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President Ford, Former Trustee and Longtime Albion College Friend, Dies at 93


Listen to the
Gerald R. Ford
Memorial Service

February 21, 2007

Ford Memorial Service
WMA - 5.96 MB - 50 min

By Morris Arvoy

ALBION, Mich. – Gerald R. Ford, the Michigan native and former Albion College trustee who rose to the presidency after the wrenching years of Watergate and President Richard Nixon’s resignation—is being remembered on campus and by Albion College president Peter Mitchell for his "ability to pierce through the complexities of issues, understand what must be done, and then exercise the courage and force of will to act with integrity and compassion." [Read President Mitchell's Grand Rapids Press opinion feature of Dec. 30, 2006.]

President Ford had strong ties to Albion College, serving as a trustee from the 1960s until 1973, as well as founding the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Policy and Service at the college in 1977. The Ford Institute was the first educational program in the country named in honor of the former president.

Ford, who visited campus several times during his lifetime, sent a videotaped greeting that was played at the inauguration of Albion President Peter Mitchell in 1997. Ford delivered the College’s commencement address in 1967. He received an honorary degree from the College in 1965.












Ford delivers an address inaugurating the Ford Institute in 1977 at Goodrich Chapel.

Ford meets with Ford Institute students in 1990.

Students prep Ford before he receives his honorary degree in 1965.

Over the years, Ford met with countless Albion College students to discuss their work with the Ford Institute.

“President Gerald Ford has long been a friend to Albion College,” said Al Pheley, director of the Ford Institute. “Since his time in Congressional service and his terms on the College’s board of trustees, he supported the College in many ways. At the conclusion of his presidential – and government – service, he looked for a way to instill public service qualities in young adults. This vision brought him again to Albion where he established the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Service, now called the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Policy and Service.”

In a speech launching the Ford Institute in the College’s Goodrich Chapel in 1977, Ford stated, “It struck me, when I was in college, that many people thought of ‘public service’ as a synonym for ‘public office.’ However, it seemed to me that public service was more about improving the quality of people’s lives, and there were many ways, both personally and professionally, to pursue that goal.”

As part of the dedication ceremony on October 3, 1977, President Ford stated:

“I believe it is the duty…of good men and women to enter public service as…our best hope of strengthening the moral fiber not only in but outside of government.  In this belief I am honored and I am proud to make the announcement of the establishment of the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Service here at Albion College…Our forefathers when they wrote the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence had a dream of freedom, liberty, and prosperity…That dream had not been fully realized, but…with… the participation…of those who go to the Institute…that dream can be a reality.”

A signed copy of this dedication hangs in the Ford Institute office.

“With the Ford Institute the first undergraduate program of its type, President Ford’s vision was to provide an opportunity for undergraduate level students to explore policy issues more fully and to prepare future leaders in all fields though coursework, service, internships and personal mentoring,” Pheley said. “This wasn’t just a focus on students interested in going into law or politics, but a much broader perspective—to get students involved in community service, understand the workings of communities and their governments, so that they will be leaders whether in their community, their profession, at the grassroots level or in government itself. The Institute is designed to give them the theory, real-world experience, and interest to make a difference. It emphasizes the Ford philosophy of working together to achieve our goals—in the bipartisan style which characterizes Gerald Ford and the Ford administration.”

A memorial service will be held for Ford on campus after classes resume Jan. 22, 2007.

Albarkat, ’07, Wins National Service Fraternity Scholarship

Reported by Jake Weber

ALBION, Mich. — Alpha Phi Omega (APO), one of the nation’s pre-eminent collegiate service fraternities recently recognized Albion College student Colby Albarkat,07, as one of its top 20 national members in 2006.

Albarkat was selected from a pool of more than 300 applicants to receive APO’s John Mack Scholarship. APO’s national publication “Torch and Trefoil,” noted that the scholarship recognizes “outstanding participation and leadership in extracurricular activities to benefit individual needs and charitable or humanitarian organizations.”

