by Samantha Bankey - Nov. 12, 2012
When Mark Schuelke started working at Ferris State University, he planned to stay about five years and then move on to advance his career. Twenty years later, he said he wouldn’t be anywhere else.
“With my job at the Rankin Center, no two days are ever the same,” Schuelke said. “I have never had to sit around and watch the clock. I stay active, and I’m involved with students. I like my job, so why would I want to go anywhere else?”
Schuelke enrolled at Ferris State College in 1977 to study recreation, specializing in parks. It was his goal to become an officer with the Department of Natural Resources to reflect his love of the outdoors – fishing, hunting, boating and everything else the outdoors entails. After graduating in 1981, he and his wife moved to Ypsilanti, where Schuelke worked in the Outdoors department at JC Penney. Retail wasn’t his thing, so Schuelke went back to Ferris to get his transcripts and begin the search for a new job. That’s when he discovered a posting for director of Student Programming at the University and decided to apply. He’s been a Bulldog ever since.
While he enjoyed his job, several years of working evening events began to take a toll. He came home one night, in 1990, to hear something that prompted him to reevaluate his position.
“My 6-year-old son told my wife ‘Daddy is never home at night,’ and that really hurt me,” Schuelke said. “So I took a job as director of the Rankin Student Center to give me more time with my family.”
The position certainly isn’t less demanding.
“People call me the ‘main-man’ of Rankin,” he said. “I oversee the entire facility – nights, weekends, conferencing space, staff, student workers, you name it. We run about 3,600 events per year in this facility, and my staff and I take pride in making sure those events are successful. We are the experts.”
With the upcoming renovation of the Rankin Student Center into a more modern University Center, Schuelke’s job is about to take on new challenges. Offices will move to Helen Ferris Hall during the renovation, and transfers of data, equipment and phone lines have to be made. Events that normally take place in the facility, including the Dome Room, will have to be moved to alternate locations. Work is under way to finalize the renovation plan; work could begin in the spring or summer of 2013.
“Students are tired of sharing a space with the community, so they want a place that’s theirs,” Schuelke said. “We’ll be updating services and locations and giving students an easy-to-navigate facility.”
Schuelke has taken on several projects and been recognized for those accomplishments during his time at Ferris. He has served as the Interfraternity Council advisor since 1996, and was named IFC Advisor of the Year in 2002. He was awarded the Distinguished Staff Award in 2001 in recognition of his work ethic and was honored as grand marshal of the Homecoming Parade in 2002. He also received Student Leadership and Activities’ Outstanding Advisor Award in 2008. He said it’s been an honor to be recognized.
“I’m giving back to the university that gave to me,” Schuelke said. “Woodbridge Ferris always talked about opportunity. To see Ferris give all students from all backgrounds the opportunity to succeed is my favorite thing about this university. I love working with students to help make success happen.”
Samantha Bankey is a News Services student writer in University Advancement and Marketing.
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