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Introducing the 2017 Alumni Award Recipients

The Alumni Board of Directors is pleased to announce the 2017 Alumni Award recipients. The following alumni have exemplified the vision and values of Davenport University through their professional and community service. Introducing the 2017 Alumni Award honorees, pictured above from L to R:

Distinguished Alumni Award
Mike Nelsen, Class of 1987

Mike earned his BBA in Business in 1987 and was quickly was recruited to help launch QVC.com as employee number two. Mike built fulfillment operations from the ground up focusing on one of the industry’s first drop-ship networks of 300+ suppliers that powered sales of $100+ million in 1999. After QVC.com, Mike helped start craftopia.com, which was sold to HSN. Now, the Chief Development Officer at CommerceHub, Mike is responsible for business and client development efforts for both online and brick and mortar retailers, distributors, and supplier companies such JCPenney, Best Buy, Dell, Home Depot, Costco and QVC.

When Mike is not working, he spends most of his time with his wife and three sons, who have all been very active in athletics. Between football, lacrosse and hockey games, Mike has traveled thousands of miles a year to watch his son’s sports and now focuses on getting them through college. He was our first speaker in 2016 when we launched our annual Neighborhood Business and Friends luncheon.

Donald W. Maine College of Business Alumni Award
Wendy Morrow, Class of 1993

Wendy is the Chief Financial Officer of Grand Haven Custom Molding (GHCM), a privately held plastic injection molding company in Grand Haven. Prior to GHCM, Morrow spent 16 years at The Stow Company in Holland, where she was the first woman to be named Vice President of Finance in the company’s history. Wendy started at The Stow Company as an accounting supervisor. Four months later, she was promoted to controller, then to corporate controller. She is also a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and a member of the Institute of Management Accountants. Wendy is an active volunteer at the Tri-Cities Family YMCA.

Hy Berkowitz Professional Excellence Award
Pat McPherson, Class of 2006

From stump grinding to mopping factory floors, Pat McPherson ’06 was especially determined to earn the money to get his Davenport degree.  Looking back, Pat says that he does not know what was the hardest: sorting bottles from plastic bags at Lakeport Market, cleaning pop can machines at Meijer, or cleaning bathrooms and showers at Lakeport State Park. All of this while working at the family stump grinding business in high school to make money to pay for college. However, once it was time to head to college, the hard work did not end. Pat attended classes Monday through Thursday, and drove to Detroit to mop factory floors Friday through Sunday.

Nonetheless, thanks to his interest in IT, Pat pursued education at Davenport University where he earned his BS in Computer Networking. Now, Pat works on a team at ITS Partners as a senior sales engineer solving IT problems for clients all over the world.  Pat works with organizations that have anywhere from a few thousand devices into the hundreds of thousands. Pat assists organizations in determining if there are tools that can solve their problems, architect how the solution would be configured and implemented within their environments.

College of Technology Alumni Award
Josh Serba, Class of 2011

In 2014, Josh was hired as the Network Manager of AHC+ Hospitality.  In 2015 he was promoted to Chief Information Officer (CIO), where he oversees the daily operation of the IT department, and steers the technology decisions for AHC.  AHC+ Hospitality owns the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, JW Marriott Grand Rapids, and Peter Island Resort & Spa in the British Virgin Islands; and also operates the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids.  In his short time as CIO, they’ve upgraded the network infrastructure, WiFi, server environment, TV systems, and much more. In his spare time, he enjoys coaching his two son’s baseball and hockey teams.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Leslie Winkle, Class of 2011 & 2016, Traverse City Campus

Leslie is a second-generation Davenport graduate who followed her father’s footsteps in attending DU. She received her BBA in 2011 and completed her MBA if 2016. She is the owner of Studio 415, a full-service salon for men, women and children in Traverse City, which she purchased in 2014. Studio 415 has a simple, yet purposeful mission: ‘work hard and be nice.’ Leslie’s ‘be nice’ ethic means giving back to the community as well.

In 2016, Studio 415 was selected as the recipient of the Hagerty Small Business of the Year presented by the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.  Leslie is also an adjunct instructor at the Traverse City campus teaching accounting.

College of Health Alumni Award
Joseph Rodriguez, Class of 2011

Joseph graduated from the Midland Campus in 2011 with an Associate in Nursing. He currently is a Nurse Case Manager at SouthernCare Hospice in Saginaw, where in 2016 he was recognized as the Regional Clinician of the Year for his outstanding performance and delivery of care. He is a strong healthcare advocate and actively shares and teaches his communities about available health care services, not just for end of life care and hospice, but also in preventative care, palliative care and long-term care.

In his spare time, Joseph supports and advocate for The ROCK (a center for youth development); The Diaper Alliance, providing diapers for those in need in the bay-area, and American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Relay for Life.

2017 Alumni Award Nominations are Open

Do you know someone from your class, network or company who you believe should be recognized for their accomplishments, service to others and contributions to the community? The Davenport University Alumni Association is currently seeking nominations for the 2017 Alumni Awards and we need your help identifying outstanding DU alumni. Honor someone you admire today by nominating them! The award categories are:

  • Davenport University Distinguished Alumni Award
  • Hy Berkowitz Professional Excellence Award
  • Donald W. Maine College of Business Alumni Award
  • College of Technology Alumni Award
  • College of Health Professions Alumni Award
  • Outstanding Young Alumni Award

To nominate a deserving Davenport University alum, please visit our website to learn more about the awards and complete the online nomination form. Nominations will be open until April 30, 2017.

