August 23, 2013

Proven Beyond a Doubt

The enthusiasm and energy on our campuses this past week can only mean one thing: the fall semester is here, and with it a great deal of excitement for the 2013-14 academic year.

The week started with opening faculty meetings in preparation for the start of classes next week on Monday, August 26. In keeping with Northwood tradition, activities picked up throughout the week as we laid the groundwork for Move-In Day today, Friday August 23. System wide, Northwood student leaders, faculty, and staff—including yours truly and each of our campus Presidents—are assisting students as they move-in to their “home away from home” for the school year.

Following move-in, new and returning students alike will be treated to an abundance of welcome back activities throughout the weekend including student organization fairs, lunch and dinner events, games, dances, intramural sports, and socials, highlighting all the things campus life has to offer, including community engagement and leadership opportunities.

Northwood University Student-Athletes Lead the Way in Academics, Sports & Community Engagement

As our campuses come to life, it is our student-athletes who typically arrive first with some coming to campus as early as August 14. As it turns out, “early arrival” is not the only way our student-athletes rank first. In fact, this past year Northwood student-athletes registered extraordinary performances on all fronts: in the classroom, on the fields and courts of play, and in the communities we serve.

In Florida and Michigan, for example, our student-athletes registered a higher collective grade-point-average (GPA) than the rest of the student body on their respective campuses, while in Texas 42% of our student-athletes outranked the general student body. As if that was not enough, our Florida Seahawks, Michigan Timberwolves, and Texas Knights also led the way in serving a multitude of community organizations and events—with more planned for this academic year.

In Florida, our Men’s Basketball team traveled to a school in the mountain town of Cayey, Puerto Rico to help run basketball clinics as part of its Thanksgiving tournament trip to Puerto Rico, while our Women’s Volleyball team helped coach volleyball clinics for a variety of youth groups as part of its participation in the 19th Annual Kids Fitness Festival of the Palm Beaches. Both the Men’s and Women’s Golf teams volunteered their time and hard work at the PGA Honda Classic in West Palm Beach and this coming year, for the third season in a row, our Women’s Soccer Lady Seahawks will partner with Habitat for Humanity to assist with local community service projects during a three-day Habitat for Humanity Invitational Tournament.

In Michigan, student-athletes more than doubled their goal of 2,000 hours of community service with a grand total of 4,613 hours. The Football team led the way with 1,554 volunteer hours while Men’s Basketball (953), Men’s Soccer (768), Women’s Basketball (477), Baseball (175), Softball (160), and Women’s Soccer (108) each exceeded 100 volunteer hour mark. The Timberwolves’ effort was part of a larger Michigan campus program called Campus Connection, or C2, in which United Way Midland County, the Dow Chemical Company, and Northwood University students, faculty, and staff partner to serve area organizations and communities.

In Texas, the community engagement of our Northwood Knights centers on five “Champions of Character” values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership. And champions they are. Among the many accomplishments this past year, our Women’s Basketball team spent an entire day, including much of it in the rain, building a playground in Duncanville, Texas; our Baseball team “adopted” a young cancer patient; the Softball team read to grade school students at a Cedar Hill, Texas elementary school; and our Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams honored area fire and police officers during their annual tribute games.

Academic, competitive, and volunteer success are by no means unique in the world of collegiate athletics. What is, however, is the combination of all three as seen in success stories such as these. Like our growing alumni base and Northwood students on campuses and centers around the world, our student-athletes are reminding us Northwood University’s exceptionalism in the arena of higher education is proven beyond a doubt.

Have a great weekend.


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