Ferris to graduate more than 1,700

BIG RAPIDS — More than 1,300 of the 1,700 Ferris State University students who are candidates for degrees will participate in spring commencement ceremonies on May 4 and May 5 in Big Rapids.

Graduates will be honored during five ceremonies over two days in Big Rapids. Commencement exercises will begin at 3:30 p.m. on May 4 for the College of Allied Health Sciences, followed by a 7 p.m. ceremony for the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Pharmacy and Professional and Technological Studies.

The Michigan College of Optometry and the College of Education and Human Services kick off the May 5 graduation ceremonies at 9 a.m., followed by the College of Engineering Technology at 12:30 p.m. and the College of Business at 4 p.m.

All ceremonies will be held in the Wink Arena at the Ewigleben Sports Complex. Doors open one hour prior to each ceremony. Those without tickets can watch the ceremonies online, which will be streamed at www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/current/Commencement.

Ferris’ Kendall College of Art and Design will hold its commencement ceremonies at 10:30 a.m. on May 5 at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids. Approximately 270 students will receive degrees.

Students will hear commencement addresses from two Ferris alumni — JoLaine Draugalis, dean of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center; alumnus Brent Knight, president of Lansing Community College — and West Michigan entrepreneur and ArtPrize founder Rick DeVos. All three will receive honorary doctorates.

Draugalis, a Battle Creek native, has served as dean since 2007 and holds the David Ross Boyd Professorship. Her research focuses on pharmaceutical education program design, administration and evaluation. Her research program is concerned with determining how resources, curricula and academic programs are administered in pharmaceutical education as well as pursuing the definition, evaluation and reward structures of the scholarship of teaching and learning. Draugalis will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Business and Industry during the 7 p.m. ceremony on May 4.

Earlier in his career, Knight was named president of Triton College in River Grove, Ill., at the age of 29. The Bay City native also has served as president of Pierce College in Tacoma, Wash., and Morton College in Cicero, Ill., and was vice president of development at Meijer, Inc.

Since joining Lansing Community College in 2008, Knight has focused his efforts on student success, offering programs relevant to the 21st century workforce, ensuring access to education and being a good steward of public resources. He has been a staunch advocate of low tuition and responsible student loan debt.

Knight will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service during the 9 a.m. ceremony on May 5.

DeVos is best known for launching ArtPrize, the international art exhibition and competition that attracted more than 200,000 visitors to Grand Rapids last year. The event, focused on expanding the conversation about art and spurring economic growth, carries the world’s largest art prize.

Through several different projects, DeVos is helping to redefine the potential of civic events and entrepreneurial start-ups by redefining basic expectations that often limit possibilities. He has done much of this through Pomegranate Studios, a business-development lab focused on Web-enabled business, social entrepreneurship and empowering individual voices through technology.

His work nurturing entrepreneurship includes the establishment of Momentum, a business accelerator for companies focused on Web-based technologies, and “5x5 Night,” a pitch event that gives five presenters the opportunity to share ideas for a chance to receive a grant of up to $5,000. Also, in support of non-profit organizations, he started www.thecommon.org, an online network that helps connect volunteers to groups that are a match for their skills and interests.

DeVos will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Business and Industry during the 4 p.m. ceremony on May 5.