Minutes of the Special Formal Session


Thursday, November 12, 2020


A special formal session of the Board of Trustees of Northern Michigan University was held on Thursday, November 12, 2020, in Marquette, Michigan.  The meeting was convened at 4:00 p.m. via Zoom Video Conference by Chair Steven M. Mitchell.


Trustees present included:

Mr. Steven M. Mitchell, Chair

Ms. Donna L. Murray-Brown

Ms. Lisa I. Fittante

Ms. Tami M. Seavoy, Vice Chair

Mr. James K. Haveman

Mr. Stephen E. Young

Mr. Robert E. Mahaney

Dr. Fritz J Erickson, ex officio


Trustees absent included:

Ms. Alexis M. Hart


Senior Staff and Counsel present included:

Mr. Brad Canale, Chief Executive Officer – NMU Foundation

Mr. R. Gavin Leach, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer of the Board of Trustees

Dr. Kerri Schuiling, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Steven VandenAvond, Vice President for Extended Learning and Community Engagement

Ms. Deanna Hemmila, Executive Director – Board/Government Relations

Ms. Cathy A. Andrew, Secretary of the Board of Trustees

Mr. Kurt McCamman, Legal Counsel




Secretary Andrew took roll call and noted that a quorum was met with seven Trustees being present.



The following action was taken:


It was moved by Trustee Young and seconded by Trustee Haveman that the Board of Trustees approve the following:


·       Employee Appreciation COVID-19 Grant (active and full-time employees) of $1,000 minimum or $2,880 maximum – this would be based on 1.92% of the employee’s salary up to $150,000, whichever is highest.  This would be in recognition of COVID-19 preparedness for the 2020-21 academic year and unanticipated cost savings realized in fiscal year 2020.  Contingent faculty and graduate assistants will receive a partial award.

·       Transfer UP Scholarship – the creation of a winter 2021 scholarship incentive package to be named the “Transfer UP – Winter Awards” in support of enrollment efforts for the upcoming semester:

1.     First-year students who qualified for NMU scholarships for fall 2020, but who did not enroll, will receive the scholarship amount they qualified for in fall 2020 or the Transfer UP – Winter 2021 Award of $1,000, whichever is higher.

2.     Michigan residents – Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society community college students will receive the one-time Transfer UP – Winter 2021 Award of $1,000, plus NMU’s standard PTK award of $500 per semester, for a winter 2021 total of $1,500.

3.     Michigan residents – Transfer students who enroll for the first time at NMU in winter 2021, will receive the new one-time Transfer UP – Winter 2021 Award of $1,000.

·       New U.P. Freshmen and Transfer Scholarships – a new perpetual $1 million U.P. scholarship fund for new freshmen and transfer students entering for fall 2021.  Details of the new scholarship fund shall be finalized by the first Board meeting in 2021, if not before, and focus on assisting prospective U.P. students and families in enrolling at Northern Michigan University.


Discussion followed:


Trustee Young made the following comments:

·       The Finance Committee has been looking at this for several weeks and came up with this hybrid proposal to recognize faculty and staff efforts for what has been done to-date to deal with the COVID-19 situation, which continues to create issues for universities across the country.

·       This was coupled with the idea of establishing the new perpetual U.P. Freshmen and Transfer Scholarship fund encouraging U.P. students to attend NMU.

·       This motion does two things – recognizes faculty and staff efforts and positions NMU in the future moving forward to keep the students we currently have while attracting new students.

·       The reason NMU is able to do this is the financial situation has improved to an extent where it allows one-time incentives, which was not the case several months ago.  These are one-time funds and he believes this is the best way to utilize them.

·       On the scholarship aspect, in terms of the Finance Committee members, the primary movers and shakers were Trustees Haveman and Mahaney.  He thanked them both for their hard work.


Trustee Haveman made the following comments:

·       He thanked Finance Committee Chairman Young for skillfully processing this over the past few months.

·       This action does two things – with faculty and students – and is a win-win.

·       It’s the right thing to do and he fully supports it.


Trustee Seavoy made the following comments:

·       She appreciates the work of the Finance Committee and administration.

·       The COVID grant will make it a meaningful amount that goes to each employee.

·       It is the work of all of the employees across the board that has made it successful for NMU to come back in person and do everything NMU has done to keep the students safe.

·       She likes the way this is structured with a base amount and cap amount.


Chair Mitchell made the following comments:

·       He thanked the Finance Committee, President Erikson, and Vice President Leach for their hard work on these items.

·       He said when it became apparent NMU was in a better financial position than expected, President Erickson made the recommendation to provide the grants to faculty and staff for the sacrifices they have made since March.

·       The Board and administration want to show their appreciation to everyone for the tremendous hard work, sacrifices made, and willingness to make concessions in contract talks.  This was a matter of everyone across campus pulling together to make it successful.

·       NMU is close to finishing the semester with in-person, face-to-face instruction – one of the few universities in the state to accomplish this.

·       The Board has both a fiscal and moral responsibility to reward everyone with these grants for the concessions they were willing to make.

·       The scholarships will be important as NMU moves forward.

·       He thanked the entire staff and faculty for everything done to make the semester successful.


Being no further discussion, Chair Mitchell called the vote.


            On a roll-call vote, the Board voted as follows:


                                    Aye                             Nay


                              Lisa I. Fittante

                              James K. Haveman

                              Robert E. Mahaney

                              Steven M. Mitchell

                              Donna Murray-Brown

                              Tami M. Seavoy

                              Stephen E. Young



Chair Mitchell adjourned the meeting at 4:13 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,



/signed/Cathy A. Andrew

Secretary of the Board of Trustees