Minutes of the Formal Session


Friday, September 23, 2022


A formal session of the Board of Trustees of Northern Michigan University was held on Friday, September 23, 2022, in the Scott L. Holman Executive Conference Room, Northern Center, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan.  The meeting was convened at 10:01 a.m., by Chair Stephen E. Young.


Trustees present included:

Mr. Stephen E. Young, Chair

Mr. Jason T. Morgan

Ms. Alexis M. Hart, Vice Chair*

Ms. Tami M. Seavoy

Ms. Melissa A. Holmquist

Mr. Gregory J. Seppanen

Mr. Robert E. Mahaney*

Dr. Kerri D. Schuiling, ex officio


*via Zoom videoconference


Trustees absent included:

Ms. Lisa I. Fittante


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

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

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

Mr. Kurt McCamman, Legal Counsel     

Mr. Carrick Craig, Legal Counsel

Ms. Ashley Higginson, 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 seven Trustees present.



The following action was taken:


It was moved by Trustee Seavoy, seconded by Trustee Seppanen, and approved by a vote of 7 – 0, to approve the agenda as presented.



Vice President Leach read a memorial for Mr. Tom Gerou, a building and grounds attendant in  Plant Operations who died on May 17, 2022.  A moment of silence was held in his honor.



Dr. Rick Mengyan, President of the American Association of United Professors (AAUP), addressed the Board regarding transparency and the presidential search process.


Chair Young thanked Dr. Mengyan for his comments.



Chair Young recognized NMU’s Center for Native American Studies, represented at the meeting by Dr. Joe Lubig, Associate Dean/Director – School of Education, Leadership, and Public Service, and Dr. Martin Reinhard, Professor – Center for Native American Studies.  Chair Young made the following comments:


·       The Center for Native American Studies has maintained its position as a national leader in Indigenous Studies.

·       The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) recently announced that NMU’s Center for Native American Studies has been selected for a place on the list of Top 200 Colleges for Indigenous Studies.  This is an outstanding recognition and one everyone should be proud of.

·       The annual college list is the only resource of its kind for Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians that focuses on the science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) disciplines.

·       NMU was recognized as a school where American Indians are going in significant numbers and where the community, Native programs, and support system are strong enough for these students to enjoy college and stay on and get a degree.

·       NMU was the first university in the state of Michigan to offer a bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies.


A photo was taken with Drs. Lubig, Reinhardt, President Schuiling, and the Trustees.



Gwen Feamster, Vice President – ASNMU, provided a report on the semester accomplishments and plans for the upcoming year. (Addendum #1)


Trustee Morgan thanked Gwen for her report and the work ASNMU is doing.  He said he’s excited to hear about the efforts to get students engaged and voting in elections as it is an important role of ASNMU to get their fellow students to be aware of what is going on politically, and in the world, and to participate in that.  ASNMU can be a great resource with sharing regular feedback with the board and administration, particularly the mental health piece.



President Schuiling reported on university accomplishments.  Her report is appended to these minutes.  (Addendum #2)




Academic Affairs

Trustee Seavoy, Acting Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, reported on a meeting held today, Friday, September 23, 2022.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes.  (Addendum #3)


Finance Committee

Trustee Mahaney, Chair of the Finance Committee, reported on a meeting held Thursday, September 22, 2022.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes.  (Addendum #4)



The following action was taken:


It was moved by Trustee Holmquist, seconded by Trustee Seavoy, and supported by a vote of 7 – 0, to approve the Formal Recommendations.  (Addendum #5)



Trustee Hart made the following motion in recognition of the fact that President Schuiling has served as president of Northern Michigan University for a full year, and in recognition of the exemplary fashion she has executed these duties:


It was moved by Trustee Hart, seconded by Trustee Mahaney, to grant President Schuiling a performance bonus in the amount of $25,000.


Discussion followed:


Trustee Hart noted specific topics under President Schuiling’s leadership have been developed and/or executed during her short tenure in the role, such as the interim strategic plan and focus on mental health initiatives, have exceeded expectations and will create lasting impacts at Northern Michigan University.  President Schuiling has also enabled a working relationship with the Board through her transparent and collaborative approach which has created a true partnership that allows for collective engagement for the betterment in the lives and futures of the campus community.


