Monthly Archive for July, 2016

Live2Lead Conference

Davenport University has partnered with Live2Lead, a half-day, leader development experience designed to equip attendees with new perspectives, practical tools and key takeaways.  Learn from world-class leadership experts and begin to lead with renewed passion and commitment.  You will not want to miss this dynamic leadership event hosted by Rebecca Ward on October 7, 2016 in Kentwood.

This year’s conference focuses on intentionality. The talks will give students, alumni and community members an opportunity to take a step back and analyze how intentional they are about their connections with others, with their time and with their energy. This event is meant to help people in their journey through living a life of leadership even after the event concludes. Online seminars will take place each month after the event to continue looking into the principles of leadership.

Your registration for this event will send a DU student to the simulcast for free! It is a buy-one-get-one offer so YOU, an alum, can send a DU college student and attend the conference for only $59.99. Register in July for a discounted price.

Visit to register or gather more information. Kassy Clark is also available to answer questions at

Alumni Success Story: Matt Wiedenhoeft ’13

Nearly two years ago, Matt Wiedenhoeft ’13 was approached by his friend about starting a business unlike any other business in Grand Rapids – a Roller Hockey League. As a former hockey player and risk taker, he jumped on board! Now, co-owner of the National Roller Hockey League (NRHL), Matt is leading the way in this growing sport in America. Learn more about the NRHL and Matt’s journey below.

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Q & A with Matt Wiedenhoeft ‘13

Tell us about yourself, Matt.

I grew up playing inline hockey at my parents’ roller skating rink prior to playing ice hockey. I played hockey for Muskegon Community College after high school, where I met my wife, Gina, who was attending MSU. After winning a National Championship in 2003 with MCC, I played professional minor league hockey starting with attending training camp with the Muskegon Fury. I remember traveling for hockey and missing my family so much that it came to a point where I realized I wanted to switch from playing hockey to coaching. I tried to find a “real job” and couldn’t because I didn’t finish my college degree. That was my motivation! I returned to school to obtain my BBA while coaching my first minor league hockey team. I did homework while driving back and forth from away games on the bus. Everyone was worried that I would quit school for hockey, but they didn’t realize how important obtaining my degree had become to my future success.  I graduated from Davenport with my masters from the Strategic Management program in 2013.  Now, I am a co-owner of the National Roller Hockey League and president and founder of PALANO Consulting. I also teach business courses at Davenport as an adjunct.

In a nutshell, what do you do?

I am business owner, professor, business consultant, coach, dad and husband.

Tell us about the Roller Hockey League.

My partner, Robert Clouston and I created the National Roller Hockey League in November 2014. Robert had the idea and brought me in to help establish the league. As a serial entrepreneur, I loved the idea, so I jumped on. The NRHL is similar to ice hockey, but with inline hockey skates. We have four original franchises– the Detroit Bordercats, Detroit Stars, Shelby Surge, Motor City Revive. The NRHL made the transition to professional, during the 2014 off-season – making the decision to have ‘paid’ players in Season 2. It is the first time players receive checks since the end of RHI in 1999. The pay-structure is not making millionaires, but it is one step closer to expanding the league throughout the USA.

What is a serial entrepreneur?

A risk taker. Someone who always comes up with new ideas and starts new businesses.

What other businesses have you started?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so starting businesses is in my blood. I started a business consulting company, PALANO Consulting, in 2012 to help small business with sales, management, marketing, digital strategies, and much more.

What is your dream job?

Business Maker. President. CEO. Whatever I can do to lead and help people.

What do you do when you are not working?

I enjoy spending time with my kids Landon, Noelle and Paxton and my beautiful wife, Gina. And, of course, coaching hockey.

6 Reasons to Attend DU at the Detroit Zoo!

We love the Detroit Zoo and would love to see you there! Check out the list below for 6 reasons why you should attend the DU at the Detroit Zoo event on August 13!

1. The Polk Penguin Conservation Center

The Polk Penguin Conservation Center “is the most extraordinary center for penguins in the world!” The 33,000-square-foot conservation center is a 326,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area where you’ll be able to can see more than 80 penguins interact in their habitat.

2. Zookeeper talks

Twice daily you will have the opportunity to hear zookeepers educate zoo-goers about different species and their habitats. It is always fun to learn something new, so don’t miss out!

3. The animals

The Detroit Zoo is home to 2,500 animals from 270 different species of amphibians, mammals, birds and reptiles live in the Zoo’s 125-acres of habitats. You definitely won’t want to miss the chance to be face-to-face with these amazing creatures!

4. Family fun attractions

Not only will you find a plethora of animals at the Detroit Zoo, there are plenty of family fun attractions, too! Don’t forget to make a stop at the 4-D movie theater for a showing of “Ice Age” and be sure to ride the carousel before the day is done!

