Happy Thanksgiving!

We are thankful for you! What are you thankful for?

What are you thankful for at DU?

In the month of November, let’s take time to reflect on what we are thankful for at Davenport University. What did DU give you that you are thankful for? Submit your answer here to be entered to win a DU customized Mitten State t-shirt. A winner will be selected randomly and be announced on our Facebook page on November 30. Update your class notes for an extra entry to the contest.

Alumni Success Story: Annie Olds ’03 & ’06

We are proud to feature Annie Olds as our Alumni Success Story this week. Annie serves as the Northwest Regional Director and Certified Small Business Consultant at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in the Northwest Michigan Region. She has been with the SBDC for four years and an even larger part with Networks Northwest since 2006. Annie works with both startup and growth based companies (and everything in between), leading a team of individuals to grow stronger businesses.

Annie is not a stranger to running and developing a business. She grew up in a very successful family-owned dairy and value-added food business in Kalkaska. “Being from a big family farm, I had no intention on going to college. But, I had an interest in how the business aspect of the farm worked. So, I enrolled at Northwestern Michigan College in TC and quickly earned my associates degree. After that I continued my education and earned my bachelor’s degree in business in 2003 from DU,” stated Annie.

Annie worked for DU in Gaylord and Traverse City after graduation and earned her MBA in strategic management. “Davenport laid the groundwork for my success. I got a good education and my programs could not have been more perfect for my profession,” stated Annie. With her education and experience, she is able to help businesses with operations and management planning, transition planning, marketing, cash flow management and analysis, sales growth, access to capital, as well as value-added ag and food processing businesses. Annie’s additional background in training development provides her the ability to create and customize educational opportunities that appeal to specific needs of small business owners across our region.

Annie also enjoys mentoring. In the past she taught as an adjunct at Baker College and DU. She plans on teaching at DU in Traverse City as an adjunct in the Winter 2016 semester. When Annie is not working, she spends most of her time with her husband and new baby. She enjoys traveling, riding horses, and spending time with friends. She and her husband are also in the process of buying their own 126 acre farm near Kalkaska.

DU Men’s Soccer Hosts First Round of National Tournament


Champions are made of something deep down inside of them – a desire, a dream and a vision! Let’s do it again…” says NAIA Coach of the year, Chris Hughes. “We are extremely excited to make it to the National Championship again and we are also very excited that we have the game here at Davenport University.” At 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 21, 2015, our defending Men’s Soccer NAIA National Champions host the first round of the NAIA National Tournament. Our men’s team is number 2 in the country and will be taking on Purdue University Calumet out of Hammond, Indiana.

“We have had a great fan base so far this year and we hope that our regular fans, our alumni, and new fans will come out to support our boy’s endeavors,” says Hughes. The Panthers have an overall record of 15-2-2 this season and earned first place in the WHAC Conference Regular Season.

Coach Hughes smiled and laughed as he reminisced about the warm weather and palm trees that the team experienced last year at the National Championship. The men’s soccer team has 90 minutes to win the game this Saturday to make it back to Florida for a chance at another National title.

Saturday will be a very exciting day for the men’s soccer program, players, fans, alumni, families, and Davenport community. The team has worked very hard this year to return to the NAIA National Championship to represent Davenport University. Come be a part of this amazing experience and support your university!

Volunteers Needed for the New Alpha League Global Leadership Program at DU


Empowerment, change, and leadership are all words that come to mind when the new Alpha League Global Leadership Program was created in the Fall at Davenport University.  Director and founder, Terry Rostic, ’13, wanted to make positive change in the African American community in Grand Rapids. He knew developing a group to help young African American males at DU would not only help the students, but help the university as a whole. “The Alpha League has become much more than a student group. It is mindset and a way of life,” stated Rostic.

The goal of the program is to foster an environment that values honesty, integrity, and respect for one another, while accepting each person’s unique personality and talent. Alpha League promotes brotherhood among men of diverse ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds through philanthropy, scholarship, leadership, and, social/emotional workshops. “Our mission is to develop good citizens, who will make an impact on their community that they live with their personal and professional accomplishments,” said Rostic, who is volunteering his time to grow and develop the program.

