Celebrate our newest graduates as they participate in our
May Commencement Ceremony
5/3, 5/5, & 5/7
Northwood University

Northwood University



Tuesday, May 3, 2016 @ 2:00pm
Texas Commencement


Trinity Christian Church
1231 E. Pleasant Run
Cedar Hill, TX 75104

Celebrate at 2:00pm CST with our newest graduates as they participate in our spring Commencement Ceremony. 12-Noon Reception preceeding the ceremony


Thursday, May 5, 2016 @ 11:00am
Florida Commencement


Northwood University Commencement at Keiser University
Countess de Hoernle Student Life Center
2600 North Military Trail
West Palm Beach, FL 33409

Celebrate at 11:00am EDT with our newest graduates as they participate in our spring Commencement Ceremony. Reception to follow ceremony.

View Live @ 11:00 AM EDT


Saturday, May 7, 2016
Michigan Commencement


10:30 A.M. Traditional undergraduate students and full time MBA students
View Live @ 10:30 AM EDT
3:00 P.M. Adult Degree Program students and MBA & MS Graduate students
View Live @ 3:00 PM EDT

Northwood University
Bennett Sports Center
Riepma Arena
4000 Whiting Drive
Midland, MI 48640

Next Steps

Career Advancement Center

Northwood University is excited inform your about the Northwood Career Services Network - a premiere Career Services tool for current students and alumni! As Northwood University continues to strive for excellence in all that we do, offering a world-class, free-enterprise business education, it's our goal in the Career Advancement Center to provide the resources, services, and support you need to reach your maximum potential.


To stay in-touch, be sure to fill out an Alumni Information Update Form. This will help you stay connected with Northwood University and your fellow classmates. The alumni office can help you connect with a local alumni chapter group, keep you informed with what's happening on campus, and invite you to special alumni events held around the country!

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Engage with us on LinkedIn:
Northwood University Alumni Group (The Official)

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The Gallery of Distinction

Keith A. Pretty

Keith A. Pretty, J.D.
President and CEO
Northwood University

The honorary doctorate is the highest award a university can make to an individual who has contributed to society in a meaningful way. Following are listed those individuals Northwood University will recognize this year. They join a "Gallery of Distinction" of past honorary degree awardees. It is an honor and a privilege to recognize the men and women whom Northwood has vested with degrees during the past 55 years.

Through their accomplishments, ideals, and support, our communities have become better places and our nation has benefited. These leaders have won recognition in business, their professions, fine arts, education, and religion. Their involvement in the thrust of The Northwood Idea will continue forever.

In observance of one of Northwood’s finest traditions, all recipients of honorary degrees are presented with personal caps, gowns, and hoods. Every year they are invited back to participate in the commencement processional, enjoy social events, and renew old friendships.

Northwood University salutes all the members of the Gallery of Distinction and pledges to them the dedicated continuation of The Northwood Idea into the 21st century.

Awarded in Cedar Hill, Texas

Charlene F. Lake - Commencement Speaker Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility & Chief Sustainability Officer, AT&T Services, Inc., Dallas, Texas

Charlene Lake, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility and Chief Sustainability Officer, is responsible for leading AT&T’s social innovation, philanthropic and volunteerism endeavors; driving stakeholder impact measures on behalf of the corporation; and coordinating signature initiatives that connect social needs with business objectives.

Mrs. Lake began her career at Southwestern Bell Telephone in 1986 in Topeka, Kansas and served in management roles in financial communications, media relations and employee communications in Kansas, Missouri and Texas. She assumed leadership over SBC’s corporate advertising and sports marketing department during the mid-1990s, and managed the organizations through the mergers of Pacific Bell, Southern New England Telephone and Ameritech. In 2003, Mrs. Lake began developing a public affairs discipline within the SBC External Affairs department, and in 2007 launched AT&T's centralized corporate citizenship and sustainability function. A mass communication graduate of Kansas State University, Mrs. Lake also serves on the Advisory Council at KSU’s A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications and is on the Board of Directors of the Kansas State University Foundation. She began her professional life as a journalist, working on daily newspapers in Kansas.

Mrs. Lake serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Urban League, the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Public Affairs Council, the Board of Directors of America’s Promise Alliance and the Board of Directors of Jobs for America’s Graduates. She also serves as an advisor to the Institute for Economic Empowerment for Women, which, among other projects, teaches women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda about free enterprise and market power.

Recently, Mrs. Lake was honored as a recipient of NUL’s Women of Power Award, and was recognized by the Texas Diversity and Leadership Conference as one of the most powerful and influential women leaders in the state. She also was recognized as Advertising Person of the Year from the Ad Club of New York, received the Distinguished Woman Award from Northwood University and the Iron Jawed Angel Award from the Luger Excellence in Public Service Series in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Lake and her husband, Rod, have two grown children and reside in Dallas.

Awarded in Midland, Michigan, Morning Ceremony

Jennifer T. Panning - Commencement Speaker
President, Artisan Tile Inc., Brighton, Michigan

Jennifer Panning is the President of Artisan Tile, Inc., which specializes in commercial and industrial contracts.

