Mr. William D. Stafford was the first chairman of the Hotel, Restaurant & Resort Management Department at Northwood Institute. From 1969 to 1972, Mr. Stafford shared his knowledge about the hospitality industry and incorporated it into the curriculum. Stafford Dinner was created in memory of our founder. This night introduces students to hands-on skills and real work experience as they step out of the classroom and provide you, our guests, with an amazing evening. These students have planned, prepared and implemented this evening’s festivities for your enjoyment.

We salute both Mr. William Stafford and Mrs. Ethel Stafford for their guidance, support and passion for both the industry and the students.

Executive Board

Allison Earnest


Emily Wright

Vice Chair

Ashley Phillips

Food and Beverage Co-Chair

Macaiah Smith

Food and Beverage Co-Chair

Kristina Grittini

Logistics Chair

Highlights of the Evening

  • Strolling style dinner featuring a salad station, carving station, gnocchi and risotto, and a plated dessert.
  • Entertainment provided by Empty Canvas, painting the scenery of a greenhouse to be auctioned off at the conclusion of the evening.
  • In addition to this exciting evening, guests will have the opportunity to participate in multiple activities. This will include bidding on a variety of silent auction items, Scholarship Seconds; sixty electrifying seconds to donate by cash, check, or credit card.
  • Net proceeds directly support Northwood University Hospitality Program Scholarships.

Guest Speaker

Dave E. Kepler


TCP Investments

Sanford, Michigan

Former Executive Vice President

The Dow Chemical Company

D E (Dave) Kepler graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. He is a former Executive Vice President of The Dow Chemical Company for Business Services and its former Chief Information Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer.

Kepler’s 39-year career spanned roles in information technology, supply chain, operations, marketing and business management. He joined Dow in Pittsburg, California in 1975 and had geographic assignments in the United States, Canada and the Pacific. After his retirement from Dow, Kepler knew he wanted to give back. He and his family engage in multiple social and economic impacting investments within Midland County, Michigan, including the Midland Brewing Company, Cottage Creamery, the Lazy Turtle Ranch and other real estate projects currently in the works such as Pathways Common apartments, and a downtown development that will soon host a Gratzi Italian Restaurant.

Kepler is a true entrepreneur, and in addition has been appointed to multiple public boards. He is currently on the board of directors of three public companies: TD Bank Group (TD), headquartered in Toronto, Teradata Corporation (TDC), an analytical data solutions company and Autoliv (ALV), a manufacturer, and supplier of automotive safety systems. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of California, Berkeley Foundation.

Kepler resides in Sanford, Michigan, with his wife Patti, where both are actively engaged in many community organizations and services, including chairing the United Way’s Alex de Tocqueville Society, the board Michigan Baseball foundation, and leadership of Momentum Midland, which is focused on public and private investments for economic development.

Stafford Sponsorship

All pledges/donations due by February 10th

By becoming a sponsor, you not only support the Stafford Dinner, you are also opening the door for our students to gain real world experience and hands on skills along with gratification from their accomplishments as they continue their education at Northwood University.