“This new program is not leveling the playing field, but giving everyone the same equipment for success,” stated Rostic. “We are able to connect with young men on a personal level and help them realize their potential. We offer tutors, mentorship, career building skills, community engagement, and a success coach. The program is already working! We have 25 students currently in the program with about 11 more on the waiting list.” The group holds bi-weekly meetings called Global Leader Summits where they have professional and personal workshops, guest speakers, and brotherhood fellowship. The topics covered during the workshops this semester are commitment, personal vision, positive self-identity, life skills, social and emotional skills, moral character, and work ethic.

The Alpha League is solely run on volunteer support and donations. Join alums, like Christopher Sanders, Javonte Ford, Corey Brown, and many others to volunteer your time to speak to their group and become a success coach. Visit the Alpha League facebook page to learn more!

Sports Management Open House

Join us for the first annual Davenport Sport Management Open House! The Sports Management Department is holding an open house for prospective students, current students and alumni.  This event is designed to bridge prospective and current sport students with our DU alumni to build industry relationships and provide opportunities for sport internships and jobs.  This is a great opportunity to network with students close to graduating (if your an employer) and with employers (if your thinking of changing jobs).  We will also discuss the latest advances in our program.

Date: Tuesday, November 24
Time: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m,
Where: W.A. Letting Camps – Sneden Auditorium
Please RSVP to Steve Prawdzik (Project) at sprawdzik1@davenport.edu.  You are also invited to the Davenport Men’s Basketball game vs. Madonna, beginning at 8pm. Tickets will be provided  for free!

Building a strong alumni support base is key to building a strong program.  We would really like to see you at this event.

Thank you alumni!

Cassandra Hester wants to say “thank you” to donors like you who gave her the opportunity to fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse. “Thanks to generous alumni and donors who have supported scholarships, I am able to attend nursing school full-time! I am able to excel in my courses while gaining hands-on experiences and attention from professors without worrying about money,” she says. The scholarship also helped alleviate financial burdens and allowed her more time to devote to her coursework. Cassandra plans to graduate in the Spring of 2016 with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and hopes to work at local Grand Rapids area hospital.

You can make a difference in students lives at Davenport University too! Hire a DU student as an intern, attend alumni events, share your story with current students, or donate today!


Alumni Success Story: Sarah Gombar, ’13

Even though Sarah Gombar, ‘13, is a natural born planner, she never could have planned to be the Head Women’s Lacrosse coach at Maine Maritime Academy! But, with the help of many DU mentors and friends, Sarah landed a dream job at the age of 22. “While I was researching jobs for a graduate school project, I ran across this job. It was very interesting, so I applied. Not in a million years, did I think I would get it. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to build this NCAA program from the ground up.”

Sarah, who is entering in her second year of coaching at Maine Maritime Academy was named the first ever Women’s Lacrosse Coach in 2014. Sarah coached two NAC All-Academic selections, a NAC Woman of the Year nominee, three IWLCA Academic Honor Roll members, and an IWLCA Academic Honor Squad.

Sarah, a Saginaw native, is not new to coaching and mentoring. Throughout college, Sarah was a Resident Assistant for two years and led the Hall Advisory Team. She also was the housing liaison for the summer camps and conferences. She enjoyed coaching the younger generation at Northview Middle School, Caledonia High School and Pure Advantage Lacrosse Club. While in graduate school at University of Mississippi she was the Women’s Lacrosse Club team coach, which participates in WCLA Division I.

“Davenport laid the foundation for my coaching success. I am able to use my BBA in Human Resources to better coach and influence positive culture on my team.I truly believe that DU gave me opportunities that I would have never received elsewhere. Between the people I met and experiences I had at DU, I am extremely grateful.”

When Sarah is not on the lacrosse field, she enjoys traveling back home, hanging out with friends and family, and playing hockey. Sarah is also pursuing her Higher Education master’s degree with a focus in College Student Personnel at the University of Mississippi and a master’s degree in International Logistics Management at Maine Maritime Academy.

Thank you Veterans!

On this gorgeous sunny autumn day, Davenport University hosted their annual Veterans Day celebrations to recognize and honor Veterans. This year students from the Davenport’s Student Veterans Association shared their stories and experience with the Davenport community on the W.A. Lettinga campus. A photo slideshow of DU students and alums was shown. Following the slideshow, DU paused for a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m as a gesture of respect for those who have died fighting for our country.

Alumni, staff, and friends signed a flag and wrote thank you cards to deployed DU students currently serving in combat.  Supporters are encouraged to donate to the Student Veterans of America (SVA) scholarship.