5. The Tauber Family Railroad

For just $3 a ticket, you and your family can ride this fun, miniature railroad around the Detroit Zoo! The railroad was redone in 2008 with “new coaches, rebuilt engines, gears, gauges, wheels and bodies.” All aboard!

6. To meet other DU Alumni!

There is no doubt that this event will be an awesome opportunity to meet and get to know other DU alumni! We can’t wait to see you at the Detroit Zoo on August 13th!

Date: Saturday, August 13th
Time: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm (Picnic Available 11:30 am – 1:00 pm)
Location: Detroit Zoo (map)
Cost: $15/Adults, $8/Child (2-12), Free/Child (under 2)

Ticket includes zoo admission, picnic lunch located in the DU events pavilion and family friendly activities. Stop by the DU registration table outside the zoo main entrance to pick up your lunch wristband and ticket to access the DU hospitality tent.

Q&A With Our Donors – Jerry and Suzanne Callahan

Jerry and Suzanne Callahan’s relationship with Davenport University spans more than two decades, which is fitting for people who describe themselves as lifelong learners. Their strong commitment to education and connection to Davenport led them to establish the Jerry and Suzanne Callahan Endowed Scholarship. Suzanne is a Davenport faculty member, teaching at the W.A. Lettinga Campus and online within the Marketing department. Jerry, now the Vice President of Innovations & Collaborations at the Van Andel Institute, served in a leadership role for Davenport’s Information Technology team from 1995-2000 and was instrumental in launching Davenport Online in 1997. They shared some of their thoughts on scholarship opportunities and the type of education DU provides with us.

You established an endowed scholarship at DU which you still support. What was your primary incentive to fund a scholarship?

Jerry: Simply put, we are lifelong learners. Our parents, and hopefully our children, see the true value of education as a life changing force. While our endowment is not the largest, we take great pride that someone is able to build part of their learning legacy as a result of our gift. We only hope it inspires the recipients to become lifelong learners, because that is where the fun is.

Suzanne: We realized that our [own] education was our ticket to opportunity and we wanted to do something to try to ease the burden for future students. Many of the students we knew at the time were full time working parents who might not have continued their degree if they did not have financial assistance. Other students we met were first-generation college attendees who may not have seen firsthand the way the college experience could open doors for their future and might not continue if finances got tight. The work ethic and desire to do more for themselves and their families motivated us to do our part to support their goals.

Jerry – you have been very involved in the West Michigan business sector for many years, including many entrepreneurial roles. Do you see Davenport as a launching pad for similar career paths? How does the education and experience DU provides prepare students to succeed in today’s world?

In a word, innovation. Every economy needs well-informed, practical problem solvers. This has always been, to me, the precise type of applied learning Davenport University has offered for more than 150 years.

What do you both feel most passionate about in your community?

Suzanne: I am privileged to serve on the Forest Hills Public Schools Board of Education and am completely immersed in innovation in K-12 education and how it relates to college and career. Now more than ever, I see a strong desire from the workforce, colleges and K-12 education to ensure students are engaged in deep and meaningful learning that will lead to success for them, their families and the community around them. In a related vein, we are active ambassadors for the Mary Free Bed YMCA. The Y is a powerful force for good in every corner of our community and we are particularly proud to be part of new facility. Teaching and learning about healthy lifestyles helps kids and families do well in school and work so this is a logical place to invest our energy.

Alumni Success Story: Brandie Heyboer ’16

As a Staff Accountant for Broadstone Accounting, Brandie Heyboer ’16 works behind-the-scenes as a bookkeeper and accountant for hotels and campgrounds around the Ludington area. Brandie values mentors and networking because of the connections she built growing up in a small town. She says, “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the great mentors in my life, including my current supervisor Robert Lancour ‘98, ‘13, a DU alumnus.” Learn more about Brandie and her role as an accountant below.

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Tell us about yourself, Brandie!

I was born in Grand Rapids and raised in Ludington. After high school I attended West Shore Community College (WSCC) where I fell in love with accounting. My original plan was to be a pharmacist, but after my internship in WSCC’s accounting department and words of advice from my mentors, I was inspired to earn my bachelor degree in accounting at Davenport. After I graduated, I immediately got a job working as a Staff Accountant in my hometown.

As a graduate of DU, when you think of your experience what comes to mind?

It was great! I was student of the West Shore Community College 3 in 1 program, where I took classes at WSCC for 3 years and transferred to DU in my last year. I took most of my classes online while working full-time. I liked how my classwork directly related to the experience I was gaining in my internship.

In a nutshell, what do you do?

