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Sculpture of Northwood founders to be unveiled

September 12, 2023

Next month, Northwood University will unveil a bronze sculpture of its founders, Arthur and Johann Turner and Gary and Willa Stauffer.

Arthur Turner and Gary Stauffer were two young educational entrepreneurs on Oct. 5, 1957, the day after the Soviet Union launched the first orbital satellite, Sputnik. As a 26-year-old administrator at Alma College, Turner sensed the challenge that lay ahead for the U.S. at the dawn of the Space Age. While the federal government and schools rushed to improve math and science instruction at the expense of business education, Turner surmised that such a mammoth endeavor as a national space program would require well-trained managers to marshal the creative talents of engineers and scientists.

“He thought to himself, ‘If we’re all going to the moon, then someone is going to have to manage the trip,’” according to ONE NORTHWOOD: The First Fifty Years, a publication outlining Northwood’s beginnings. “Cognizant of the mounting contest between two economic systems, capitalism and communism, in the aftermath of World War II, Turner fully placed his faith in free markets and private enterprise.”

Plans for a business school began to formulate in his mind, and he joined forces with Gary Stauffer to open the Northwood Institute in 1959. Northwood Institute would become an educational experiment with the mission to promote the principles and practice of American free enterprise.

“It would spread the gospel of entrepreneurial capitalism wherever a receptive audience might be found, without regard to geographical boundaries or social distinctions of gender, class, race or ethnicity,” states ONE NORTHWOOD: The First Fifty Years. “It would have the courage of its capitalist convictions not only to keep and teach the faith, but to ask confidently for assistance from leaders in the community, business and the arts. In this way, free enterprise built Northwood.”

The sculpture, which was created by sculptor Michael Alfano, will be dedicated from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, in Northwood University’s Founders Garden. The ceremony will feature messages from Jeffrey Stauffer, Gary Stauffer’s son, as well as Northwood President Kent MacDonald. To help with planning efforts, attendees are asked to RSVP here.

The dedication will take place during the Northwood University International Auto Show. Upon registering, attendees will receive a confirmation email with directions for parking.

For more information, contact Rhonda Sarafolean at 989-837-4356 or .

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