June 14, 2013

A Culture of Giving

Giving is at the core of Northwood University’s philosophy as well as the ethics we teach in all our degree programs. It is a value that is esteemed and practiced system wide, from everyone who is making our Capital Campaign a success to those who volunteer their time and talent on campus and in service to countless causes in our communities.

As you may know, tuition revenues cover only a portion of the total cost of a Northwood University education. If not for the vision and generosity of those who support Northwood through their charitable donations, the cost for our students to attend our University would be much higher, and the quality of the campus life experience we offer would be more limited. So it is important for Northwood alumni to understand and appreciate the opportunity, even so much as the calling, to give back.

One way we are working to grow a culture of giving at Northwood is by working with our undergraduate students from day one—long before they join our alumni ranks. Programs like Campus Connection (C2), in partnership with United Way of Midland County and The Dow Chemical Company, connect our students, faculty, and staff with volunteer opportunities that support area non-profit organizations. The program complements our student EXCEL program by providing EXCEL credit to active and engaged students. And when they graduate they do so with an NU degree, a solid EXCEL transcript, and an established culture and mind-set for giving and giving back.

Yet another way we are cultivating a community of giving is through our Senior Gift program which was launched on our Michigan campus in 2009 and rolled out system wide thereafter. The aim of the program is to educate and engage our students to support their alma mater. As they learn that many of the most popular areas on campus, such as The Countess de Hoernle Student Life Center (FL), The Hach Student Life Center (MI), and the Swalwell Student Union (TX), were built with gifts, not tuition dollars, and further that their participation has a direct impact on the prestige of their degree, they come to appreciate and understand the need for active and engaged philanthropy on their part.

In turn, the Senior Gift program provides graduating students with their first big opportunity to support their alma mater by presenting something of value and significance to the entire Northwood community. In addition to leaving their mark on their campus, they build stronger ties to each other, their fellow alumni, and the entire University.

Senior Gifts to date include:


  • 2011: Seahawk Sculpture
  • 2012: Trophy Case for Countess de Hoernle Student Life Center
  • 2013: Inflatable Seahawk Head for Athletic, Alumni, and University events


  • 2009: Mall Walk Clock Tower
  • 2010: Mid-Caf Patio
  • 2011: Timberwolf Sculpture outside Bennett Center
  • 2012: Sand Volleyball Recreational Area for the Village Apartments
  • 2013: Computer Work Station Access (Sloan Family Building for Aftermarket Studies)


  • 2013: Outside Fire Pit and Knight's Park

Efforts like these are crucial to everyone’s long term well-being: that of our students, our campus communities, the communities we serve, and the global free-enterprise society that makes it all possible. Our philanthropic efforts and those of our students and alumni will serve our University well into our future.

Have a great weekend!


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