I am a Staff Accountant at Broadstone Accounting. We manage the behind-the-scenes bookkeeping and accounting for hotels and campgrounds around the Ludington area. On a day-to-day basis, I handle payroll, accounts payable and accounting processes. I also have special projects – creating waivers for expansion and construction processes, working with banks to obtain records and assisting the staff with whatever they need help with. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the great mentors in my life. And luckily for me my supervisor, Robert Lancour who is also a DU grad earned his BBA in accounting in 1998 and MBA with an accounting concentration in 2013, has been a great mentor.

What is your dream job?

I enjoy my role now, but someday I would like to be a Finance Manager or a Payroll Manager for a larger company or maybe even start my own business.

What do you do when you are not working?

I am passionate about my community that I live and work, so I spend time volunteering at the Animal Shelter and other places in Ludington. I enjoy reading and spending time outdoors and I live in a perfect area to be able to do a variety of outdoor activities – kayaking, camping, hiking, snowmobiling, etc.

Announcing the 2016 Alumni Award Honorees

2016 Alumni Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumni Award

Mike Ohlman, Class of 1988, Grand Rapids Fulton Street Campus

Mike Ohlman, ’89, combined two of his favorite passions, cars and accounting, to create a path to his dream job as the CFO at Berger Chevrolet in Grand Rapids. During college at Davenport, Mike worked in the parts department at Berger and used his hands-on accounting experience to earn a spot on the accounting team. Working his way up, Mike landed the CFO role a little over 18 years ago. Now, Mike is proud to say his son, Lucas, is following in his dad’s footsteps at Davenport.

College of Business Alumni Award

Carlos Sanchez, Class of 2007, W.A. Lettinga Campus

Carlos Sanchez ’07 is the Director of Latino Business and Economic Development Center at Ferris State University, where he is responsible for connecting with the growing Latino population in West Michigan communities while seeking support for initiatives to spur economic development. Sanchez was most recently the executive director of the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Grand Rapids and has held previous positions as diversity specialist for Spectrum Health and diversity programs coordinator for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. Carlos is a former alumni board director.

Hy Berkowitz Outstanding Alumni Award

Tina Pietrangelo, Class of 2007, Holland Campus

Tina Pietrangelo, ’07, was the first in her family to pursue higher education. She was determined to complete her bachelor’s degree as an adult student against all odds and she did it “One Class, One A” at a time. These were the words that motivated her to further her education while she raised her family and worked full-time. Tina recently joined Haworth as a Plant Manager at the LPP Plant, leading a staff of more than 300 people.  She also finds great fulfillment in volunteering as a board member at the Boys and Girls Club in Holland.

College of Technology Alumni Award

Michelle (Stonebrook) Seneca, Class of 2002, Holland Campus

Michelle (Stonebrook) Seneca ’02, IT Director at S2 Yachts (Tiara Yachts), is a self-proclaimed technology enthusiast. She fell in love with computers as a teenager, but it wasn’t until she attended DU that she was able to make her passion her career. Michelle now leads six full-time staff members who manage Tiara Yachts’ hardware, software, data and communications. Her team develops and manages the ERP system and other business software, maintains information security and assists employees with IT related issues in both the Holland and Florida locations. Michelle is an inspiration for women in the technology field, including her niece, Kristen, who works as a web developer at DU.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Jim VanDam, Class of 2012, W.A. Lettinga Campus

Jim Van Dam ’12 works in the front office at the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning as a Premium Sales Manager. He is responsible for tailoring corporate ticket packages for businesses in southern Florida to create memorable fan experiences.  Jim’s road to the “major leagues” wasn’t easy, but he credits the practical, hands-on learning experiences he received at DU to help him land his dream job in the NHL.


College of Health Alumni Award

Monica Goodrich, Class of 1998, Midland Campus (Great Lakes College)

Monica started her nursing career at the age of 15.  She took a nurse aide training class as part of an after-school program and fell in love with nursing.  After graduation she immediately enrolled in college and became a Licensed Practical Nurse.  Soon after, she continued her pursuit of nursing, and attended Davenport University and obtained her registered nurse license in 1998.  Since 1998 to present, Monica holds title to the Director of Nursing at Brittany Manor Living and Rehabilitation Center in Midland.  Monica attributes her nursing leadership to the guidance, teaching and training to Davenport University, providing her a sound structure for the proper delivery of nursing services as well as a platform for additional training and education in the nursing profession to continue to grow and expand nursing knowledge.

DU Accepted Into NCAA Division II Membership Process

We are proud to announce that Davenport’s application for National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) membership in Division II has been approved for the three-year membership process.

As you know, Davenport is committed to quality and achievement of high standards. Acceptance of our application for membership into NCAA Division II affirms the great progress we have made as an institution, and we look forward to the opportunities this affiliation will provide to our students and community. We believe NCAA membership will enhance the quality of college life at Davenport and help us attract the best and brightest students interested in a career-focused education.

For the 2016-2017 school year, we will continue as an active member of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) within the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) while we serve in what is called Provisional Year One with NCAA Division II and the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC).

