Recruiting ‘Under the Gun’


There are recruiting opportunities everywhere – even in the middle of a crisis. Just ask Kathy Saville (CITE). She was between conferences in California, driving to her next destination, when she stopped for a soda at a gas station on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Sunset Boulevard in Malibu.


The gas station had a nice balcony over looking the ocean. Saville decided to sit there and drink her soda on that sunny California morning. As she stepped onto the balcony, she saw a police car literally jump the curb and pull into the gas station. When she turned around to go enter the building, there stood a police officer with his gun pointing directly at her telling her to get inside. Without a word, she did as she was told.


Saville and seven others were told to stay inside the gas station with no further instructions. A short time later they learned the officers were in the middle of a drug bust at one of the outside pumps.


“It was so surreal,” Saville recalled. “It was like something out of the movies."


Sitting on the floor of the gas station next to Saville were a mother and daughter from the Boston area. The two had been touring universities on the West Coast and were unsuccessful in finding one that was a good fit for the daughter.


Saville asked the young woman a few questions as to what she was looking for in a university. She responded with three desirable qualities: a smaller campus where a student is a name and not a number; a friendly, welcoming atmosphere; and plenty of outdoor activities. Saville suggested the daughter and her mother visit Northern’s Web site.


Thirty minutes later, the police had arrested the two criminals, Saville had possibly recruited a student to NMU, and she was on the road to her next destination.


“You know you are committed to NMU when you’re recruiting in the middle of a drug bust … or perhaps you should be committed!” said Saville, laughing. It is proof that opportunities can surface just about anywhere.


Do you have an interesting or unconventional story of how you promoted Northern to a prospective student? If so, please contact Kristi Evans at .


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Updated: April 23, 2004