Minutes of the Formal Session


Friday, April 29, 2022


A formal session of the Board of Trustees of Northern Michigan University was held on Friday, April 29, 2022, in Ballroom I, Northern Center, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan.  The meeting was convened at 11:03 a.m., by Chair Stephen E. Young.


Trustees present included:

Mr. Stephen E. Young, Chair

Mr. Jason T. Morgan

Ms. Lisa I. Fittante

Ms. Tami M. Seavoy

Ms. Alexis M. Hart, Vice Chair

Mr. Gregory J. Seppanen

Ms. Melissa A. Holmquist

Dr. Kerri D. Schuiling, ex officio

Mr. Robert E. Mahaney



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. Dale P. Kapla, Interim 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     


The meeting was live-streamed on YouTube at



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



Chair Young welcomed Ms. Melissa “Missie” Holmquist to her first formal meeting as an NMU Trustee.


Chair Young introduced former Trustees who were in the audience for the meeting:  Trustee Emeritus Steve Adamini, Trustee Steve Mitchell, Trustee Emeritus Scott Holman, Trustee Emeritus Rick Popp, and Trustee Emeritus Thomas Zurbuchen.



The following action was taken:


It was moved by Trustee Hart, seconded by Trustee Seppanen, and approved by a vote of 8 – 0, to amend the agenda to include the following items:


1)    Northern Michigan University Faculty Association MAHE-MEA-NEA Negotiated Contract

2)    Northern Michigan University Interim Strategic Plan

3)    Statement by the Board of Trustees Chair


The following action was taken:


It was moved by Trustee Hart, seconded by Trustee Seavoy, and approved by a vote of 8 – 0, to approve the agenda as amended.



President Schuiling read a memorial in honor of former NMU President John X. Jamrich who died on February 20, 2022.  A moment of silence was held in his honor.  (Addendum #1)


Interim Provost Kapla read memorials for the following:

·       Ms. Jayden Hill – a Political Science major and sprinter on the NMU Women’s Track and Field team, who died on April 3, 2022.  A moment of silence was held in her honor.

·       Ms. Neftaly Hernandez – an Entrepreneurship major in the Walker L. Cisler College of Business, who died on February 3, 2022.  A moment of silence was held in her honor.



Dr. Dwight Brady, President of the American Association of United Professors (AAUP), addressed the Board regarding transparency.  He introduced AAUP President-elect Dr. Rick Mengyan who thanked the Board for meeting with him on Thursday and said he looks forward to the next couple of years working with the Board, current administration, and new administration.


Chair Young thanked Dr. Brady for his service over the past couple of years and welcomed Dr. Mengyan.


Ms. Shilpa Jhobalia and Dr. Rachel May (via Zoom) addressed the Board regarding the NMU Early Childhood Education Task Force.


Mr. Ebyn Shambeau and Ms. Lizzy Stark addressed the Board regarding their forest carbon sequestration research on campus.


Dr. Sarah Mittlefehldt addressed the Board regarding sustainability on campus.


Vice Chair Hart thanked everyone for their comments.  She said the Trustees had an opportunity to hear an update from Ms. Rhea Dever and Dr. Dale Kapla regarding the childcare topic and noted the Board will continue to look at this closely.



Chair Young recognized the following individuals:

·       Ondrej Zach – Chair Young asked Ondrej Zach and Coach Heidi Voight to join him.  Ondrej is on the Men’s Swim Team, was a junior in eligibility this year, but is a first-year graduate student academically studying exercise science.  He is a native of the Czech Republic and was a member of the 2021 Czech National Swim Team.  Chair Young congratulated Ondrej on his outstanding season.  Ondrej is an NCAA Champion and top-ranked distance swimmer in the country this year.  He capped his season with a national title in the longest event of the meet by winning the men’s 1,650-yard freestyle at the Division II National meet on March 13.  He won by four seconds over the next fastest finisher and his time of 15:09.55 broke his previous school record.  Ondrej also earned All-American status with seventh place in the 1,000-yard free with a time of 9:08.07.  A photo was taken of Ondrej, Chair Young, and Coach Heidi Voight.


·       Medical Call on Campus – March 25, 2022 – John Marra, Phil Lindblom, Jacob Paupore, Kalli Mattson, Lee Gould, NMU Police Department, Marquette City Police Department, Marquette City Fire Department, Marquette County Central Dispatch, and UPHS EMS.  Chair Young asked those present to stand along with Stephanie Penhale and her daughter, Lily.  He commended these individuals for their quick actions that provided life saving techniques until more advanced medical care could be provided and saved the life of Stephanie Penhale, Director – Network Infrastructure Center.  Chair Young read a statement provided by Stephanie thanking them for making her the luckiest person on March 25, 2022.



Dr. Chris Greer, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students, recognized the students who received the Board of Trustees Student Achievement Awards this year.  (Addendum #2)


Valeta Gage – Outstanding Graduating Senior

Jakob Lippert – Outstanding Graduating Senior

Veronica Line – Outstanding Student (any class standing)

Matthew Goss – Outstanding Non-Traditional Student

Claudia Chavez-Rhoads – Outstanding Global Campus Student


A plaque was presented to each student and a photo was taken.