Beginning with Provisional Year Two (2017-18), we will join the GLIAC in all sports playing a full conference schedule. After completing Provisional Year Three (2018-19) of the membership process, we will gain full NCAA membership and become eligible to compete for NCAA Division II championships beginning as early as 2019-20. The Division II Membership Committee annually determines if an institution should be moved forward into the next year of the membership process.

This marks a new journey and a new challenge for our athletic program. Congratulations to our Athletic Director, Paul Lowden, and his staff for all the hard work to get us here!

Alumni Success Story: Aldina Sejdovic ’11

Aldina Sejdovic ’11 grew up in Dresden, Germany and now leads a team at Lake Michigan Credit Union as a Branch Manager with her passion for helping people. She started as a Teller and took classes at Davenport to help advance her career. Aldina says, “The more DU classes I took, the more I realized what I wanted to do with my life – lead and work with people.” Read more about Aldina and her journey below.

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Q & A with Aldina

Tell us about yourself, Aldina!

I was born in Serbia and grew up in Dresden, Germany. My family and I moved to the United States in July 2001 and settled in Grand Rapids. After high school, I knew I wanted to go to college, but didn’t know what I wanted to do. I enrolled at GRCC, where I pursued a general studies degree. A few years later, I began taking classes at Davenport as a dual-enrolled student. The more DU classes I took, the more I realized what I wanted to do with my life – lead and work with people. Today, I am using what I learned at Davenport to lead an awesome staff as a Branch Manager at Lake Michigan Credit Union.

What was your experience like at DU?

I felt like I belonged at Davenport. As a full-time employee, I found the classes relevant to my work-life and they were extremely convenient. The professors actually cared about me as a person. I had a health scare in 2010 and missed a lot of school. I remember my accounting professor saying, “Your health is most important. When you feel better, turn your stuff in. We will get through this together.” I wasn’t just a number, but a valued student who they cared about.

In a nutshell, what do you do?

I have been an employee at LMCU for more than 10 years. Recently, I was promoted to manage the Lake Michigan Drive office at Lake Michigan Credit Union. My job is to help members reach their financial goals by providing them excellent products and services. Knowing that I am making a difference in people’s lives by helping them with their finances – either helping them pay off a student loan, finance their first car, or consolidate their payments to a better financial well being  – is extremely rewarding to me.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about people. I love leading my staff and helping them reach their personal and professional goals by being their motivator and cheerleader! I also enjoy serving people in our community by volunteering to clean up parks or reading to children at the local elementary. Building strong relationships in and out of the office is really important to me.

What do you do when you are not working?

I spend time with my daughter, Layla. She is the light of my life. I also have a YouTube channel. I make videos about fashion, make-up, organization, budgeting and saving people money by shopping smart!

5 New Things Happening Around the W.A. Lettinga Campus this Summer!

With the growing enrollment of the W.A. Lettinga Campus, many  new things are popping up all over the campus this summer! Check out the list of new buildings, residence halls, clubs, and student organizations below!

#1 Donald W. Maine College of Business Building

The Donald W. Maine College of Business building is starting to look more like a business school. Come January of 2017, this three-story, 60,000-square-foot building will support business education, entrepreneurship and creativity. This space is intended to give students a flexible learning environment to help them better interact, study and create. The College of Business building will make the transition from class to class much easier, and it will free up space which will provide much more room for technological and educational growth.

#2: Panther Ridge Residence Hall

Lots of progress is being made over at the new apartment residence hall – Panther Ridge! Panther Ridge will be a new apartment style residence hall at the corner of 60th and Kraft for DU students to take advantage of in September of 2016. All the rooms have been reserved for this Fall. We are anticipating a fun, vibrant housing complex for students.

#3: Panther Woods Residence Hall

The fourth building in the new Panther Woods complex is also coming together quickly! This new Panther Woods building on 68th is just a mile away from campus, walking distance to the Farmers Athletic Complex. Set to open in September of 2016, this new housing option is perfect for upper level students.

#4: New Farmers Insurance Athletic Complex Turf Field  

The Farmers Insurance Athletic Complex, located on 68th St., is now complete with home stands, concessions, a ticket booth and athletic locker rooms and offices, ensuring the best possible experience for DU athletic teams and our guests.  This space houses Football, Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Men’s and Women’s Track & Field, and Men’s Rugby and many other practices, events and community activities.




#5: New Registered Student Organizations (RSO)

Next on our list of new things happening around the W.A. Lettinga Campus this summer are new Registered Student Organizations. The first RSO is “DUbate,” a student organization with the goal of ultimately participating in college level debates. The DU Black Student Union, along with two other academically honorary societies: Alpha Lambda Delta and Upsilon Pi Epsilon are also new to campus this summer.

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