Fall Reunion Honors Golden Eagles Class of 1968, Alumni Association Award Winners

Ferris State University
(Above) Ferris State University recognized its Golden Eagles, the Class of 1968, during the annual Fall Reunion ceremony hosted on Friday, Sept. 28 at the University Center on the Big Rapids campus. (Below) A guest at the Fall Reunion takes a look at one of the Ferrisscope yearbooks on display inside the University Center.


Ferris State University’s Homecoming 2018 activities brought young and young-at-heart members of the Bulldog community together on Friday, Sept. 28, for the annual Fall Reunion, organized by the Alumni Association.

Director of Alumni Relations Brandi Behrenwald said the Alumni Association was pleased by Ferris State Universitythe response from, and participation of the Golden Eagles Class of 1968, whose activities included a bus tour of the Ferris campus and Big Rapids community on Sept. 28.

“We have offered this student-guided tour to our Golden Eagles for the second year,” Behrenwald said. “It is something the alumni very much enjoy. We are thankful for the collaboration with the University Center staff as UC Director Mark Schuelke also offered a facility tour. Mark takes care to show them how elements of the Rankin Center that they remember have been preserved.”

Golden Eagle alumnus Dennis Christian, a 1968 graduate of the Industrial Electronics program, participated in the tour and noted the considerable changes that have developed across campus since his time as a student.

“I think it is great and I am certainly hoping to catch up with some of my former classmates at the reunion,” Christian said. “Being here on campus still brings back a lot of good memories.”

Christian lives in Grand Rapids where he had established Custom Systems Support, Inc. and operated that business for more than 30 years.

“I do come back to find that campus keeps changing,” Christian said. “I was driving through with my wife a few years ago, and we actually ended up on a sidewalk as we looked around at all there was to see.”

Current Student Alumni Gold Club members Greg Brunner, a senior in Business Administration/Human Resources from St. Joseph, and Bre Frasher, a senior in the Public Health program from Beaverton, were honored at the Reunion as Above and Beyond Award winners. This tribute was established by Distinguished Alumnus John Bradac and his wife, Sue, to recognize SAGC members who encourage peers to assist in achieving the mission of the university.

The 2018 Pacesetter Awards were presented to:

  • Michael DeBolt, a 2009 graduate of Ferris’ Information Security and Intelligence program;

  • Kristin O’Brien, a Bachelor of Arts graduate of Ferris’ Applied Science program and the university’s Michigan College of Optometry in 2013; and

  • the late Elizabeth Wirgau, who earned an Associate of Applied Sciences in Architectural Technology from Ferris in 2004 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from Ferris’ Kendall College of Art and Design in 2006. Wirgau’s husband, Chris, a Ferris alumnus, accepted the award in her honor.

The Pacesetter Award was established by the Alumni Association in 1998 to recognize individuals who demonstrate leadership and service to their professions, community, service organizations and alma mater, and who, when nominated have graduated within the last 13 years.

The 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards were presented to:

  • Mark Beiderwieden, a 1985 graduate of the College of Business’ International Business program. Beiderwieden is the regional president of Amway Asia Pacific, and the Michigan native lives near Munich, Germany;

  • Brendan Locke, a 2004 alumnus of Ferris’ PGA Golf Management program, who owns GOLFTEC franchise locations in four states;

  • Linda Meeuwenberg, who earned her Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene in 1968 and a Bachelor of Science in Allied Health Education from the university in 1978. Meeuwenberg owns a consulting firm, and had been a professor emeritus on the Dental Hygiene faculty;

  • Thomas Norris, a 1972 graduate in Accountancy from the College of Business, who is the founder and president of NFI Advisors, Inc. of Novi; and

  • Dick Shaw, a 1962 Associate of Applied Sciences graduate in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, and a 1971 alumnus of the Technical Education program in the College of Education and Human Services. Shaw was a long time member of the Ferris HVACR faculty and the university’s Distinguished Teacher in 1978.

These awards are bestowed on individuals who demonstrate leadership and service to their profession, community, service organizations and their alma mater. All Ferris alumni are eligible to receive the Distinguished Alumni award.