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NMU Foundation & Alumni Relations News


Hospitality Management students plating food

Northern's Best Kept Secret

The hospitality management program is somewhat of a hidden gem at Northern Michigan University, tucked in the Jacobetti Complex away from the main campus. However, the secret is about to be shared, as the program moves to NMU’s new conference facility, the Northern Center, in Fall 2022.

A lot of exciting changes are also taking place within the program, with the goal of preparing students to take on all opportunities and obstacles that come with the hospitality and food service field, while influencing a shift in industry culture.

Last year, as the university operated virtually during the pandemic, Professor Loganne Glendening ’14 BS, ’16 MS and College of Technology and Occupational Science faculty explored the needs of the program. Using $40,000 in donor funding, they were able to replace two hotlines worth of kitchen equipment that they desperately needed. Lab equipment is heavily used in over 40% of the program’s courses. “We had decided as faculty that we didn’t want to just start spending money, we wanted to make investments that could move with us to the new facility,” said Glendening. With the funding they were able to replace two full restaurants’ worth of essential back-of-house kitchen equipment. In addition, she said, the new equipment provides more stability, ensuring that they have reliable appliances that will allow students to practice with industry-level tools.

The Northern Center location, in the kitchen of the former Wildcat Den, will allow for the Marquette and NMU community to be more connected with the student’s work, including eating at the training restaurants that the students run.

Although the new equipment and facility are an incredible upgrade, there is still a long way to go, Glendening said. “I am looking forward to the future of what donor funding can do. There are a lot of little things that restaurants and industrial kitchens take to operate.” In addition, she is really looking forward to working with industry partners and community donors to help build the program even more. She also states that “we are firm believers that if you are going to be a leader in this industry, you better have experienced every job within the field.”

By building such a rigorous program, NMU hospitality management students leave more prepared for the real world than from many other programs across the country. Donor funding has allowed for future chefs, restaurateurs, health care, hotel and resort managers to truly develop in the most necessary ways, and to be the best they can be within such an impacting field.

Mise-en-Place: A Wildcat Kitchen, a beautiful full-color, 190-page cookbook with recipes from hospitality management faculty, students and graduates, has recently been published, thanks to donor funds. Copies can be purchased from the NMU Bookstore.

The book is dedicated to Thaddeus (Ted) Bogden, who started the program in 1983 and motivated and inspired students at NMU and in the restaurant industry throughout his life. His legacy continues with a named scholarship.

Alumni Awards

Mary Jo Mulligan-Kehoe ’68 BS | Biology and Chemistry

Distinguished Alumni Award

Mary Jo demonstrated both patience and adaptability on her journey to a highly successful career in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and in vascular biology at Dartmouth Medical School. She retired with four patents to her name, but remains active in service to her profession, and in creating visually engaging online science presentations for students in grades 6-12.

Mulligan-Kehoe willingly paused her education to raise three children while accompanying her husband, an Air Force officer, on multiple moves to new locations.

Twenty-two years after receiving her NMU diploma, at age 43 Mulligan-Kehoe began her post-doctoral training at the NIH after completing graduate school at George Mason University and a doctorate in biochemistry from Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels, Belgium.

Her NIH molecular biology research focused on genetically engineering an antibody heavy-chain fragment (Fd) to promote intracellular immunity related to HIV, a major concern at that time, but with implications that might translate to other viruses, such as COVID-19.

“Our body makes antibodies that have heavy and light chains,” she explained. “Up to that time, everyone assumed you needed both chains for the antibody protein to fold properly so it could capture antigens. Instead, we just used a fragment of the heavy chain and randomized the sequence. This enabled us to generate a library of heavy-chain fragments, which potentially could bind to any antigen. We were the first to show that was possible. That became the foundation for everything I did moving forward.”

“There were a number of professors at Northern who influenced me, especially in organic chemistry—one of the most difficult courses a biology major takes—and ecology,” she said. “I also loved the size of Northern and got very involved with student activities. I was president of the sorority and then president of the Panhellenic Council.”

Later at Dartmouth, her lab discovered that a specific plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) protein isoform controlled angiogenesis, blood vessel formation from pre-existing vessels that occurs in cancer and atherosclerosis. She published her work in several highly respected journals.

Mulligan-Kehoe continues to contribute to her field as a scientific review officer for the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. She also chairs the North American Vascular Biology Organization education committee.

In her free time, she enjoys photographing faces and flowers and four-mile barefoot walks through the wet sand that rims the ocean near her home in Huntington Beach, Calif.

MJ Mulligan-Kehoe

Susan Meier ’87 BS | Elementary Education

Alumni Achievement Award

“All I really needed to know about teaching kindergarten I learned at Northern,” said Susan (Hlavaty) Meier summarizing her 32-year career in the classroom. She retired last year from South Elementary School in Ithaca, Mich.

Meier displayed two rules on a wall in her classroom: work hard and be nice. Her belief that character education is as important as academics has resulted in a generation of high-achieving, lifelong learners. She is known for implementing best practices in early childhood development and instilling in young children the importance of giving back to their community through monthly grant-funded service projects and random acts of kindness.