“While service is not something that one does for recognition, it's always encouraging to have support systems like APO that gather people who have a passion for service,” Albarkat said of receiving the award. “Rewarding service, especially with scholarships, makes it possible and desirable for more people to contribute.”

Albarkat, who notes she has “made APO a priority since I became a member in fall 2004,” was selected in large part for her leadership of STRIVE, an Albion College student group that cultivates long-term mentoring relationships with middle-school students. She has also served several leadership positions with APO.

Albarkat is a junior at Albion College, majoring in English with minors in philosophy and journalism. She is the daughter of Muwaffaq Albarkat and Rhonda Albarkat of Clarkston and a graduate of Clarkston High School.

The 20 recipients of APO’s 2006 John Mack Scholarship represent a cross-section of American colleges and universities, including Alma College, the University of Michigan, University of California San Diego, Augustana College and Virginia Polytechnic Institute, among others.

Alumna Honored at Northern Michigan for Excellence in Teaching

Gwendolyn Hetler, '61 and emeritus professor W. Keith Moore, at the dedication of Albion's new science complex, November 2006.  John Williams photo
Reported by Jake Weber

ALBION, Mich. — Albion College alumna Gwendolyn K. Hetler, ’61, a professor of mathematics/computer science at Northern Michigan University (NMU), was honored last month with one of the university’s two Excellence in Teaching Awards.

According to “Campus,” NMU’s online newsletter, Hetler was commended “for the support she provides at-risk students as a teacher of “090 and 100” classes, adviser to freshman probationary students and for her role as an unofficial mentor to adjunct faculty who teach similar classes.” Hetler, a member of the NMU Mathematics/Computer Science department since 1987, was nominated for the award by her department colleagues.

In accepting the award, Hetler in turn thanked Albion College professor emeritus Keith Moore, for his influence on her teaching career. “Keith Moore … not only taught me mathematics, he taught me, by example, how to TEACH mathematics,” Hetler said. “I am convinced that I would not have enjoyed success in a profession I have loved over 45 years were it not for the lessons I learned from Keith Moore.” She noted that despite the fact most of her NMU colleagues and friends had never met Moore, “I appreciate the opportunity to acknowledge his work publicly.”

Only two of NMU’s more than 325 full-time faculty are chosen each year for the Excellence in Teaching Award. Winners must have demonstrated a sustained record of high achievement in teaching in a variety of areas, including peer and student evaluations, thorough knowledge of subject, organization, consistence and enthusiasm.

Fraser Field Earns Statewide Award for Grounds Crew

Grounds supervisor Mark Frever (right) stands with field caretakers Elmer Garrett and Jeff Watson in front of the west end of Morley Fraser field, January 2007.  The field received a Michigan Field of the Year Award for the 2006 football season.  Jake Weber photo
Reported by Jake Weber

ALBION, Mich. — Under the diligent care of grounds supervisor Mark Frever and crew, Albion College’s Morley Fraser Field went the distance this football season, to win the Michigan Sports Turf Managers’ Association Field of the Year award.

Their winning effort sounds simple: at the end of the season, the field was still covered with the grass it had in August. Yet, “for a field to last an entire season is really remarkable,” said Albion College sports information director Bobby Lee. Fraser field is used for both varsity and junior varsity competition, and for weekly varsity practice sessions. Lee points out that this is more wear than is faced by most Midwestern collegiate-level fields, and many of those must be resodded midway through the season.

“Very few fields in Michigan survived football season this year, because of all the rain we had,” Frever elaborated. “Our field made it through the last game, with the cooperation of the athletic department and students, as well as all the work my crew does behind-the scenes.”

Frever said he and his grounds crew have been “very aggressive” over the last few years in customizing aeration and drainage systems for Fraser field. Their hard work has not been lost on the coaching staff. “After one junior varsity game, the coaches had the players cover the entire field, stomping down all the divots. That was very important to the field’s success, and it’s a cooperation that you don’t see at many schools.”

Our goal is to provide a safe and consistent playing surface for the athletes,” Frever concluded. “It’s an accumulation of efforts that led us to a very successful season for Fraser field.”

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