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Students unveil theme of 2024 Stafford Dinner

December 6, 2023

Northwood University students have announced the theme of the 49th Annual Stafford Dinner, which will be hosted at the Holiday Inn in Midland.

“This year, we’re taking the Stafford Dinner to an unprecedented level with our ‘Stafford’s Saloon’ theme. We are meticulously crafting every detail, from saloon-style entry doors to western line dancing lessons, to immerse our guests in the authentic atmosphere of the old West,” stated Hailey Granata, a student from Hillsdale who is this year’s entertainment and procurement chair.

“A western-style dinner has never been done in the 48-year history of the Stafford Dinner, so why not try something new?” stated Nicolas Tolliver, a student from Chelsea, Michigan, who is this year’s food and beverage chair. “This is a significant period in our history, and it will be fun to emphasize the Wild West setting. We have been extremely fortunate as a board to not only be creative but take the reins when it comes to deciding how we want our guests to experience our theme. There will be food and fun, but most of all, an exciting opportunity for all, thanks to Northwood students and the Stafford Dinner Executive Board.”

The Stafford Dinner is a yearly student-led event held in memory of the first chairman, Mr. William D. Stafford, who directed the Hotel, Restaurant & Resort Management Department at Northwood University from 1969 – 1972.

The annual dinner gives students a hands-on hospitality experience, as everything is planned, prepared, and executed by an executive board of students. These students manage the marketing, logistics, food and beverage, fundraising, entertainment, procurement, service, decorations, registration, and other specialties.

This year’s student organizers are excited to host the Stafford Dinner at the Holiday Inn, which is managed by Gina Bauschatz, a Northwood alumna.

The advisors for this year’s Stafford Dinner are Nicholas Hamilton, Karla Spaeth, and Laura Rhodes. The other Stafford Dinner Executive Board members who are responsible for bringing this saloon to life include:

• Mackenzie Carter —PR, marketing, and invitations chair – Oxford, Michigan

• Emily Upton — service chair – Oxford, Michigan

• Taylor Brown — fundraising chair – Birch Run

• Morgan Bryce — decorations chair – Birch Run

• Delaine Lucas — registration chair – Fenton

All proceeds from the dinner, silent auction and further contributions will go directly to the Stafford Dinner Memorial Scholarship, which will be awarded to multiple students the night of the feast.

To purchase tickets, or be one of this extravagant evening’s sponsors, visit

More information about the upcoming Stafford Dinner will be posted at nu_stafforddinner on Instagram and Stafford Dinner on Facebook. You also can contact Nicholas Hamilton at or (989) 837-4844 with further questions.

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