Jennifer graduated cum laude from Northwood University’s Midland campus in 1992 with a bachelor of business administration degree in Marketing and Management. While at Northwood, she participated in Delta Zeta and attended the Texas campus for her senior year. Panning has served as a member of the Board of Trustees since 2014; she was awarded the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award that year also.

Jennifer founded Artisan Tile in 1995. In 1998, she started an endowed scholarship for marketing students at Northwood in the name of Artisan Tile, and in 2014 she committed tile and other products and services for the Bennett Center renovations. In 2010, Jennifer appeared on a radio talk show program espousing her fond affection for Northwood and the quality education she received.

Jennifer is very involved in tile and contractor associations, serving on state and national boards. Her company completed tile work for two major airports in metro Detroit and many other large projects in Southeast Michigan.

Jennifer and her family live in a small town near Ann Arbor.

Awarded in Midland, Michigan, Afternoon Ceremony

John S. Benson - Commencement Speaker
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Frankenmuth Mutual Insurance Company, Frankenmuth, Michigan

John S. Benson is the chairman of the board and chief executive officer for Frankenmuth Mutual Insurance Company in Frankenmuth, Michigan, and for its subsidiaries, Ansur America Insurance Company, ASure Worldwide Insurance Company, Fortuity Insurance Company, Patriot Insurance Company, and Patriot Life Insurance Company.

After serving four years in the United States Navy as a hospital corpsman and second-class petty officer, John began his career in Los Angeles as a senior accountant for Peat Marwick Main & Company, and subsequently as assistant vice president and controller for Amwest Insurance Group, Inc. He moved to Michigan in 1988 to become senior manager at KPMG Peat Marwick LLP in Lansing, and moved to Frankenmuth in 1996 to become treasurer and chief financial officer at Frankenmuth Mutual, beginning his rise through the company.

John is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants. He is a board member of the Frankenmuth Economic Development Corporation, and a former board member of the Frankenmuth Downtown Development Authority and the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the One Hundred Club of Saginaw County, and a member and past president of the Frankenmuth Noon Rotary Club.

John earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and business from the University of California – Los Angeles, and holds Certified Public Accountant and Associate in Insurance Accounting and Finance designations as well. John and his wife, Sharon, have two sons, John Benson II and Michael Benson.

Honor Awards

Midland, Michigan

Nicholas Aaron Kaufmann

Ken Edward Reeves

The Arthur E. Turner Award
Griffin D. Williams

The R. Gary Stauffer Business Administration Award
Nicholas Aaron Kaufmann

The Vada Bennett Dow Humanitarian Award
Alysia Marie Rollins

Dr. Catherine W. Chen Endowed Scholarship
Monica Gabriele

Edgar A. Madden Writing Award
Taylor Lynn Darby

Willo Anker Award
Emily Jean Kutch
Emily Anne Murdoch

Town and Campus Leadership Award
Courtney Elizabeth Mast

Outstanding International Student Award
Marlies Klekner-Alt

Charles Dubois Award
Ken Edward Reeves

Alysia Marie Rollins

The Honors Leadership Award
Nina Marie Jacob
Alix Andrea Gardner

G.D. Crain, Jr. Foundation Award
Joseph Edward Davis

Edward N. Cole Award
Jaclyn Nicole Suchta

National Automobile Dealers Association Award
David Matthew Brown

I.W. Thompson Automotive Award
Marlon Cedric Hairston

International Business Award
Myles Jacob Huffman

Entrepreneurship Award
Peter Leonard
Luke Gabriel Marion

Entertainment, Sport & Promotion Management Award
Olivia Ann Ross
Julie Nicole Shields

William T. Anderson Management Information Systems Award
Dominic Orlando
Sammy Kipkemboi Tanui

The Zehnder's of Frankenmuth Hospitality Award
Brandi Bowman

Automotive Aftermarket Management Award
Lisa Kathryn Kisil

Ludwig Von Mises Economics Award
Philip David Schlosser
Konstantin Olegovich Zhukov

Marketing Award
Alex P. Morse

Frederick T. Keeler Marketing Scholarship Award
Kennedy J. Shea

Management Award
Griffin D. Williams

Banking & Finance Award
Nicholas Aaron Kaufmann
Renee Elizabeth Thompson

Institute of Management Accountants Award
Krystal Lynn Kohlman

Jeffrey A. Bennett Accounting Award
Renee Elizabeth Thompson

Arts and Business Award
Nicholas James Langlois

Fashion Marketing & Management Award
Julia Christine Welch

Robert M. Ellis Award
Matthew Dippel

David and Daniel Goetz Academic Athlete Award
Michael David Fisher
Julie Nicole Shields

Student Government Association Activities Award
Justine Catherine Arvizu
Mercedes Ann Morelli

Pi Kappa Delta Omicron Chapter Distinguished Competitive Speaker of the Year Award
Chene Victoria Kushmaul
Cameron William Simmons

The Otis Wilson Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award
Sebastian Scheibert

Dale Haywood Faculty Excellence Award - Senior Class
Christin Van Wyk Greiman