July 20, 2012

A Steady & Focused Pace Wins the Day

Today marks the 43rd anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s inaugural walk on the moon. Looking back to that incredible moment in 1969 from the vantage point of today, when we carry more power in our smartphones than the super computers of the ‘60s era, we might be tempted to overlook the significance of that event and of those leading to it. But to do so is to miss a fundamental and important point that is all the more relevant to us at Northwood University today.

Accomplishments like Armstrong’s walk on the moon, the super computer, and smartphones are the result of a steady and focused determination to turn a vision into reality. Armstrong’s feat can be traced to President John F. Kennedy’s speech to Congress on May 25, 1961 when he urged the U.S. to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade and even more to the Soviet Union’s launch of the Sputnik satellite on October 4, 1957.

The latter date is extremely important in the history of our University because it was the day after this, October 5, 1957, when Arthur Turner thought to himself, “If we are all going to the moon, then someone is going to have manage the trip.” It was at this point that he, along with Gary Stauffer, began to plan the business school that would one day first become Northwood Institute and then Northwood University.

History continues to confirm the value of Turner and Stauffer’s vision. As the experience of America and nations around the world demonstrates, the dynamics of free people, free markets, open borders, and moral values provide more and better opportunities for all. But if that were not enough, the very fact that it is entrepreneurs who are making space flights today, rather than NASA, is a reminder that time, patience, and belief in a vision are fundamental to success.

As we at Northwood move forward on the many important projects before us—from increased enrollment, new degree programs, and marketing campaigns to alumni cultivation, the public phase of our Capital Campaign, and ongoing improvements system-wide—we must remember our success lies in a daily focus on the plans before us and a constant determination to achieve. We may not “put a man on the moon” but as the history of the space program and Northwood University demonstrate, we can move from vision to reality in a relatively short amount of time.

Have a great weekend!


Keith A. Pretty, J.D.
President and CEO
Northwood University
4000 Whiting Drive
Midland, MI 48640