6 ways to get involved in your Alumni Association in 2017

Stay connect by getting involved in your active alumni network!

Social Media - Follow us on Facebook and Instagram! Connecting on our social media outlets is one of the fastest ways to get the most updated information on what is happening with DU alumni. Plus, who doesn’t like fun pictures of alumni and snowy campus photos!

Events - Attend an event! Our 2017 schedule of events will include alumni tailgates, professional development opportunities and special days on the golf course! We have something for everyone!  View our upcoming events on our website.

Volunteer – Volunteer your time and talents to speak to a class, join at a regional alumni club, or offer advice on an alumni panel. Are you a recent grad in West Michigan? Join our Young Alumni Council!

Athletics – Cheer on your Panthers alongside our mascot, Pounce, at an athletics event. Not located in Grand Rapids? Many of our teams play games all over the country! Visit the athletics website for the full schedule of events.

Sign up to receive Davenport University e-mail updates to connect with fellow alumni and stay informed about DU’s latest initiatives, events and professional development opportunities.

Make a Gift – Invest in future DU students by contributing to the general fund, scholarships or a specific department. Learn more about giving back to DU.


Contact Information

To get involved in alumni activities or to learn more about benefits and services, contact:

Jason Madden ‘08
Executive Director of Alumni Relations and Development
616-233-2593
Jason.Madden@davenport.edu

Erik Dane ‘07
Assistant Director of Alumni Relations and Events
616-233-3420
Erik.Dane@davenport.edu

Sara Mooney ‘09
Assistant Director of Alumni Communications and Development
616-233-3419
Sara.Mooney@davenport.edu

Alumni Award Recipients – 2016

On Friday, September 23, the Davenport University Alumni Association honored six outstanding alumni who have exemplified the vision and values of the university through their professional and community service. Congratulations to the 2016 award recipients!

L to R:

Outstanding Young Alumni Award – Jim VanDam, Class of 2012

Hy Berkowitz Outstanding Alumni Award – Tina Pietrangelo, Class of 2007

College of Business Alumni Award – Carlos Sanchez, Class of 2007

Hy Berkowitz Outstanding Alumni Award – Tina Pietrangelo, Class of 2007

College of Health Alumni Award – Monica Goodrich, Class of 1998

College of Technology Alumni Award – Michelle (Stonebrook) Seneca, Class of 2002

College of Health Alumni Award – Monica Goodrich, Class of 1998

Not pictured, Distinguished Alumni Award – Mike Ohlman, Class of 1988

View photos from the event on the alumni facebook page.

Homecoming 2016 – THANK YOU!

Davenport University celebrated Homecoming 2016 on September 24! It was an exciting day to have so many alumni and friends on campus for homecoming festivities and traditions. Thank you to everyone who cheered our football team to victory and supported other DU teams as well who played throughout the weekend!

Check out the Homecoming photos on the alumni facebook page!

Attention Chicago Area Alumni

Are you an alumnus living in the Chicago area? We want to hear from you! The Alumni Association is here to serve DU alumni living and/or working in the Chicago area. Our goal is to connect alumni by hosting events and networking opportunities.

If you are interested in attending an event in Chicago or helping create a DU Chicago Alumni Chapter, please email Phil Wingo MBA ’16. Be sure to keep your information updated with us so that we can keep you informed of upcoming activities.

Contact the Alumni Office at alumni@davenport.edu if you are interested in creating an alumni chapter in your area. We are launching several new chapters over the next year and ramping up current chapters’ offerings, providing opportunities for graduates and current students to create strong professional and social connections.

You are invited to the Alumni Awards Ceremony

You are invited to the annual Alumni Awards Ceremony to honor six graduates who have exemplified the vision and values of the University through their professional and community service. Join the Alumni Association on Friday, September 23 at 6:30 p.m. to honor the following alumni:

Distinguished Alumni Award – Mike Ohlman, Class of 1988, Grand Rapids Fulton Street Campus
College of Business Alumni Award – Carlos Sanchez, Class of 2007, W.A. Lettinga Campus
Hy Berkowitz Outstanding Alumni Award – Tina Pietrangelo, Class of 2007, Holland Campus
College of Technology Alumni Award – Michelle (Stonebrook) Seneca, Class of 2002, Holland Campus
Outstanding Young Alumni Award – Jim VanDam, Class of 2012, W.A. Lettinga Campus
College of Health Alumni Award – Monica Goodrich, Class of 1998, Midland Campus (Great Lakes College)

Tickets are only $20 and include an opportunity to mingle with the honorees and enjoy a delicious dinner.

Thank you Move-In Day Volunteers

Thank you to all the amazing alumni and friends who helped with New Student Move-in Day last week Friday! We couldn’t have asked for a better day to move in the new students. Without the generous support of alumni volunteers, this day would not have been possible. If you are interested in volunteering at Davenport events in the near future, email the alumni office.  

Perfect Night for Lansing Lugnuts Alumni Outing

It was a perfect night for baseball, as nearly 40 alumni and friends gathered for a Lansing Lugnuts ballgame last week Friday.  Alumni were greeted with front row seats on the Pepsi Porch and an all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet! The night ended with a bang as fireworks lit up the summer night sky over center field. View photos from the event on the Alumni Association Facebook page.