Northwood University 39th Annual Stafford Dinner a Big Hit

Ice Sculpture
Table Centerpiece

Northwood University’s Hospitality Management program hosted the 39th Annual Stafford Dinner on Saturday, March 1, 2014, in the Hach Student Life Center located on Northwood’s Michigan Campus. The event filled the venue with nearly 200 guests and helped to raise money for scholarships supporting the Hospitality Management program.

The “Winter in the Woods” theme welcomed alumni and guests alike to enjoy a completely student-run reception, dinner, silent auction, live entertainment and a student-arranged keynote speaker. The dinner event took 11 months to plan and can be credited to the 13-member executive board who were led by their advisors, Dr. Julie Tkach, Chef Taffy Cline and Christopher Wakeman.

Guests were dazzled by local painting and singing duo Empty Canvas. These twin brothers performed in such a way that immensely entertained the guests, singing well-known hits while also painting. The original art piece was successfully auctioned off at the end of the night by Jerry O’Donnell, the voice of Dow Diamond, who served as the guest auctioneer for the night.

The keynote speaker for the evening was Kathleen Vertin, a Northwood alumna and board of trustees member. She is the well-established founder and owner of The Snug Theatre which is located on the St. Clair River in Marine City. Vertin successfully works to combine business and the arts together while setting a wonderful example of maintaining personal relationships with guests.

The Northwood University Hospitality students were excited to participate in such a noteworthy event. The Stafford Dinner continues to serve a vital role in these students’ education and practical experience.


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 two full-service, residential campuses located in southern Florida and mid-Michigan. Adult Degree Programs are available in seven states with many course delivery options including online. The DeVos Graduate School offers accelerated, evening and weekend programming in Michigan, Texas and Florida. 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 China (Changchun and Wuxi), Malaysia and Sri Lanka.