With another year of education under our belts, the only thing that has been on students’ minds has been getting to summer break. However, while we’re away from campus for the next few months, a few new things will be ready to welcome us back in August.
Here are four things we can all look forward to for the 2022-23 academic year and beyond.
#1: A Brand New President
The announcement of President David Eisler’s retirement following the end of this academic year brought forth the question of who will fill the spot that has been filled for nearly 20 years. The extensive search process for our 19th president in school history led us to Dr. Bill Pink. Pink spent seven years at Grand Rapids Community College, bringing growth and positive changes to the university.
For students, it means potential new policies, budgets, and a new future for Ferris State University. Dr. Pink still has one more vote to get fully sworn in once Eisler retires on June 30, but next year’s school year will start strong with a new direction and presidency.
#2: Return of the National Champions
BBQ, Cornhole, and football. The start of each fall semester brings about another season of football for us Bulldogs. A regular return to the season brings a certain excitement that really can’t be replicated, but piling that on with the fact that our football team is the reigning national champions makes the anticipation that much better.
Although we’re losing a few key players to graduation and the NFL, Coach Tony Annese and the football program are ready to fill the gaps that have been left. The team faces one of the most demanding schedules for a Division II program, but the team is prepared to face the competition with the added pressure to repeat.
Not to worry, though, as we saw last year multiple times that we have depth in all positions. As our backup running back, Jeremy Burrell ran a 78-yard touchdown run in the national championship game. Not to mention our two returning quarterbacks, Evan Cummins and Mylik Mitchell, who have the experience and talent to lead us back into a deep playoff run.
Next year’s Bulldog Squad is going to be one to watch. Couple that with students returning to campus and the overall excitement for a new year back in Big Rapids, the environment at Top Taggart Field will be an electricity factory.
#3: Center of Athletic Performance
Staying on the topic of Athletics, the long-awaited Center of Athletic Performance is scheduled to finish sometime early next semester. A brand-new weight room and volleyball arena have been in the process of being built. If you’ve made your way down to the R.L. Ewigleben Sports Complex, from the outside, you’ve been able to see the progress being made.
The new arena gives more fans and students a chance to enjoy the games, something that’s been tough since the previous volleyball arena was in the maze of back hallways of the sports complex. An additional plus is a better venue to host the post-season tournaments. Last year, the regional tournament was played in Wink Arena, and multiple balls got stuck on the ceiling.
The old volleyball arena is getting turned into a brand-new weight room. Although most of the student body won’t get to experience it firsthand, we’ll see it carry over on the athletic fields. Something that we Ferris State fans have been blessed with immensely over the past years.
#4: Center for Virtual Learning
Students will be greeted with another brand new building when they get to campus in the spring of 2023. With the field of IT and computer science exploding in the last decade, it’s a no-brainer to improve our accommodations for these programs. The 64,000 square foot facility allows students to learn with state-of-the-art accommodations and specially designed laboratories and classrooms for each program.
It will also house the first purpose-built esports arena in Michigan. The esports team at Ferris is the largest club on campus with 300 members and has become a main point of attraction for students when choosing where to pursue higher education. It has also become an opportunity for other students to experience one of the fastest-growing streams of entertainment in the world.
The end of a school year brings many emotions, goodbyes, and hellos, and embracing the following year that is soon to come. The three-month summer break is much needed, but getting back to campus in the fall is an exciting time for everyone.