rapids.

Texas Campus

Our Texas campus will honor Founder’s Day on Friday March 27. 

Keeping with its theme for the year, “Catch the Experience,” the Knights will participate in a variety of events and activities, each exemplifying an important element of Northwood’s unique value proposition, including the place of student leaders in planning and hosting events. 

Students from our Fashion Marketing, Entertainment, Sport and Promotion Management, and Aftermarket Automotive Marketing and Management degree programs are actively partnering with Northwood staff and faculty on the Founders' Day Committee. Events include: 

  • 12th Annual Auto Show
  • 10th Annual Fashion show
  • Live music
  • Lunch with a “Students v. Faculty/Staff Softball Game”
  • A “Partners-in-Education Recognition” event honoring individuals and organizations that have generously assisted Northwood Texas

Another highlight of the day includes Dr. Dennis McCuiston, longtime Northwood supporter, Gallery of Distinction member, and host of the nationally syndicated PBS show “McCuistion” who will moderate a panel discussion on the topic, “Sports and Economics,” featuring  a “Who’s Who?” of Texas sports star panelists: 

  • Randy Galloway, host of “Galloway and Company,” on ESPN Radio's Dallas affiliate KESN 103.3 FM and ESPN Xtra on XM Radio. A writer and columnist for the Dallas Morning News from 1966 through 1998, Galloway is a columnist with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995.
  • Dale Hansen, weeknight sports anchor and host of “Dale Hansen's Sports Special” on WFAA in Dallas Fort Worth. Hansen is a past recipient of the George Foster Peabody Award for Distinguished Journalism and the duPont-Columbia Award.
  • Joran Woy, founding partner of Willis & Woy Sports Group LLC, a corporation representing top NFL players. Woy was ranked as one of the top ten football agents in the business by Sports Illustrated and USA Today.

Drs. Arthur Turner and Gary Stauffer launched Northwood on the belief that individual liberty, creativity, and free enterprise provided a powerful and productive combination for success. And the hallmark of it all was personal responsibility.

Fifty-four years later, that same vision is stronger and deeper than ever. As Larry Lindsey, dean of students on our Michigan campus observed, “Everything we do, especially in business, has an ethical quality. It expresses a value of some kind.”

He’s right. And that’s why we make such an important point each year to celebrate our founders and the values that lie at the heart of The Northwood Idea.  

Have a great weekend.


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