by Sandy Gholston - August 21, 2009
As Michael Wade was graduating from Ferris State University in 2006, he was envisioning what he could do to help inspire future generations of students — young men and young women following his recently-traveled path. Talented, young and with a bright future, there were no shortage of opportunities for Wade — beyond the Big Rapids campus of Ferris.
But, the opportunity Wade used to prove himself at Ferris touched something inside of him. As a student, he had opportunities to experience the mentoring of leaders who preceded him — leaders eager to push young people to see their dreams and vigorously pursue them as students at Ferris. Men like Raymond Gant, former director of Ferris' Office of Minority Student Affairs (now known as the Office of Multicultural Student Services) and Matt Chaney, current OMSS director, inspired him.
It was in large part due to such inspiration Wade chose to remain at Ferris after his graduation. Since then, he already has made a substantial impact as he has risen to become the assistant director for the OMSS. In this role, Wade has the power and influence to continue the cycle that inspired him to see the values of mentorship and education.
"Thanks to the influence of Raymond Gant, I realized the opportunity I could have in a career in education, as well as the opportunity to be an advocate for students on campus," Wade said. "As a student participating in various organizations, I understood the benefits of getting involved on campus and how that assisted in molding a fruitful foundation for any career.
"Now, as an administrator, I can help provide that access to students through the work that I do in the Office of Multicultural Student Services."
Wade proudly works at a University like Ferris that was established 125 years ago on the idea founder Woodbridge N. Ferris had to make education accessible to all people. Mr. Ferris, who believed awakened people could become accomplished people, once said, "I have always entertained the notion that the majority of mankind sleeps 24 hours a day. Awaken students to a realization of what it means to live, and they will have little difficulty in performance."
Support and inspiration are key pillars of the mission of Ferris' Office of Multicultural Student Services. In his role as assistant director of the office, Wade takes great pride in watching as young people mature, grow and develop from young freshmen, to campus leaders to community and industry leaders of the future.
"It is a blessing to be a part of a student's growth on campus," Wade said. "To see students matriculate and become outspoken leaders in their own right is amazing, and a goal every time I see a student. Every day I see an opportunity to be a resource and assist in building bridges for students on campus that will assist in their development on campus."
The mission is a continuing one.
Wade sees plenty of work to do as thousands of students begin returning to Ferris State University to begin fall semester. He believes that under the continued leadership of Matt Chaney, the foundation of OMSS continues to strengthen and embodies all of the core values of Ferris.
"In the future I see the Office of Multicultural Student Services continuing to be a platform for student success through advocacy, student leadership development, and educating the campus community on issues relating to multiculturalism," he said.
Who knows, perhaps the next great leader may become inspired by leaders in the OMSS as Wade once was as a college undergrad.