Interim Provost and Vice President Kapla introduced Ms. Hanna Smith, a Multimedia Journalism major, from Waukesha, Wisconsin, who will represent the graduating class of spring 2022 at the commencement ceremonies tomorrow, Saturday, April 30, 2022.  On behalf of the Board, Chair Young congratulated Hannah and presented her with a plaque.  A photo was taken with Hannah, Chair Young, and President Schuiling.



President Schuiling announced that Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, the Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington and former NMU Trustee, will be the Spring 2022 Commencement Speaker.  Dr. Zurbuchen will also receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.



Dr. Russell Magnaghi, NMU historian, provided a report on a Moment in NMU’s History, honoring former NMU President, John X. Jamrich.  (Addendum #3)



Bethany Beavers, President – ASNMU, and Zora Binert, President-Elect, provided a report on the semester accomplishments and plans for fall 2022. (Addendum #4)


Vice Chair Hart said she enjoys hearing about the efforts and things ASNMU is doing and thanked Bethany for her passion and engagement.  She said it’s clear Bethany is committed to the university and making the lives of the students better.


Trustee Morgan thanked Bethany and said he appreciates her service.  She has been very engaging and active, and he appreciates her effort to have more engagement with the Board and the administration.  He thinks that is extremely important and hopes what she has started will continue moving forward.


Chair Young thanked Bethany for her work and presented her with a gift on behalf of the Board of Trustees.  A photo was taken.



President Schuiling reported on university accomplishments.  Her report is appended to these minutes.  (Addendum #5)



Chair Young said we have two Trustee Emeritus recognitions to award.  Both were selected and approved at the February 14, 2020 meeting, however, because of COVID, we have not been able to present them with this recognition until today.


Chair Young called former trustee Rick Popp forward to be honored as Trustee Emeritus.  He presented him with a plaque in honor of his distinguished service to NMU.  A photo was taken.


Chair Young called former trustee Thomas Zurbuchen forward to be honored as Trustee Emeritus.  He presented him with a plaque in honor of his distinguished service to NMU.  A photo was taken.




Ad Hoc Policy Review Committee

Trustee Seavoy, Chair of the Ad Hoc Policy Review Committee, reported on a meeting held today, Friday, April 29, 2022.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes.  (Addendum #6)


Academic Affairs

Trustee Fittante, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, reported on a meeting held today, Friday, April 29, 2022.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes.  (Addendum #7)


Finance Committee

Trustee Mahaney, Chair of the Finance Committee, reported on a meeting held Thursday, April 28, 2022.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes.  (Addendum #8)



The following action was taken:


It was moved by Trustee Mahaney, seconded by Trustee Hart, and supported by a vote of 8 – 0, to approve the Formal Recommendations.  (Addendum #9)



Chair Young appointed Trustee Melissa Holmquist to serve on the following committees:


ü  Academic Affairs Committee

ü  Ad Hoc Recruitment and Retention Committee


The following action was taken:


It was moved by Trustee Seavoy, seconded by Trustee Mahaney, and supported by a vote of 8 – 0, that the Board of Trustees consent to Trustee Holmquist’s appointment to the Academic Affairs Committee and the Ad Hoc Recruitment and Retention Committee.



The following action was taken:


It was moved by Trustee Hart, seconded by Trustee Seppanen, and supported by a vote of 8 – 0, that the Board of Trustees approve the revised 2022 Board of Trustees Meeting Schedule to include the July 14 – 15, 2022 meeting dates.



The following action was taken:


It was moved by Trustee Seavoy and seconded by Trustee Seppanen that the Board of Trustees approve the Northern Michigan University Faculty Association, MAHE-MEA-NEA negotiated contract, which was ratified on Friday, April 22, 2022, covering the period July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2027.


Trustee Seavoy thanked everyone for their work on the negotiations for this contract.  She said she knows negotiating these contracts can be long although she understands this was a very quick and cordial negotiation


Being no further discussion, Chair Young called the question.


            The motion was supported by a vote of 8 – 0.



The following action was taken:


It was moved by Trustee Mahaney, seconded by Trustee Morgan, and supported by a vote of 8 – 0, that the Board of Trustees approve the Northern Michigan University 2022 Interim Strategic Plan.



Chair Young read the following statement for the record:


“I would like to take this opportunity as Board Chair to make a few comments.  President Schuiling has stepped up to the plate over the last few months to take on the role of Interim President while we conduct our presidential search.  Initially, we believed she would be in that role until spring or early summer.  For a variety of reasons that timeline has changed and we are now potentially looking at the end of the year for that timeline.  Her tenure as Interim President subsequently has gone from short-term to long-term.  Kerri has done an outstanding job grabbing the reins and helping us move forward under challenging circumstances.  She has pushed forward our agenda and worked with all parties involved to keep us operating at a very high level.  She also has worked to prepare us for the future with our strategic plan which we just approved.  I want President Schuiling to know she has the full support of this board and as a board we are pleased with her performance to date and are solid in our belief that she is leading us in the right direction.  As such, I would ask, moving forward, that we refer to her as “President Schuiling” and that all correspondence, printed or otherwise, reflect that.  Let there be no confusion though, and let me be crystal clear, this in no way changes our search for a replacement, which will continue unabated.  It is our goal to have that position filled no later than the end of the year and President Schuiling is not a candidate in that search.  This reflects our support in the job President Schuiling has done and recognizes the extended timeline she is now operating under as our President.  Thank you.”


