The President's Parent Partnership

Volume 17, Issue 2 - August 30, 2018

Dear NMU Parents,

The semester is underway. To those of you who helped your NMU student move into their residence hall rooms or apartments, I hope you have recovered. As president, I had a blast helping with move-in day – it’s one of my favorite times of the academic year – but I admit I didn’t love it quite so much when it was my own children’s move-in days. I know for many of you, leaving your child at college is bittersweet. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions or concerns. If you don’t know specifically who to ask, start with the Dean of Students Office, or 906-227-1700. They will put you in touch with the appropriate person or department. We’re in this together; we all want your daughter or son to succeed.


THE CALENDARS: It is my sincere hope that your NMU student is actively engaged in Northern and Marquette activities. Attending class and studying are critical to university success, but there needs to be a balance. Also, students can learn a lot from their extracurricular activities. I give this advice repeatedly to students, but I also thinks it’s true for parents, too.  I realize you’re not at NMU to the same extent as your student, but when you are here, please check out and participate in the many activities and events taking place on campus or in the community.  We have a web page, (plural), that has a link to our academic calendar, where you can get the dates for such things as final exams and university breaks; the master events calendar; and the Marquette365 calendar, featuring events throughout Marquette County. It’s a very handy resource.


HOMECOMING: Speaking of events, Homecoming is just around the corner, and it’s an exceptionally busy one this year. Students will kick off the activities with the longstanding tradition of the Dead River Games on Sunday, Sept. 16. Each day and evening of the week will feature a different student activity. If you are in the area, please join us for our Community Ice Cream Social from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, in the Academic Mall – a new event we’re trying out this year. During the Homecoming Weekend, we’ll also be dedicating our new bronze-sculpted Wildcat, a gift from the estate of former Board of Trustee chair Gil Ziegler ‘60; debuting the “Hands on the Line” document of the 1975 NCAA Champion Wildcat Football Team; and inducting another impressive class into the NMU Sports Hall of Fame; along with many, many other activities. Go to the student schedule and alumni/community schedule for complete details.  Please note that the parade has been moved from Friday night to Saturday afternoon.  


UPCOMING EVENTS AND LODGING:  In addition to Homecoming, some of our other big fall events include the Uniting Neighbors In The Experience of Diversity (UNITED) Conference, Sept. 24-25; Family Weekend, Oct. 5-7; and Make a Difference Day, Oct. 27. A reminder that if you are traveling to Marquette for Family Weekend and have not yet made lodging arrangements, please do so soon. In addition to all of the many NMU activities that bring people to the area, there are also large youth hockey tournaments from fall until spring, skiing and sled dog events in the winter, and several conferences that compete for hotel and motel rooms. Also, if you are a parent of a student who will participate in the December or May commencement, I strongly encourage you to urge any family members who want to attend the ceremony to get their lodging reservations made as early as possible so as not to have to stay 30-60 minutes from campus. A good place to learn of lodging options is here

JOB AND CAREER FAIRS: Northern holds two job fairs during the fall semester, one for construction and engineering jobs and the other a general job fair.  The Construction Management and Engineering Technology Career Fair will be held from 1-4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, in the Jacobetti Complex atrium. The Fall Semester Job Fair will be held from 1-4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, in the Great Lakes Rooms of the University. As we get closer to the date of each event, a list of participating employers will be available on the Career Services website. In addition to the job fairs, Career Services offers a broad menu of career prep workshops throughout the semester. The workshops cover such topics as getting from major to career, writing great resumes and cover letters, preparing for a job fair, researching employers, interview skills and practice, creating a job search strategy, and positive psychology and your career. The workshops are free and students of all class levels are encouraged to attend.

SAFETY REMINDER: Enjoying majestic Lake Superior is part of the NMU student experience. We want students to enjoy their interactions with the Lake. However, we also want them to respect Lake Superior’s incredible power.  Please remind your student never swim alone. Students should also be aware that where there are rocks in the water there are usually riptide currents, even if the water looks very calm. We provide lake safety awareness information and resources at Another safety issue NMU sometimes deal with is students getting lost while hiking. Students who hike should be sure they have a fully charged cell phone and appropriate clothing with them in case their adventure goes longer than expected. The functioning cell phone helps search and rescue personnel use GPS technology to track them. When heading into nature, it’s important that students share where they are going and when they plan to return. Finally, a reminder that Northern offers a safety escort service to and from any place on campus during the hours of darkness, seven days a week, for students and visitors. Students can call 906-227-2151 for the service. The escorts are student employees of the NMU Police Department who are carefully screened and selected. They wear red jackets for easy identification. Students will be required to show their ID card and visitors, a driver’s license or photo ID. 

READY TO RIDE: Last Sunday (Aug. 26), Northern officially debuted its new bike trailhead on campus, located right outside The Lodge. The trailhead (pictured) connects the campus to the Noquemanon Trail Network’s north and south trails.  The initiative was spearheaded by NMU student Ryan Watling, who worked on the project as his Student Leader Fellowship Program community internship last year. 

PARENTS’ CAMPAIGN: September kicks off our fall phonathon. Over the years, parents have answered our call and provided critical additional support for student organizations, leadership programs, travel to conferences and workshops, wellness initiatives, intramural sports and more through the Parents Fund. they do this because they understand that every aspect of college has an impact on student success. When we call, please consider joining us in our commitment to helping students stay on track for academic and career success.

SRA POSTING: I discussed in the last newsletter the Strategic Resource Allocation project that is part of our current strategic planning, so I won’t go into great detail again. However, I did want to let you know that the task force recommendations were made available to the campus community last Friday (Aug. 24).  There is now 30 days to review and give input to the Implementation Task Force (ITF). The ITF is reviewing and discussing the recommendations and will present its proposal to me later this fall. The goal is to have a formal proposal ready for the NMU Board of Trustees’ meeting in December. To learn more about the SRA project, go to


QUICK NOTES:  We held the faculty-staff convocation last Wednesday (Aug. 22). If you would like to view the video of the presentations or read my speech, there are links to both here. … On Monday (Aug. 27), NMU rolled out its new mobile app with expanded functional options. It is available for download from the App Store for iOS devices and Google Play for Android devices. The new app will provide content via one of three personas: student, alumni or community member.  Our IT department worked with our student government (ASNMU) to survey students as to what features they most wanted included in the 1.0 version. More features for all three personas will continue to be added throughout the year. … Northern’s concussions work group has continued to create materials to help the campus community understand how to identify possible concussion situations and accommodate concussion recovery periods. There is a lot of new information now available about concussions and recovery. … I had the chance to meet with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Aug. 14 to discuss our Educational Access Network. Two days later, Chair Pai gave NMU a shout-out while appearing before the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. It was great to be recognized for the work we are doing to build a U.P.-wide LTE network for students across the region.

Welcome to the 2018-19 academic year. Thank you for your continued support of Northern. 

Fritz Erickson, President