For the week of August 28, 2006

From the Academic Mall

A little change of pace this week. This being the first day of classes, we thought we'd take our camera to Fall Fest on the academic mall for the weather photo. It is a perfect beach day with the temperature predicted to reach the mid 80's. The rest of the week looks sunny, too, with cooler temps in the 70s.

President sets direction for new school year

In his annual convocation address, President Les Wong told faculty and staff that NMU enters the fall semester with “favorable conditions.” Enrollment is up for the ninth consecutive year, state funding has rebounded, and the innovative Superior Edge program officially kicks off this year.

But Wong said the university continues to face challenges. Demographic studies indicate that the traditional college-aged population, already on a steady decline in the Upper Peninsula, will begin a downward trend nationwide within a few years. This will require creative strategies for recruiting students and expanding online programs.

The legislative process is a more timely concern. Wong said, “Our funding is secure for this year, but there is still a huge question about how the state will replace the nearly $2 billion in revenue generated by the former single business tax. The answer could have huge implications for the funding of Michigan’s public universities. Another key challenge is the continued existence of the House funding formula. As it currently exists, Northern is adversely affected and even penalized for what we’re doing. Fortunately, legislators have responded positively to NMU concerns about the formula this year."

Wong added that Northern remains politically vulnerable because its state funding per fiscal year equated student is still higher than peer institutions, despite some progress in closing the gap through cost-cutting measures, declining state support over several previous years, and enrollment increases.

The growth in student numbers has created its own set of challenges. Wong said several departments on campus are stretched, making adequate staffing a major concern. He repeated his plan to increase faculty by 60 full-time equivalent positions over five years and said administrators are also working to address non-academic shortages.

“We need more support to continue to be the university known for its personal attention to students. But we simply can’t afford to go on a massive hiring binge. So we need to determine where the most critical needs exist.” 

Wong also highlighted recent positive strides made by Northern: increased research and related funding; new business and educational partnerships; enhanced efforts to “build bridges” internationally, including a previous trip to Mexico and an upcoming trip to meet with education and corporate representatives in China; and the new Superior Edge initiative.

For the full text of Wong's speech, go to Convocation.

Rally attracts spirited crowd

The NMU Alumni Association and Associated Students of NMU sponsored the annual Back To School Spirit Rally at the Berry Events Center Sunday evening. More than 2,000 students showed up and showed off their NMU pride.
Competitions were held for Most Spirited Student and Most Spirited Residence Hall.
If you are not familiar with the rally, it is an opportunity for students to pack the BEC and make as much noise as possible. Ok, not really. It just seems that way. A good time was had by all.
Most Spirited Student Jacob Simmons poses with Wildcat Willie and Mel Charbonneau '02, assistant director of alumni operations. Jacob's spirit won him $100 from the NMU Alumni Association.
The sophomore, from Marshall, Mich., is an accounting major.

And the winner is...

NMU President Les Wong
draws the lucky winner's name out of
more than
1,500 entries.
Congratulations to Adda Lamon '05. Adda's name was drawn from the more than 1,500 entries in our recent survey contest. Adda wins an IPod Nano, courtesy of the NMU Alumni Association.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey. Preliminary results show alumni clearly want a way to re-connect via the NMU Alumni Association Web site, whether that's through a social/business network or an alumni registry.
You will be hearing more about our efforts to enhance the NMU Alumni Association Web site in the near future.

New apartments open for business

Northern students have an additional on-campus housing option this year. The new Woodland Park Apartments are comprised of efficiencies, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and four-bedroom units. There is also a centrally located commons area with a lounge/community room, kitchen, study space and fitness center.

The Meyland Hall renovation was also on the list of major construction projects this summer. It has upgraded resident rooms, bathroom facilities and lounges; new plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems; an elevator; three-story sunroom additions; and a new pitched roof and windows. Wireless capability was installed in all remaining residence halls this summer, making virtually all of Northern’s campus wireless.

