September 6, 2013

2013-14 Academic Year Off to a Great Start

Convocation has a long and important history at Northwood University but this year’s gatherings have taken on a new level of meaning as we celebrate a year of anniversaries, in addition to a number of other successes, at Northwood University: 

  • The 50th anniversary of completely student-run, outdoor Auto Show on our Michigan campus
  • The 40th anniversary of the publication of Dr. V. Orval Watts essay The Northwood Idea
  • The 30th anniversary of the Northwood Florida campus, and…
  • The 20th anniversary of the Richard M. DeVos Graduate School of Management

System wide, we are honoring the achievements of two pillars of Northwood University: Dr. V. Orval Watts’s 1973 signature essay, The Northwood Idea and the Richard M. DeVos Graduate School of Management. While Dr. Watts gave formal expression to an Idea that started with Northwood’s co-founders Drs. Arthur Turner and Gary Stauffer over 54 years ago, the DeVos Graduate School, like its namesake, is driven by a process that truly differentiate both the school and our graduates from our competitors.

“Northwood Florida Celebrates 30 Years: 1984-2014”

On Tuesday, August 27 members of our West Palm Beach campus gathered to celebrate Convocation. In addition to the topics of studying, work, increased community engagement, and dreaming big in the coming year, Convocation in Florida centered on the campus theme of “Northwood Florida Celebrates 30 Years: 1984-2014.”

Paying tribute to a vision that became reality in 1984 when Northwood Florida opened its doors for business, the Seahawk nation paused to reflect on the Florida campus’s role as a vibrant and growing part of Northwood University’s international footprint and an essential element of our mission to educate the future leaders of a global, free enterprise society.

Texas Knights “Own the Experience”

On Thursday, August 29 our Northwood Texas Knights convened around the campus theme “Own the Experience.” Following last year’s theme of “Catch the Experience,” the Texas campus is focused on utilizing the fullness of the unique educational experience that Northwood University offers.

In that same spirit, our Cedar Hill campus took the opportunity to recognize some of the more recent successes of its students, athletes, faculty and staff which epitomize “owning the experience.” In addition to celebrating the achievements of its spring sports teams and athletes, Northwood Texas celebrated its move to the Sooner Athletic Conference as well as being named “Corporate Partner of the Year” by the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization for this region.

“Connecting Campus & Community” in Michigan

This past Tuesday, September 3, the Michigan campus kicked-off the year centered on the theme “Connecting Campus & Community” which speaks to the benefit of being members of this university.

One example of how we are communicating this message is the dedication of the new gateway at the intersection of Main Street and University Drive. This beautiful entrance not only links the campus more closely to people and businesses in the area but it does so in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and symbolic, featuring the field stone that Herbert H. Dow first encountered when he moved his business to Midland over a century ago.  

In this same spirit, the Michigan campus also recognized two individuals—one a longtime faculty member and the other a longtime supporter—who are living examples of the power of this very connection.

Following his retirement earlier this year Dr. Gene Beckham was named “Professor Emeritus” in recognition of his outstanding professional achievement and service to the University. In keeping with our philosophy, emeritus status is not automatic but rather earned through a consistent record of performance, demonstrating exceptional teaching and educational contributions as well as outstanding service to the University—and Gene did just that in his over 24 years of service to Northwood.

Building on a tradition that started in 2005 with the first such award going to its namesakes, Northwood University Trustees, Dr. Robert E. and Dr. Patricia L. Naegele, the Michigan campus honored longtime Northwood supporter E.N. “Ned” Brandt for his service to the University and his generosity of time and treasure in improving both our campus facilities and academic scholarship fund.

A Common but Powerful Principle

In each of these celebrations and in those that will follow system wide, all of Northwood is united by a common but powerful principle: free, enterprising, and creative individuals at work in a free, enterprising, and creative society produce more and better opportunities and a higher standard of living for everyone. Let’s keep this at the forefront of all we are and do in the coming year and let’s work together to make this Northwood University’s best year yet! 

Have a great weekend!


Keith A. Pretty, J.D.

President and CEO
Northwood University
4000 Whiting Drive
Midland, MI 48640