The most popular project was Books for Babies, which Meier founded more than 20 years ago to promote early literacy. She and her students raised $59,000 to give books to newborns at the local hospital, where more than 14,000 babies received their first book. Other projects included Everybody Deserves a Birthday Cake; a bagel breakfast for bus drivers and crossing guards; providing first responders with stuffed bears to distribute to children at accident sites; thank-you and lunch gift cards to firefighters and police officers; and much more.

“Just as my former students will tell me they’ll never forget a particular thing I said or did, I have people like that from when I was a Northern student. One of my most difficult courses was taught by [the late] Dave Goldsmith. He was really tough, but he was one of my favorite professors because he challenged us and told us we were capable of more than we realized.”

Meier created a nature-centered classroom with birch trees,
log benches, a pond rug, natural materials such as tree slices
and rocks instead of flash cards and name tags, and student-made posters on the walls. She enjoyed the reminders of her
time at Northern because it had such a positive impact on her
life and career.

Meier has earned several awards, including the Michigan Lottery Excellence in Education Award, Michigan Education Association Education Excellence Award, Presidential Service Award and was a regional finalist for Michigan Teacher of the Year.

She is an active member of the Michigan Association of the Education of Young and continues to promote reading and mentor other teachers and as a part-time literacy coach with Carson City-Crystal Area Schools.

She and her husband, Randy ’82 BS, have three sons.

Sue Meier

Lina Blair ’05 BS, ’08 MS | Psychology and Training, Development and Human Performance

Alumni Service Award

Lina Blair is dedicated to advocating for students and removing barriers to their academic success. She has implemented services related to mental health, COVID-19 relief and housing and food insecurity as director of Student Life and Conduct at Grand Rapids Community College.

“Most of our students are local, but I’ve noticed a lot call this campus home even though they’re commuting,” she said. “They feel connected and included. Our approach is that we take care of each other. That’s the core of it for me. Thinking about individual students and helping them through difficult times is important to keep them safe and the community safe.

A November 2020 survey found that more than 30% were struggling with food insecurity, which prompted Blair to lead her team to establish a wider-reaching campus food pantry, with a larger location, refrigeration and freezing capabilities for produce and meat, and enough food to supply students in need. The GRCC Food Pantry also has become a hub of community activity, volunteerism and learning opportunities for students and community members.

“I was having too much fun my freshman year trying to make friends,” Blair recalled. “My Resident Adviser in Halverson Deja Vu house, Dusti Young, knocked on my door and said, ’You’re more capable than what you’re doing right now.’ She put applications for summer orientation staff and the Student Leader Fellowship Program on my desk, told me to fill them out and personally delivered them. I got both and that gift really transformed my path. SLFP helped me look outside of myself and think about how I can serve others.

Blair said she consistently applies her two NMU degrees—a bachelor’s in psychology and master’s in training, development and human performance—to her career. She also carries forward lessons gleaned from impactful people and experiences from her time as a Northern student.

“Dusti was carrying out some of the things she learned from Carl Holm and Dave Bonsall. Those two had a huge influence on me as well. They demonstrated the value of building relationships in a genuine way and helping people feel they can be a part of something meaningful.”

Prior to moving to GRCC, Blair was employed at NMU for more than 10 years in various roles, including assistant dean of students.

She enjoys photography and fly fishing and helps Girl Scouts learn how to fish, tie flies, and explore the entomology of streams.

Lina Blair

T.J. Weber '11 BS | Marketing

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

T.J. is known in the fields of marketing and public policy for his research on the role political values and online misinformation have on decision-making related to vaccines, global warming and consumption. He was recently named the Richard & Julie Hood Endowed Professor of Marketing in the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly University. He is among the youngest chaired professors in the United States.

For instance, he has found that people trust online commenters as much as doctors when it comes to vaccination belief formation; negative political ads are less effective and also easier to ignore because they’re so pervasive; and consumers are more likely to respond negatively than positively to companies taking political stances.

Pursuing a higher education degree was not an assumed path for Weber. He was the first member of his extended family to attend college and was undecided on a major. However Weber’s curiosity and passion were soon ignited by his NMU professors. Gary Brunswick’s ’84 BS senior seminar and services marketing classes helped Weber look at real-life situations and gain a greater understanding of why people are compelled to do certain things—recycling, for example. Larry Pagel had high expectations related to writing, which Weber credits for helping him more effectively draft and publish his research results in academic journals. Through Gary Stark’s research methods class, Weber “fell in love with running surveys and collecting data to understand consumer behavior.”

Weber received his MBA from Marquette University and doctorate in marketing from Washington State University.

Weber’s timely and relevant work has received significant national media attention. While political orientation is at the core of his research, it branches off in different directions based on real-life events or arguments with others that compel him to collect data and emphasize the practical value of the results.

Weber was an ASNMU student government representative, interned for U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak and served as a member of the College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council and the Academic Senate.