Being no further discussion, the Chair Young called the question.


The motion was supported by voted of 7 – 0.


President Schuiling thanked the Board for the affirmation of her work and their guidance and support.  She thanked her administrative colleagues noting she could not have done this job without them.  She said she appreciates this action but noted she will be returning the bonus through the NMU Foundation as she has been in discussions with the NMU Foundation about creating an endowment.  She thanked everyone for enabling her to do something to show her gratefulness and pay forward the many gifts she’s received as a student and employee of this university.



The following action was taken:


It was moved by Trustee Seavoy, seconded by Trustee Seppanen, and supported by a vote of 7 – 0, to approve the Formal Recommendations.  (Addendum #6)



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 comment:

·       She is looking forward to the presidential selection that will be occurring next week.


Trustee Mahaney commented on the following:

·       He responded to comments made by Dr. Mengyn noting we should not rehash the past but should spend time and energy on the many opportunities in front of the university.

·       He recognized President Schuiling for the great work she has done throughout her tenure.

·       He thanked the Presidential Search Advisory Committee for their work throughout the search process, especially Dr. Chris Greer, the Chair of the committee.

·       He welcomed Mr. Rick Comley back as the Athletic Director and is excited to see what he can achieve in the Athletics Department.


Trustee Seavoy touched on the following:

·       She thanked the Presidential Search Advisory Committee, noting Dr. Chris Greer did an incredible job keeping everyone coordinated and making the candidate visits exceptional.


Trustee Seppanen made the following comments:

·       He noted that his conclusion from Dr. Mengyan’s comments was different noting he heard there is a positive contrast of where we were last year and where we are today – transparency is there and things are moving where they should.

·       He thanked President Schuiling, staff, and faculty for a great start this year.

·       He thanked and recognized Ms. Deanna Hemmila and Vice President Leach for all the behind the scenes work in Lansing throughout the year.


Trustee Morgan touched on the following:

·       He said it has been incredible to spend time with the Alumni Association and Foundation Board during the past few days while everyone is on campus.

·       He said the continued engagement with students and faculty has been great throughout this past year – there is a better level of engagement from administration and university leadership which is important when we talk about enrollment, campus life, and mental health, etc.  – there’s no better source than the people directly feeling those things to share that perspective with us.  We need to continue doing that and he’s very excited for the next president to continue to strengthen this as well as it makes all decision-making better informed and allows the board to be better aware of how things are going on campus.

·       Campus infrastructure – he’s excited to see the plans that are coming in the future and the things that are being worked on.  Vice President Leach and his team have been doing great work to make sure the needs people are feeling on campus are being met.

·       Relationships with the community over the last year have gotten better and been strong partly through the Presidential Search Advisory Committee having community members part of the committee, President Schuiling building those relationships, the work the Board has been doing to strengthen the relationships, and the work of the Foundation to have partnerships within the community.  We’re seeing what a positive impact all of that can have.


Trustee Holmquist made the following comments:

·       She thanked everyone involved in the Presidential Search Advisory Committee – she was selected to participate prior to being appointed to the board as a community member – it was an interesting and amazing process and she is delighted with the candidates.

·       She is excited to be part of the homecoming activities during her first year as a Trustee.

·       She noted you can feel the energy on campus this year.


Trustee Young made the following comments:

·       He echoed the comments made regarding Dr. Chris Greer and her efforts with the Presidential Search Advisory Committee noting it’s been a pleasure to work with her throughout this process.

·       He thanked the PSAC members for their hard work.

·       He noted the Board will be doing one-on-one interviews with the four candidates on Monday, September 26, and the hope is to have a formal special board meeting and selection of the new president made by the end of next week.  That will be followed with the new president coming to campus for a roll out and introductions.

·       He noted the Board had a tour of the new hospitality management and cosmetology spaces and said both spaces are amazing and the enthusiasm of the students in both areas is exciting.



Chair Young adjourned the meeting at 10:52 a.m.



Respectfully submitted,


/signed/Cathy A. Andrew

Secretary of the Board of Trustees