Alumni Honored This Weekend

As part of Homecoming 2010 activities, three NMU alumni will be recognized for their achievements.

Pictured left to right are: Clifford Luft of Marquette, who will receive the Alumni Achievement Award; and James “Brig” Sorber of Lansing and Stephen DesJardins of Ann Arbor, recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Luft earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education-biology and a master’s degree from NMU in 1961 and ’67, respectively. He spent 29 years working for public schools across Upper Michigan in capacities ranging from elementary and secondary educator to superintendent before starting the next chapter of his career with the Marquette Diocese. Luft and his wife, Sally—a 1983 NMU graduate—served as co-directors of the Catholic Campus Ministry Center, interacting regularly with Northern students. He later became superintendent of the 10 schools in the Catholic Diocese of Marquette and retired in 2002. Luft’s activities continue to revolve around church and family. All five of his children also attended NMU.


Sorber is president and CEO of the Lansing-based Two Men and a Truck/International Inc., the nation’s largest franchised moving company. He and his younger brother Jon, also an NMU alumnus, started the business in the early 1980s in Okemos as a way to earn spending money. Their mother kept it rolling while Brig attended Northern to study land use planning and management. After graduating in 1986, he worked as an insurance agent and operated his own Two Men and a Truck franchise in Marquette before returning to Lansing to help his mother and sister restructure the company. Sorber received the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award from Okemos Public Schools. He and his wife, Fran, also an ’86 NMU graduate, have three children.


A Marquette native, DesJardins is a noted expert in the field of higher education administration. He was recently selected to chair the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. DesJardins received his bachelor’s degree in economics from NMU in 1983. He worked as a policy analyst and institutional researcher at the University of Minnesota while also earning a master’s degree and doctorate. After a stop at the University of Iowa, DesJardins accepted a faculty position at the University of Michigan in 2002 and last year was promoted to full professor. His areas of expertise include how students choose colleges, the economics of higher education and the methods used to study higher education issues. His wife, Linda, graduated from NMU in 1982. The couple has two children.

The recipients will be honored at the NMU alumni awards and scholarship brunch on Saturday, Sept. 25. To watch live streaming video of the event, visit Brunch.



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Updated: September 24, 2010

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