“I really love NMU,” he said. “It’s the only place I felt a connection to. The small class sizes made it hard to hide or be distracted. It taught me how education should work, with an emphasis on addressing real-world problems and accessible, attentive professors. Many of the methods and strategies I use in my teaching now are things I learned from the Northern faculty.”

TJ Weber

NMU Foundation Welcomes Three Trustees


Jesse Bell

Jesse W. Bell ’00 BS

President, Bell Financial


Bell has served as President of Bell Financial in Marquette since 2000. He conducted his first 401(k) enrollment presentation at the age of 15 and continues to provide investment management and financial planning services to families and organizations. Bell Financial was founded by Jesse’s father, Dennis ’83 BS.

A licensed commercial pilot, Bell volunteers to provide air transportation to individuals in need of distant specialized medical services who would otherwise be unable to travel for care. He is involved with UP Hospice Foundation, Lake Superior Community Partnership, Northwoods AirLifeline and Marquette County Ambassadors.

Jesse enjoys mountain biking, motorcycling, fly fishing, woodworking, windsurfing and traveling with his wife, Christina, and four children.


Gerard Molitor

Gerard J. Molitor ’74 BS

Retired Vice President/Treasurer, Engineered Plastics Components, Inc.


Molitor graduated magna cum laude from the College of Business and received his CPA designation in 1976. He was a member of Delta Mu Delta. In 1984, he was selected as the NMU Outstanding Young Alumni.

In 1986, he co-founded Engineered Plastics Components Inc. of Kalamazoo, Mich.

He is a member of the NMU 1899 Society, and has served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the College of Business Board.

Jerry and his wife, Kathryn, live in Kalamazoo, and he enjoys hunting, fishing, skiing, outdoor activities, traveling and coin collecting.


Michael Oswald portrait

Michael R. Oswald ’03 AAS, BS

COO, Hill & Wilkinson Construction Group


Oswald’s tenure at Hill & Wilkinson, of Richardson, Texas, started as a project engineer soon after graduating from NMU.  He attended the university on a football scholarship and earned multiple honors, including Most Valuable Player and two-time Academic All-American. He graduated summa cum laude.

Mike has remained involved with Northern, helping construction management and student-athletes whenever and wherever he can. He has served on NMU’s Construction Management Advisory Council and has been instrumental in assisting faculty with evolving the curriculum to meet industry trends. He has directed gifts from Hill & Wilkinson for student scholarships and department support. He has also personally directed gifts to NMU football and other areas of campus, and is a mentor to NMU students and alumni.

He and his wife, Rose, have three daughters, and he enjoys being outdoors, fishing, hunting and golfing.

Welcome New Alumni Board Members

Nikk Glazier

Nikk Glazier ’08 BS

Construction Management

Germantown, Md.

Glazier is a project manager at The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company and works out of their national headquarters in Baltimore. He started as a summer intern and was hired as a project engineer upon graduation. He specializes in healthcare construction.

Nikk has stayed connected to Northern by recruiting construction management majors for internships and full-time positions. He and his wife, Liz, have a daughter, Emma.

Andre Stringer

Andre Stringer ’16 BS


Atlanta, Ga.

A Detroit native, Stringer worked for Quicken Loans as an executive mortgage banker for more than four years, until he felt a calling to serve others. He is currently a pre-medical post-baccalaureate student working toward a career in healthcare with hopes of becoming a doctor.

During his undergraduate career, he was very active in the NMU and local community and enjoyed giving back.

Anita Mattson

Anita Mattson ’02 B


Holden, Mass.

Mattson is professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute where she oversees the Mattson Group, a laboratory conducting research to develop new molecular methods for synthesizing treatments for drug-resistant cancers.

She attended graduate school at Northwestern University and completed her doctorate and became an NIH postdoctoral fellow in Professor Michael Crimmins’ group at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Anita is married to James Stambuli, and they have a daughter, Kate and son, Wyatt. They enjoy beach vacations to Cape Cod and the Outer Banks. They also often return to Marquette to visit Anita’s parents, Miles ’71 BS and Nancy (Olgren) ’68 BS Mattson.

Kimberlee Monteaux De Freitas

Kim Monteaux De Freitas ’02 BFA

Art and Design

Columbus, Ohio

Monteaux De Freitas is a multiracial, first-generation college graduate from the northwoods of Wisconsin. At NMU she was involved in Phi Sigma Sigma, the Art Students League and Random Acts of Artists.

She earned her master’s in college student development and administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and doctorate of education in educational leadership and policy from the University of Vermont. She is director of sorority and fraternity life at The Ohio State University.

Kim volunteers for various organizations including the Girl Scouts. She lives with her partner, Dr. Xavier De Freitas, who also works in higher education, and their daughter, Eloise.

Northern Now: Alumni Digital Event Series

On the second Wednesday of every month is a digital event series for alumni and friends, presented by Northern Michigan University Alumni Relations.

Northern Now features:

  • Panel Discussions. Hear from alumni experts as they discuss relevant topics in the field
  • Cooking segments. Chef Alden Griffus CCC ‘10 shares seasonal recipes
  • Presentations. A behind-the-scenes look at campus with exclusive tours and interviews
  • Plus much more!


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