Trustees OK Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center; Recognize Athletics Success

Ferris State UniversityFerris State University’s Board of Trustees approved the administration’s request to proceed with final design, planning and related tasks for its future Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center at Katke Golf Course during its regular meeting on Friday, Dec. 15 in Big Rapids. The board also offered special recognition to the football and volleyball teams for their outstanding fall athletics season.

The trustees’ approval of the $3.5 million Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center allows golf-management students, as well as the public, to benefit from state-of-the-art technology hosted in a professional setting as part of their golf-related instruction. In 2013, to further maximize this investment, the university reached an agreement, with the Michigan Golf Foundation, that has relocated the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame to Katke Golf Course. The vision for the new facility is to include indoor/outdoor hitting bays, a large indoor putting green, dedicated area to feature the historic artifacts of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame and associated support spaces. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2018, and is expected to be completed by late 2018 or early 2019.

The trustees, and Ferris President David Eisler, presented citations of merit to the Bulldog volleyball and football teams in recognition of great team and individual performances during the fall.

Under the direction of head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm, the volleyball team won its fourth-straight Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships, in 2017. It is the first time in GLIAC history a team has won the volleyball regular-season title and the tournament title for four consecutive seasons. The seniors, the last four seasons, have amassed a record of 111-23 overall and 63-6 in the GLIAC. The trustees recognized several volleyball student-athletes, including sophomore outside hitter Allyson Cappel and senior middle hitter Ayanna Buckley, as American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II Honorable Mention All-Americans. Additionally, Cappel was named the GLIAC Player of the Year and GLIAC Attacker of the Year.

The football team, under the leadership of head coach Tony Annese, finished its 2017 campaign with a record of 11-2 overall and 8-1 in the GLIAC. The Bulldogs advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs. Additionally, the 2017 season marked the fourth-consecutive year the football team has won at least 11 games – a first in program history. The team’s overall record, the last four seasons, is 45-7. Among student-athletes cited were a pair of American Football Coaches Association Division II All-Americans: junior defensive end Zach Sieler and senior cornerback Tavierre Thomas. Sieler was named GLIAC Defensive Lineman of the Year while Thomas was named GLIAC Defensive Back of the Year, in 2017.

In other Friday action, the trustees approved:

  • two new appointments to the boards of directors of FSU-authorized charter school academies;
  • reauthorizations of Battle Creek Montessori Academy, in Springfield; Connor Creek Academy West, in Roseville; and Michigan Connections Academy, in Okemos;
  • closure of the Associate in Arts, Pre-Social Work degree, in Spring 2018. A new degree program, Associate in Arts, Social Work, was recently developed to replace the AA, Pre-Social Work and allow for a smoother transition for students who continue to the Bachelor of Science, Social Work; and
  • entering into a contract with TimeClock Plus to replace the university’s existing timekeeping system.

The trustees are chair Paul E. Boyer, of Ada; vice chair Lori A. Gwizdala, of Bay City; secretary Ana L. Ramirez-Saenz, of Grand Rapids; immediate past chair Gary L. Granger, of Byron Center; Robert J. Hegbloom, of Clarkston; Amna P. Seibold, of East Grand Rapids; Rupesh K. Srivastava, of Wixom; and LaShanda R. Thomas, of Grosse Pointe.

The next regular meeting of the Board is Friday, Feb. 16, in Big Rapids. Committee meetings begin at 10 a.m. followed by the 11 a.m. full board meeting.


PICTURED: Shown here is a artist rendering of what Ferris State University's future Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center will look like, located at Katke Golf Course. Trustees approved the $3.5 million facility that wil allow golf-management students, as well as the public, to benefit from state-of-the-art technology hosted in a professional setting as part of their golf-related instruction. The facility will also serve as home to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.