Northern Michigan University President Fritz Erickson’s investiture ranged from historic academic tradition in the form of a bagpipe-led procession and chain of office presentation to the unveiling of seven core values that will guide the university’s future decisions. The values are billed as “distinctly Northern” and emerged from input gathered at 11 listening sessions with students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. They are: celebrating community; making connections; sustaining the environment; embracing inclusion; seeking innovation; providing opportunity; and exacting rigor.
“The first step in developing a strategic plan is to identify and reinforce a set of core values that will drive decision-making on Northern’s future direction, resource allocation and priorities,” said Erickson. “Did we hit the mark? Can you see your role in any or all of these? This is truly a first draft. We are seeking feedback and then we will make revisions until there’s a substantial consensus that the words best represent Northern’s values and goals. It’s a positive thing for the campus community to have this interaction and dialogue. We intend to make the value phrases and descriptions available to the campus community in the coming week.”
NMU Board of Trustees chair Rick Popp said Erickson has been able to grasp much of what is going on at the university in the relatively brief period since he was appointed.
“A president has to process, synthesize and prioritize to make sure resources are dedicated to taking the university to another place,” Popp said. “A president also has to be a good listener, building relationships and getting as complete a perspective as possible before things happen…Fritz cares about student success and that’s the number one priority for this board as well. I speak with him every week. I’m so impressed with what he’s absorbed and how he’s seeking more collaboration to take Northern to another level on and off campus with a spirit of transparency.”
The investiture also featured a humorous video depicting Erickson rushing from the ski hill to Jamrich Hall for the ceremony, vocal and instrumental music by NMU students, comments from faculty and student representatives, a historical overview of investitures at NMU by historian Russ Magnaghi and opening/closing remarks from acting provost Lesley Larkin.