What's New, NMU?

For the week of Monday, Dec. 19, 2011.

From the 6th floor

As you can see from today's photo, a white Christmas is in jeopardy; at least here in the city of Marquette. While most areas of the U.P. report snow cover, on campus and around town most lawns are still visible. The forecast does not look very promising, either. According to weather.com. we're looking at sunshine every day right up until Christmas. Granted, this is the U.P. and the weather changes frequently, but the lack of snow has just about everyone talking about their memories of green Christmases in the past. Do you recall one in your time at Northern? Share it with us. We'll pass along the stories in the next newsletter.

Congratulations new graduates!

Close to 400 students participated in Fall commencement ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 17, at the Superior Dome. Johnnetta Cole, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, was keynote speaker. She also received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

Cole was appointed to her current position in 2009, but has worked with a number of Smithsonian programs since the mid-1980s. She also serves on the scholarly advisory board for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which will be constructed on the National Mall by 2015. As a longtime educator and humanitarian, Cole’s published works, speeches and community service consistently address issues of inequality.

Graduating senior Lauren Fusilier of Mason, Mich., was selected as the student speaker. Fusilier will graduate with a degree in elementary and special education with an emotional impairment emphasis. Her academic minor is educational psychology. A highlight of her NMU experience was participating in the WiMAX demonstration for President Obama during his February 2011 visit to campus and explaining how NMU’s teacher education program is making use of the technology.

Jake Angers '11 of Algonac, Mich., was the winner of the IPad 2, courtesy of the NMU Alumni Association. All new graduates who signed up for the first-year, free membership in the Alumni Association were eligible to win. Angers is shown with NMU Alumni Association board member Curt Tucker '82, '08. Tucker represented the Alumni Association and offered graduates a welcoming message at the ceremony.

If you are a new grad and have not registered for your membership in the NMU Alumni Association, do so now. There are a number of benefits to staying connected to your alma mater.

Board of Trustees meet; formula funding discussion escalates

The NMU Board of Trustees approved the 2012-13 budget development submission to the State of Michigan Budget Office. Instead of an operating budget request, as required in previous years, Michigan’s public universities were asked to supply suggestions for performance measures, goals and other factors that should be considered for a formula funding metric.

If the state pursues a formula, Gavin Leach, Vice President for Finance and Administration, said there are a few conditions universities agree are important. “Those are: reverse the decline in state support for higher education; don’t take money away from one school to benefit another; and develop a two-prong strategy for higher education appropriations that includes performance-based funding as an incentive for improvement and funding for extraordinary enrollment growth over time.

“State legislators, especially in the House, are looking at moving toward a funding formula. NMU has typically ended up on short end of these formulas. We’re concerned about that. We’ll keep close tabs on it and have many discussions in Lansing as the budget process continues this spring.

NMU President Les Wong sat on a national committee on administrative policies for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. He said performance funding is the number one issue.

“There are about 35 states contemplating it now,” he said. “We have to keep in mind that adding output variables to justify appropriations is a dramatic change. It’s not a one-year thing. Once you go down that path, it’s going to be a multi-year proposition. The state is moving into a discussion of finding the right balance between traditional and outcome-based funding. No matter how that comes out, you still need to cover upfront costs. There are challenges that would require serious consideration and changes in habits that would ripple down to unit level.”

Northern’s 10-page submission stresses that NMU is a rural comprehensive university that serves a geographically diverse population from around the Great Lakes region and northern tier of the United States.

Read more about NMU's submission here.

Faculty honored

Five NMU faculty members were recognized at the annual Celebration of Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship Ceremony on Dec. 8. Award recipients were (from left): Craig Rademacher (HPER), technology innovation; Carol Strauss Sotiropoulos (Modern Languages and Literatures), excellence in scholarship; Mark Shevy (CAPS), technology innovation; Amy Orf (Modern Languages and Literatures) and Sandra Imdieke (Education), both excellence in teaching.

You can read about each of the honorees here.

New football coach introduced

Chris Ostrowsky has been promoted to head coach of the Northern Michigan University football team following the Nov. 29 announcement that the contract of six-year head coach Bernie Anderson would not be renewed. Ostrowsky has been the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator for the past two seasons.

“I want to thank Bernie for bringing me to Northern Michigan University and to the university and athletic department administrations for giving me this opportunity,” said Ostrowsky.   “We want to create a nationally recognized prestigious brand that will be Northern Michigan University football. Winning championships and graduating scholars will be our everyday goal. Wildcat football will again become a premier program.”

This past year the Wildcats went 4-7 overall and 3-7 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for sixth place in the North Division.

Read more about Ostrowsky here.

Grand Rapids area alumni event - save the date!

NMU President Les Wong and the NMU Alumni Association Board of Directors will host a special NMU Reception, Friday, Jan. 27, at the West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology in downtown Grand Rapids. All alumni and friends are invited to attend. This is a great opportunity to catch up with West Michigan area alumni and hear about the exciting things happening at your alma mater, Northern Michigan University.

Grand Rapids Area Alumni Reception
Friday, Jan. 27
6 - 8 p.m.
West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology
98 East Fulton
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Invitations to be mailed shortly.

Los Angeles, Long Beach and Midland sign on to Wildcat Night Across the Country

Wildcat Night Across the Country is set for Saturday, Feb. 18. The NMU hockey 'Cats take on Michigan at Yost Arena in Ann Arbor. This is the biggest night of the year for Wildcat fans nation-wide. Make sure your local community has a party planned so you can get together with green and gold fans and watch Wildcat hockey.
Parties are lined up in a number of areas, but there is still plenty of time to get one organized for your neighborhood.

Here are this year's parties as of today:

Atlanta, Ga., Battle Creek, Flint/Grand Blanc, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Las Vegas, Nev., Long Beach, Calif., Los Angeles, Calif., Midland, Muskegon, Nahma, Niles, Naples, Fla., North Pole, Alaska, Phoenix, Ariz. and Rochester, Minn.

Visit the complete list with details and contact information here.

If your town isn't on the list, get in touch with us and find out how to plan a party for Wildcat fans in your area. It's easy to do; pick a location and we'll be sure and invite alumni in your area and ship you a Party Pak for the big night.
If your location is on the list, you'll be getting an invitation in the mail with all the details. We'll also post all locations as soon as they are determined.

Get in touch with us today.

Looking for a new career?

The NMU Alumni Association offers a number of ways to network, including posting job opportunities when we become aware of them.


Northern Michigan University has the following openings:

Title: Assistant Director-Annual Giving
Department: NMU Foundation
Minimum starting salary: $28,100
Submit application by January 10, 2012.

Title: Assistant Director-Financial Aid
Department: Financial Aid
Targeted salary range: $37,000 - $45,000
Submit application by January 4, 2012.

You can read more about the positions on the NMU Human Resources website.

The Northern Network is a great source for employment assistance. The Northern Network is our exclusive online community for alumni and friends. But it's not just local. Hundreds of companies from around the globe post jobs daily.

Check us out on LinkedIn.

Happy Holidays from the NMU Alumni Association!

Northern Michigan University will be closed for the holidays from Dec. 23 through Jan. 2, reopening at 8 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 3.  'What's New, NMU?" will resume weekly distribution Monday, January 9.

Have something you'd like to share?

Feedback should be directed to dhemmila@nmu.edu.

What's New, NMU? is a service of the NMU Alumni Association.