Symposium features Lt. Col. Dan Rooney, a fighter pilot, PGA professional, patriotic philanthropist, author and motivational speaker
Northwood University supporters and alumni gathered this weekend in Petoskey for the annual Bay Harbor Celebration Weekend.
“We all hold Northwood University dear, and our lives have been shaped in ways big and small by its influence and its mission,” stated Friday evening’s Emcee Chris Rusher, a Northwood University alumnus and Hall of Fame member, and dean of students at Beaverton Junior/Senior High School.
The annual Bay Harbor Celebration Weekend honors The Northwood Idea (Northwood’s guiding philosophy), and the principles of freedom, personal responsibility and individual worth. Friday’s event was held at the Bay Harbor Yacht Club in beautiful Northern Michigan. It was held to share Northwood University’s recent success and path forward, and to celebrate this year’s Wings of Freedom winners.
The Wings of Freedom award was instituted in 2021 to honor Northwood University’s own Dr. Dale Haywood. Haywood’s passion and commitment to a lifetime of teaching inspires Northwood to recognize individuals whose lives have similarly contributed to human progress, individual liberty, and economic and social prosperity.
Each recipient receives a replica of the “Freedom” sculpture found on Northwood University’s campus and Freedom Trail. The eagle is symbolic of Dr. Haywood’s commitment to liberty. It was installed in Founders Garden in 2019 through the generosity of hundreds of donors.
This year’s award recipients include former Northwood University President Dr. David E. Fry of Williamsburg; Lt. Col. Rooney; and Carol A. and David P. Williams of Midland.
The Williams are long-time Northwood University supporters, and Carol Williams was honored as a Northwood University Outstanding Business Leader in 2017 and is a member of the Outstanding Business Leader Executive Committee.
“David is a long-time leader in the financial and insurance industries, and has been an impactful supporter of Northwood for many years,” said Vanessa Collins, a Northwood sophomore from Clio, who is studying marketing communications and introduced the Williams Friday. “His insight and guidance have helped the university maintain leadership in educating future generations of industry leaders. The same can be said for Carol.”
Unfortunately, the Williams were not able to attend due to illness. The award was accepted on their behalf by long-time Northwood supporters Pam and Dick Boundy.
Dr. Fry’s award was presented by Banklay Camara, a junior who is studying accounting.
“It is fair to say that few people have had as big an impact on Northwood University as Dr. Fry,” Camara said. “Just five years after Northwood was founded, he joined the faculty as an economics instructor. He was among the early contributors to ‘When We Are Free,’ the book that has defined The Northwood Idea for thousands of students.”
When the time came for the university’s founders — Dr. Arthur E. Turner, Johann Turner, Dr. R. Gary Stauffer and Willa Stauffer — to step aside and let a new generation chart the course of the future, Dr. Fry was the first person chosen to step in as president.
“He served in that role for roughly a quarter century, as Northwood blossomed into the champion of free-enterprise that it has become,” Camara said. “ … Make no mistake, his crowning achievement is the thriving Northwood University we know today.
“Dr. Fry, your legacy lives on and we are so glad to honor you with the Wings of Freedom honor tonight,” stated Northwood President Kent MacDonald.
Rooney — a motivational speaker, fighter pilot, patriotic philanthropist, PGA professional, golf course developer and author — was presented his Wings of Freedom Award during the Bay Harbor Symposium Saturday at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts. During that event, Rooney presented a keynote address, “A Patriot’s Calling: Leadership, Teamwork, and Sacrifice.” It also was announced Northwood will be partnering with The Folds of Honor Foundation to provide scholarships for students of fallen or disabled service members who want to continue their education at Northwood University.
“We are so humbled and proud to partner with Northwood University,” Rooney said. “What a blessing – I call it a force multiplier. Northwood + Folds of Honor = changing lives.”
Justin Marshall, vice president of advancement and business development at Northwood University, noted Rooney’s life-story and purpose-driven life is an example for Northwood students, and motivation for others to use their freedom, and individual worth, to chase and achieve their dreams.