Northwood University
Values Emphasis Week


Northwood University’s Values Emphasis Week offers a formal, yearly opportunity for students, faculty and staff to reflect on moral and ethical values relating to their personal lives, involvement in the community, and their work in the world of business. It originated in 1979 with guidance from the ministerial staff at Memorial Presbyterian Church in Midland, Michigan. Guest speakers are invited to address these issues and share their experiences and expertise with the campus community.

The Northwood University community of students, faculty, and staff affirm this code of ethics as the behaviors that advance our shared values:

  • Freedom:
    We will exercise personal freedom while insuring others be immune from arbitrary interference on account of condition or circumstance, insuring that freedom will be constrained only by our responsibility for its consequences.
  • Respect:
    We will treat all others with consideration for their circumstances and with thoughtful regard for their value as human beings.
  • Empathy:
    We will endeavor to understand the feelings, thoughts and notions of others in order that compassion and fairness of our actions may result.
  • Spirituality:
    We will seek the spiritual development necessary for our happiness and growth and encourage an environment that supports this growth for all.
  • Honesty:
    We will embrace truthfulness, fairness, probity and demand the absence of fraud or deceit in ourselves and others with whom we act.
  • Achievement:
    We will exercise our skills to create high achievement and applaud the high achievement of others.
  • Integrity:
    In all our actions, we shall be guided by a code of behavior which reflects our values, unimpeded by circumstance, personal gain, public pressure or private temptation.
  • Responsibility:
    We will be accountable for the care and welfare of others and responsible for the intended and unintended consequences of our actions.


Tuesday March 19, 5:30 PM Griswold Lecture Hall:
Larkin O'Hern
Cory Kastl

Larkin O'Hern

Larkin O’Hern was born in Tacoma, WA and grew up in a military family before graduating from Belton High School in Belton, TX in 2004. He commissioned from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2008. After completing the Infantry Office Basic Course, Airborne School and Ranger School at Ft. Benning, GA he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell, KY Air Assault, Airborne, where he served as a rifle platoon leader. He deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in June of 2010, and after seven months in Afghanistan, was severely wounded on December 30, suffering the loss of both legs and a hand. He was medevac’d to Brooke Army Medical Center on Ft Sam Houston, TX where he spent six weeks inpatient before getting discharged and beginning his rehabilitation. In the course of his two and half year recovery Larkin completed the Defense Strategy Course and worked as a Future Operations Planner at US Army North in preparation to continue on active duty.

In the spring of 2013 Larkin was approved by the Army to continue on active duty and selected to serve as an Army Congressional Fellow in Washington, DC. He earned a Master’s Degree in Legislative Affairs from George Washington University and served as the Defense Legislative Fellow for U.S. Senator Patty Murray before being assigned to the Office of Chief Legislative Liaison as a Legislative Liaison.

Cory Kastl

CPT Kastl is a native of Midland, MI. Cory graduated from the United States Military Academy with a degree in Business Management with a concentration in Systems Engineering and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry in 2008.
After completion of the Infantry Officer Basic Course, CPT Kastl was assigned to the 2nd BCT of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, KY. During his time in the 101st, CPT Kastl served as a Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer and deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

In 2012, CPT Kastl graduated from the Maneuver Captain’s Career Course and was assigned to 3rd SBCT, 7th Infantry Division. While at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, CPT Kastl served as a Battalion Assistant Operations Officer, and Commander of A/2-3 IN. He also served as the Commander of HHC/2-3 IN and participated in Pacific Pathways 16-01. In 2017, CPT Kastl was selected for the Army Congressional Fellowship where he served as the Defense Fellow for Representative Paul Cook from California. He currently serves as a Legislative Liaison for Army Personnel.
Cory’s military education includes the Basic Officer Leader Course II, Infantry Basic Officer Leadership course, Maneuver Captain’s Career Course, and Combatives Level 2. In addition, Cory has a Masters in Legislative Affairs from George Washington University.
CPT Kastl’s awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster and valor device, the Army Achievement Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Valorous Unit Award. Cory is authorized to wear the Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Air Assault Badge, Parachutist Badge, and the German Proficiency Badge (Gold).