President Schuiling thanked the Board.  She said it has been wonderful working with everyone and feels very supported by the Board and believes that the faculty, students, and staff also feel very supported.



President Schuiling made this announcement for the public record.



Chair Young opened the floor to the Trustees for Good of the Order.


Trustee Hart made the following comments:

·       She thanked Vice President Leach and his team for their work on the room and board rates which  were discussed at the Finance Committee meeting held Thursday, noting there was a lot of creativity and good financial stewardship to keep the rates low with an increase of 3.4% considering inflation on most of the food costs have gone up approximately 8% and there was no increase last year.

·       She thanked Mr. Jason Nicholas and Dr. Dan Cullen for their collaborative work on the strategic plan noting it is fantastic and positions NMU exactly where we need to be for a new president coming in.

·       She thanked President Schuiling for stepping in and doing a tremendous job and continuing to lead the university down the path.


Trustee Seavoy touched on the following:

·       She thanked the members of the audience for attending the meeting as it’s wonderful to have a full room.

·       She thanked the students who came to the meeting sharing their research and requesting the Board pursue further recognition as a tree campus.


Trustee Mahaney commented on the following:

·       He thanked Dr. Brady for his work during trying times and challenges during his tenure as AAUP President.

·       He congratulated Dr. Mengyn and is looking forward to working with him.

·       He stated the Board recognizes there is a challenge with childcare and are committed to finding the right solution.  He thanked the task force for the time and energy they have put into this issue.

·       He congratulated Dr. Paul Mann as the Distinguished Faculty Award recipient and noted how fortunate NMU is to have him on our faculty, especially noting his expertise related to COVID and coming up with working solutions and processes on campus.

·       He thanked Chair Steve Young and his wife, Tricia Kinley, for sponsoring and funding the Distinguished Faculty Award.

·       He congratulated Trustee Emeritus Rick Popp and Thomas Zurbuchen on their recognition and noted he was honored to have served with them on the Board.

·       He noted over the last two days the common thread has been about NMU and how we are addressing change, which was illustrated when the Board toured the Forensic Anthropology Research Lab and how the FROST program has expanded and changed since its inception four years ago.

·       He is excited to see the Strategic Plan that has been developed and now being implemented. The plan came together in 4-5 months and involved input from hundreds of people which is reflected in the plan.  This Plan acknowledges how NMU is addressing change, moving forward, and seizing opportunities.


Trustee Fittante made the following comments:

·       She welcomed Missie Holmquist to the Board and is looking forward to working with her.

·       She welcomed back the former Trustees who were present today.

·       She noted the accomplishments of the team who put the Interim Strategic Plan together.


Trustee Seppanen made the following comments:

·       He congratulated the seniors for their hard work and SISU noting the difficulties and challenges of COVID for half of their university experience.

·       He thanked the dedicated faculty and staff who endured the same COVID challenges to make this happen for our students

·       He thanked the members of the Sustainability Advisory Council, the Environmental Justice students, and the members of the Carbon Neutrality Task Force for their vision and hard work taking on a major challenge facing NMU and our world community with the ever-developing environmental disaster of climate change.


Trustee Morgan touched on the following:

·       He said it is phenomenal to be here for a full graduation where we have events and activities with the students to celebrate their achievements.

·       He commented on the recent suspension of a student this semester noting he appreciates President Schuiling and board members taking a look at the issue and discussing it in a closer manner.  His larger concern is the university’s response to the student and believes we should look at how NMU can change its approach using a graduated approach in terms of tone and initial response, using a kinder approach to how we work with students and conduct issues – more restorative justice, a more engaged approach.


Trustee Holmquist made the following comments:

·       She said she excited to serve in this role.  As an NMU alum and Marquette County resident, she is very passionate about NMU and its success.

·       She thanked everyone who participated in her orientation, she has learned a lot and looks forward to continuing her education

·       She is impressed with the tour of the Forensic Anthropology Research Lab, the Interim Strategic Plan, and Trustee Mahaney’s comments related to the childcare issues.

·       She congratulated the graduates and the Student Achievement Award Recipients.


Trustee Young made the following comments:

·       Introduced his wife, Tricia Kinley, and his two daughters, Jennifer and Stephanie, who were present at the meeting.

·       He thanked President Schuiling and her team for putting this meeting and all activities together.



Chair Young adjourned the meeting at 12:51 p.m.



Respectfully submitted,


/signed/Cathy A. Andrew

Secretary of the Board of Trustees