College of Business adds Homecoming Reception

The Walker L. Cisler College of Business will host an alumni reception during Homecoming 2006. The reception is set for Friday, Sept. 29 from 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the Landmark Inn. All College of Business alumni are encouraged to attend.
"The alumni reception is an excellent opportunity for our former students to connect with each other and the College of Business," said Dr. Rajib Sanyal, dean of the college.
"We have over 7,000 alumni and the Homecoming events bring many of them back to Marquette. The reception is one way to bring them together, enable them to share and celebrate their professional successes and changes, and reminisce about the college days at NMU."
The reception will give alumni an opportunity to mingle with the department's faculty and hear about new initiatives.
"Our alumni can be found in all walks of life, in all manners of organizations, and across the country," Sanyal added. "They are CEOs of banks or running not-for-profit organizations or setting up entrepreneurial web service companies. They work in small firms and large multi-national organizations and in the public sector. They are in Marquette, Miami, and Minneapolis. Alumni receptions such as these are unrivalled business networking opportunities for our graduates who are tied together with that special Wildcat spirit!"

Visit the complete Homecoming schedule here.

College of Business to offer Advanced Management courses


Dennis George '60, a practicing attorney specializing in business counseling, litigation and mediation, will teach two mini courses at Northern Michigan University while serving as the executive in residence for the College of Business. Each course will be held twice weekly from Sept. 18 through Oct. 13.  The courses are designed with business and non-profit professionals in mind. “Dynamics of business negotiations,” a one-credit course, will be held from 1-2:35 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. It uses a case study approach to examine how the relative circumstances of a business influences its decisions on whether to contract, terms of the contract and disputes that might arise. Students will learn to negotiate an actual business contract dispute.“Managing risk in the business environment” is a two-credit course that will meet from 6-9:15 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. It examines how a business can manage the risk inherent in its operating environment, identifies different kinds of risk and ways to address them, assesses management policies and practices, and introduces students to a comprehensive plan for managing risk.
For more information, contact Dr. Marge Sklar, associate dean, NMU College of Business, at

Thanks for stopping by...

Molly '85, Elle, and Tom '83 Gallagher of Ann Arbor, Mich. Gerry '69, '72 and Peggy '72 (Simpson) Anderson of Vassar, Mich. Andy Forbing '03 of Ypsilanti, Mich.
Trent Fujise '94 and his daughter, Samantha, from South Elgin, Ill. Don Beckman '61 of Manhattan Beach, Cal. Shirley Lynch '56 of Harbert, Mich.
Victor '71 and Barbara Ceru of Kalamazoo. Charles '65 and Joan Anderson of Fremont, Mich.  

As you can see, the 6th floor has been a popular destination for visitors. Thanks to those pictured above for taking time during their travels to stop by and say hello.
Don't forget, if you're in the neighborhood, we're located on the 6th floor of the Cohodas Administration Building.
We'd love to see you!

From the E-mail bag

"Hey, Deanna. Am finally getting around to sending some pictures of Grace in her NMU gear! Sorry for the delay--Grace keeps us very busy. But doesn't she look like a natural Wildcat? We are looking forward to seeing everyone soon--we just made our Homecoming reservations!"
Kris Day '94
Dearborn, MI

Grace Sarah Day Scott
Daughter of Kris Day and Damon Scott.

"We moved to Las Vegas shortly after we graduated in May of 2005. Recently, we had the opportunity to meet Vince Vaughn (Old School, Wedding Crashers) at the Mandalay Bay Theatre. It was very exciting to meet one of our favorite actors in person!
Mary Phillips '05 and Kyle Anderson '05
Las Vegas, Nevada

"Just wanted to share this photo with you. I am a 2003 graduate and my husband is a 2004 graduate. Even our dog is an NMU fan. Somehow this football survived several moving experiences and has become one of my dog's (Rip) favorite toys"
Julie '03 and Grant '04 Murray
Gurnee, Ill

"Doug '95 and Cathy Edlund say 'Hello' to NMU! Working at General Motors. Tell Dr. Rigby hello. Just thought you might like a picture of a future alumna, Emma."
Doug Edlund '95
Kalamazoo, Mich.

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