Wednesday March 20, 5:30 PM Griswold Lecture Hall:
Maria Rose Belding

Maria Rose Belding

American University student Maria Rose Belding (BS public health '19) has been named a CNN Hero – joining the ranks of more than 300 “everyday people changing the world” who have been honored by CNN for their efforts to make the world a better place. Belding was recognized for her work to get excess food to hungry Americans. Belding, who grew up working in her church’s food pantry in rural Iowa, believes it should be easy for those with excess food to share it with people who are hungry. But at the pantry, she regularly saw overstocks of food that went to waste, while other types of foods were desperately needed. There was no way to coordinate with other food pantries, or with organizations that had excess food. Belding was in high school when she first brainstormed the idea of building an online food database to connect food donors with organizations that needed food. But it wasn’t until her first year at American University that she launched the Matching Excess and Need for Stability MEANS DATABASE, a free online network that connects thousands of food pantries, soup kitchens, and other non-profits with donors of surplus food. The donors include grocery stores, caterers, food retailers, and even other food pantries. In all, approximately 3,000 groups are involved in the MEANS database.

Since 2015, MEANS has helped redistribute more than 1.8 million pounds of food. Its work has been recognized by the Washington Post, National Review, Starbucks and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Belding's work has been recognized by the Sodexo Foundation, Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, and the Obama White House (President's Volunteer Service awards in 2014 and 2016), along with the international Clinton Hunger Leadership Prize and L'Oreal Women of Worth award in 2015.

Thursday March 21, 5:30 PM Riepma Arena:
Sandy Schwartz - President, Cox Automotive

Sandy Schwartz

Sandy Schwartz is President of Cox Automotive, a global automotive services and software company whose vision is to transform the way the world buys, sells, owns and uses cars. Under his leadership, Cox Automotive has assembled and integrated a family of brands that together make car dealers more successful and car buyers more satisfied, including auto industry leaders such as Autotrader,, Dealertrack, Kelley Blue Book, Manheim, NextGear Capital, vAuto and Xtime. His career at Cox spans three decades, seventeen jobs and countless frequent flier miles, but has been focused on two things he loves: newspapers and cars. He has helmed both Cox Media Group and Cox Automotive, subsidiaries of family-owned Cox Enterprises, and been a key member of the leadership team that has grown the private company to $20 billion revenue and 60,000 employees.

After early days as an ink-stained sports reporter, Sandy found his name on the top of the masthead of the Austin American-Statesman and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as well as atop Cox’s newspaper and publishing groups. And as a self-described “car guy” whose garage houses an EV and an American muscle classic, he’s right at home with the breadth of Cox Automotive’s reach in the auto industry – from in-lane auctions to online vehicle listings to open platform dealership software. He has helped to build this unrivaled portfolio by nurturing organic growth at Autotrader and Manheim, seamlessly integrating software start-ups such as vAuto and Xtime, as well as orchestrating the blockbuster acquisition of Dealertrack and in a $4 billion, all-cash deal that was the largest in Cox Enterprises’ 100+ year history. Along the way, he has fostered a family-first ethic and an Open, Honest & Direct culture that routinely ranks Cox Automotive among the best places to work.

Sandy grew up in Ohio helping out with his father’s window installation business and manning second base for various school baseball teams, applying those lessons and his journalism studies at The Ohio State University to his successful business career and extensive community service, including leadership positions at the A.C. Green Youth Foundation and the American Red Cross of Metropolitan Atlanta.

Want to Know More About Northwood?

Northwood University is committed to the most personal attention to prepare students for success in their careers and in their communities; it promotes critical thinking skills, personal effectiveness, and the importance of ethics, individual freedom and responsibility.

Private, nonprofit, and accredited, Northwood University specializes in managerial and entrepreneurial education at a full-service, residential campus located in mid-Michigan. Adult Degree Programs are available in eight states with many course delivery options including an online option. The DeVos Graduate School offers day, evening and weekend programming in Michigan and Texas. The Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity and Enterprise provides system-wide expertise in family enterprise, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and new business development. International education is offered through study abroad and in Program Centers in Switzerland, China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

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