Northwood University is excited to inform you about the Northwood Career Services Network – a premiere Career Services tool for current students and alumni! As Northwood University continues to strive for excellence in all that we do, offering a world-class, free-enterprise business education, it’s our goal in the Career Advancement Center to provide the resources, services and support you need to reach your maximum potential.
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Keith A. Pretty, J.D.
President and CEO
The honorary doctorate is the highest award a university can make to an individual who has contributed to society in a meaningful way. Following are listed those individuals Northwood University will recognize this year. They join a “Gallery of Distinction” of past honorary degree awardees. It is an honor and a privilege to recognize the men and women whom Northwood has vested with degrees during the past 57 years.
Through their accomplishments, ideals and support, our communities have become better places and our nation has benefited. These leaders have won recognition in business, their professions, fine arts, education and religion. Their involvement in the thrust of The Northwood Idea will continue forever.
In observance of one of Northwood’s finest traditions, all recipients of honorary degrees are presented with personal caps, gowns and hoods. Every year they are invited back to participate in the commencement processional, enjoy social events and renew old friendships.
Northwood University salutes all the members of the Gallery of Distinction and pledges to them the dedicated continuation of The Northwood Idea into the 21st century.
David E. Kepler – Commencement Speaker
TCP Investments, Sanford, Michigan
D E (Dave) Kepler is a member of the board of directors of three public companies: TD Bank Group (TD), headquartered in Toronto, Teradata Corporation (TDC), an analytical data solutions company and Autoliv (ALV), a manufacturer and supplier of automotive safety systems.
Dave and his family engage in social and economic impacting by investing in Midland County Michigan, including the Midland Brewing Company, Cottage Creaming, real estate and the Lazy Turtle Ranch.
Kepler is a former Executive Vice President of The Dow Chemical Company for Business Services and its Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO). Kepler’s 39-year career spanned roles in information technology, supply chain, operations, marketing and business management. He joined Dow in Pittsburg, California in 1975 and had geographic assignments in the United States, Canada and the Pacific.
He was appointed to and served for seven years on the U.S. National Infrastructure Advisory Council that advises the U.S. President on issues related to the security and resilience of the Nation’s critical infrastructure sectors. He was on e-Michigan Advisory Council that advised on the transformation of the state’s use of Information Technology. Kepler also has served on the boards of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, The American Chemistry Council and The National Safety Council.
Kepler graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. Today, he now serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of California, Berkeley Foundation.
Dave resides in Sanford, Michigan, with his wife Patti, where both are actively engaged in many community organizations and services, including chairing the United Way’s Alex de Tocqueville Society and the Michigan Baseball foundation.
Kathleen M. Vertin
President / Executive Director, Riverbank Theatre and Performing Arts Academy, Marine City, Michigan
Owner, The Inn on Water Street, LLC, Marine City, Michigan
Kathleen enjoyed a 20-year career in the automotive and aerospace tooling industries where she met her husband Tom and joined him in his family business, Visioneering, Inc. Kathy's contribution largely focused on strategy and finance until they sold the business in 2006 and retired to their island home on the St. Clair River.
In 2013 Kathy recognized a need for arts and culture within the Blue Water community and decided to revisit her passion for performing arts by opening two professional theater venues on the riverfront in historic downtown Marine City. The theaters produce 8-10 productions annually and hire professional actors, musicians and directors from all over Michigan. Through this process she became aware of the educational void in K-8 arts programming and sought to fill that with Riverbank Performing Arts Academy. The organization is staffed with professional educators and in two short years has seen enrollment soar. Theatrical education teaches life skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, enhances communication abilities and develops confidence that carries over into all areas of life.
On a broader level, Kathy and her husband Tom saw a need for revitalization in a community hard hit by recent economic factors, and through arts and cultural tourism they sought to improve the job market, tax base and spur further economic development. In 2015, over 31 building permits were issued in Marine City. This year the Vertins broke ground on a boutique hotel and condominium project that is slated to open summer 2018.
Kathleen received her BBA from Northwood in 1987 and returned to earn an MBA in 1995. Upon retiring from her career in industry, she served as adjunct faculty in the DeVos Graduate School for two years until she was asked to join the Board of Trustees in 2008. Kathleen was honored to serve as a Trustee for two terms and has great respect and affinity for the University and the Northwood Idea.