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6 ways to get involved in 2018

Let us help you with your 2018 New Year’s resolutions! Whether you are looking to expand your network, experience something new, volunteer to help students or land a new job, DU is here to help!

- Experience the new Little Caesars Arena by attending the Detroit Red Wings Alumni Game on Thursday, Jan. 25. Buy your tickets today!

- Sign up to volunteer to speak in classes or to student groups. Email your resume to get on the volunteer list.

- Donate your new or gently-used business attire to the Panther Resource Closet on campus. Learn more here.

- Looking for a new job or to expand your staff? Connect with the DU Career Services Office to learn about jobs or hiring a DU grad.

- Expand your network by following the alumni Facebook page or joining the LinkedIn page.

- Learn something new with the Institute for Professional Excellence (IPEx) program. View class offerings and schedules today.

Alternative Spring Break Heads to New Orleans to #DUgood!

Davenport University’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) Program recently sent 18 students to New Orleans from February 25 - March 3 to assist with flood prevention and recovery through ecosystem restoration. ASB offers students the opportunity to become active citizens in their home communities and communities across the nation.

The group stayed in the historic Lower Ninth Ward, which was one of the hardest hit areas during Hurricane Katrina and during the floods due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. The area first experienced a devastating loss in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, and thousands of homes are still being lost due to devastating floods in the area, with damage from the floods rivaling that of Hurricane Katrina. The area was also hit with tornadoes earlier this year, further adding to the damage and loss within the area.

The ASB crew played a small part in providing aid to the area and its residents in partnership with the organization Common Ground Relief. The group helped repair the local ecosystem through planting water-absorbing plants and Cyprus trees in Jean Lafitte National Park as well as in area bayous with the National Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service, and worked in the Common Ground Relief nursery to take care of plants for future projects. These efforts will help restore and preserve both the homes and natural environment in the area, and allow wildlife to return to their homes.

The group also had the opportunity to engage in the cultural experience of Mardi Gras, and learned a lot about the people in the communities they were helping. In addition to the work completed in New Orleans, the group also conducted to volunteer projects at Howard Christensen Nature Center, which allowed them to help better the community of Grand Rapids in addition to the city of New Orleans.

Student and Site Leader Marissa Beadle has been involved with ASB for three years and states that ASB, “Has given me the opportunity to grow as a volunteer and active citizen not only here in Grand Rapids, but in different communities across the nation from St. Marks, Florida to Columbia, South Carolina and now New Orleans, Louisiana. I have met some of the most wonderful students here at Davenport through ASB and could not be more thankful for the opportunity grow within the RSO and end my time as a Site Leader!”

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

Erik Dane ‘07
Assistant Director of Alumni Relations and Events

Sara Mooney ‘09
Assistant Director of Alumni Communications and Development

Road Map for your Personal Development

I’m a huge fan of GPS. Before that, I was a constant user of websites like MapQuest and Google Maps. Before that, I possessed a 50-state road atlas, State of Michigan map with detailed inset maps of various cities and two county map books that included every street within the county. When I’m driving, I definitely want to know where I’m going.

When I first started in my professional career, I was driving to a conference in Atlanta, Georgia. To this day, I remember working my way through the various pages of the atlas, comparing routes and then eventually highlighting which expressways I would take that would be the quickest option. Doing this type of planning can seem tedious, or worse, pointless. However, I believe planning your trips saves enormous time in the long-run, keeps you out of trouble areas and allows you to remain focused on your long-range destination.

Planning Your Life

You see, I don’t know anyone who ventures out on a trip – whether for business or pleasure – and operates with the mentality that they don’t know where they’re going, nor do they care. I don’t know anyone who gets in their car and says, “Let’s drive south for a while, and where we end up, that’s our vacation destination!” I don’t know anyone who travels for business and does not know exactly where they are headed. Unfortunately, I know a lot of people who treat their lives that way. Each new day that they wake up is unplanned, unfocused, and very accidental with respect to direction.

In March of 2012, I was reflecting on the importance of having purpose in life, and tweeted what proved to be a profound statement that I use quite frequently now in trainings and consultative services: “You will never drift into purposefulness.” So, if you can’t drift into purposefulness, then it has to be intentional.

