CMU President Announces Historic Partnerships To Help Faculty, Students

“These connections have shaped more than 250,000 CMU alumni,” said Central Michigan University President George E. Ross in Mt. Pleasant on Wednesday night.

It was historic announcement on a day celebrating 125 years of CMU history: new partnerships to help graduates find jobs.

University staff say it was one of the 14th CMU president’s most impactful state of the university speeches.

The idea: forge partnerships with business partners to open doors for both students and faculty.

“On this very day in 1892, the first 31 students of the Central Michigan school started their studies,” Ross said in his opening. “And here we are, 125 years later.”

President Ross picked a night already steeped in history to announce a bold new plan to a packed Warriner Hall.

“Those partnerships will mutually be beneficial with CMU students and graduates, having prime access,” Ross said.

Ross called on many students and faculty by name, each of whom has shown leadership in university programs.

He also reiterated the university’s decorated history.

“Nearly all of our supervisors, 97-percent have participated in the workshops that make them better team-builders,” Ross said.

Then, the big announcement, namely two premier external partnerships with Quicken Loans and Ford Motor Company.

Each has already hired hundreds of CMU alumni.

“I’m really honored to be able to have this privilege on behalf of Ford and over 900 alumni of CMU to receive this first prestigious award,” said Brigit Behnerdt, vice-president of global programs and purchasing operations at Ford Motor Company.

“With your partnership at CMU, the incredible people that we have at our family of companies as well as Quicken Loans, we would not be in this position without your alumni,” said Jim Livingston, vice-president of talent acquisition at Quicken Loans.

“The partnerships will give our students an opportunity to engage more with our corporate partners,” Ross said. “The benefit side for them is talent.”

It’s news students like senior Emily Simpson see as promising.

More partnerships could be possible.

“They help immensely,” Simpson said. “Just by being in a program, being involved and getting to know people will further your career and you as a person.”