How to Create a Personal Development Plan

A friend of mine always tells people that his favorite leadership quote is from the movie, “Alice in Wonderland.” An odd place to find leadership principles, but a quality statement, nonetheless: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” Now, to be clear, this isn’t advocating multiple options to the same destination, this is talking about the end destination not mattering, so your options are all equally valid (or to be fair, invalid!). This is like getting in the car and saying, “Let’s drive south to our vacation!” This type of attitude about our lives is unacceptable to me, and I’m hoping it is unacceptable to you as well. To keep yourself from falling into the trap that you can drift into purposeful, I’m proposing something different – a Personal Development Plan. So, what does a Personal Development Plan look like? Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Where do you want to go? What do you want your life to look like in about five years? Having too long of a timeframe (over five years) can make the end seem unrealistic. Having too short of a time frame can make the progress seem too incremental. My suggestion is to look at all areas of your life: professional, educational, financial, personal, physical, etc., and determine what you want to look like at the end of five years. That becomes your “destination location” – you now know where you want to go.
  • Begin taking each of the categories and identifying what has to happen in your life to get there within the timeframe. For example, if you’re going to be pursuing an advanced degree, it isn’t enough to put on your plan that you want to graduate. You also have to think strategically about every step. You may have an entrance exam requirement to fulfill like a GMAT or GRE, the application process, etc. You need to include every aspect into your plan.
  • Determine what you need to do differently beginning today, to start reaching the goals that you have. If you want to be somewhere different in five years from where you are now, then you have to do things that are different. The layman’s definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over but to expect a different result. So, what do you need to do differently? Some examples include reading a certain number of books on your area of expertise within your industry; begin blogging; identify a mentor within your industry; or, attend conferences that will force you to expand your learning. 

The Benefit to You

Having a Personal Development Plan sets you apart from your peers. It will create options for you both personally and professionally. A recent study shows that 42% of college graduates do not read another book after graduation. If you’re not reading, you’re missing out learning best practices. The fact is, leaders are readers, and if you’re not reading, you won’t be leading.

By separating yourself from your colleagues, you begin to be the one who people go to for additional opportunities, for answers to questions and for input on strategic decisions. All of this helps to get you to your intended destination that you’ve targeted for yourself in your five-year plan.

Let the Institute for Professional Excellence Help…

With our professional development and/or executive coaching services, the Institute for Professional Excellence (IPEx) at Davenport University can assist you regardless of your level within your organization.  IPEx will help you reach your greatest potential by providing education and training opportunities to support your Personal Development Plan. We want to make sure that your future looks different from your present and you stay on track to achieve your goals. IPEx can help you identify and arrive at your desired destination.

© 2016 | Dan Rundhaug | Executive Director
Institute for Professional Excellence (IPEx) | Davenport University

Dan can be reached at: or 616.233.2582



DU Football Inaugural Season A Success

The Davenport University football team concluded their inaugural season on Saturday, November 5 with a 6-5 record, which is very impressive for a first year program. Coach Lou Esposito said, “I am proud of the team. They had a winning season as the first team in school history and I am looking forward to next year.” He shares a few notable accomplishments below…

  • Ranked second in the NAIA in kickoff return yard average (26.6)
  • Third in rushing defense (85.9)
  • Fifth in total defense (270.2)
  • Eighth in scoring defense (17.5)
  • 12th in opponent third down conversions
  • 17th in total sacks (25)

In addition to the team’s success on the field, a number of Panthers were recognized for their academic success.  Nate CouturierBrent Showers and Patrick McMahon have all been named CoSIDA Academic All-District in College Division District I for this season. The trio of Panthers have been key for the first year program at Davenport University.

Winter sports are ramping up! View the full sports schedule on the Panther Athletic website today!

Alumnus Wes Trimpe Honored With Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Congratulations to alumnus Wes Trimpe for being named Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce Epic Awards. Wes graduated from Davenport University in 2013 with a BBA in Finance. His successful baseball career started locally at East Kentwood High School and then continued at DU where he specialized in first base and pitching.

After playing at Davenport Wes moved on to pitch in the American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC) for the Kalamazoo Cubs. At the completion of his playing career Wes chose to give back to our local baseball community by coaching. He started Sluggers Sports Academy in December of 2014 with the goal of heightening the level of baseball competition within the southeastern Grand Rapids area along with assisting young athletes in their development into respectable and contributing members of our community. Since then, the Academy has expanded to 15 youth baseball teams, 12 instructors, 35 coaches and serve over 300+ families. Sluggers is also a host location to Davenport’s Competitive and Sideline Cheer teams.

Help us congratulate Wes with this incredible honor!

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.

Matt Wiedenhoeft ‘13.jpg

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.

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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