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'Ferris Famous' Homecoming activities include new twists for events, traditional element revival at Ferris State University

“Ferris Famous” is the theme for the 97th Homecoming for Ferris State University’s athletic and institutional faithful, with activities including the return of a Homecoming Kick-off Dance. 

Events start on Saturday, Sept. 23, and run through Saturday, Sept. 30. The Center for Student Involvement collaborated with Ferris State’s Alumni Relations Office and Entertainment Unlimited for a week of activities.  

“Each year’s Homecoming at Ferris is fantastic, and with the unparalleled success of the football program, we know the crowd will be amped up and all about backing the Bulldogs,” said Ben Avery, Center for Student Involvement coordinator. “We want everyone who takes part in any event on the schedule to be aware of Ferris’ founders, famous campus leaders and those who attended the university, who have gone on to gain national attention.”

Brandi Behrenwald, the executive director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, is excited to welcome alums and friends back to campus for Homecoming 2023 activities. 

"Whether you are an alum who attends Homecoming every year or are just thinking about returning to campus after some time away, this is a great occasion,” Behrenwald said. “Our guests will find photos of ‘Famous Ferris’ friends in our tent, along with a caricature artist on duty Homecoming Saturday, Sept. 30, so that any alumnus can have their rightful fame recognized with a picture to keep and join the rank of images to see that day.” 

The collaboration continues as a new start time is set for the Homecoming Parade. Avery said they will step off along Michigan Avenue at 10:30 a.m., and there are incentives for greater participation from student organizations. 

“Registered student organizations and our Panhellenic and Greek groups can win from between $100 to $300 for their operations, which we hope brings a large response,” Avery said. “The registration process is accomplished on the EU Instagram account. Starting earlier allows all these parties to trek to the tailgate area, so the parade ends on campus and allows everyone to gather and socialize before the game.” 

The Homecoming 2023 grand marshal is Mike Van Diepenbos, who earned an associate degree in Architectural Technology from the College of Engineering Technology in 1987. and in 1989, he graduated from the College of Business with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

“This is a chance to honor Mike for all his service to the Alumni Association, from board appointments to a term as president in support of our cause,” Behrenwald said. “He has joined the Ferris Foundation Board of Directors and chaired the university’s Grand Rapids council, and with his wife, Liz, they are avid contributors in so many ways.” 

The 11 a.m. start for Tailgating is an opportunity for many Ferris colleges, academic and service programs across the university to welcome students, alums and the community in a grand celebration of Ferris in all its famous aspects. 

“We are glad to offer an extensive and enjoyable tailgate experience, with a catered assortment of snacks and desserts in the Alumni Association tent, including puppy chow,” Behrenwald said. “We are happy to renew acquaintances and catch up with all alumni who stop by before the game.” 

Thousands are expected to move through the various tents or seek out their groups of choice between the start of tailgating and halftime of the Homecoming game. 

“We will be ready for a big crowd, with long-range forecasts showing temperatures a little above normal,” Behrenwald said. “Reunion Row’s fraternal groups and the Office of Multicultural Student Services’ Black Alumni gatherings are always well represented.” 

Ferris’ two-time defending national champions will face the Northern Michigan Wildcats in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest at 3 p.m. Avery cited four Homecoming Ambassador candidates vying for the honor. The winner is announced at halftime of the game. Student voting begins Thursday, Sept. 21, and concludes on Sept. 28. 

“Our contestants have great involvement and pride in Ferris,” Avery said. “We see this field as a great cap for our Homecoming activities.” 

Avery said a Homecoming Kick-Off Dance opens the week schedule on Sept. 23, beginning at 7 p.m. in the David L. Eisler Center ballrooms. 

Bringing back the dance during an off week for Ferris football means students can use the day for preparation rather than having to rush off from a Homecoming game or other activities at this early point in the year,” Avery said. “It seemed like a great opportunity to re-establish a traditional and enjoyable event.” 

There will be a cornhole tournament Thursday, Sept. 28, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Robinson Quad, which Avery said should provide various enjoyable opportunities to students. Entertainment Unlimited’s Instagram account is how students register their team for the tournament. 

The Homecoming comedian performance is set for Williams Auditorium on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. Avery explains their Entertainment Unlimited board took the lead on this selection. 

“EU has joined in collaboration with many Homecoming events. We are glad to have their new approaches to mix with the traditional offerings of the week,” Avery said. “This is a free event for all who attend. Ferris students with ID will be admitted at 6:30 p.m., and if space remains, a community audience can join the fun at 7 p.m. ahead of the first performance at 7:30.” 

On Friday, Sept. 29, the Alumni Association welcomes a variety of guests for the Fall Reunion, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Behrenwald said Ferris’ Class of 1973 are their Golden Eagles will be well represented.

“More than 25 members of the Class of ’73 have committed for the reunion, and we will honor five Distinguished Alumni, three Pacesetter Award winners and two Student Leadership Award recipients,” Behrenwald said. “Their great stories will make for a wonderful evening in the David L. Eisler ballrooms.” 

A homecoming bonfire and pep rally begins at 7 p.m. that evening, on the Robinson Quad. 

“We want to have a good crowd, to rally with our Ferris Nation for the game against Northern Michigan,” Avery said. “The football program’s tradition of outstanding successes helps to make this a great event each year.” 

On the way to their second straight national championship, the Bulldogs topped Northern 56-20 in Marquette on Oct. 29, 2022. Ferris’ Homecoming win last year was a 69-3 romp over an NAIA opponent, Waldorf University, of Forest City, Iowa.


Local High School Schedule & Scores

CSAA Baseball

MONDAY - 5/13

Reed City 0 @ Big Rapids 3

Reed City 3 @ Big Rapids 16 (5inn)

Lakeview 4 @ C Montcalm 14 (6inn)

Lakeview 4 @ C Montcalm 9

Tri County 5 @ Fremont 1

Tri County 8 @ Fremont 5 (6inn)

TUESDAY - 5/14

Chippewa Hills 5 @ Grant 4

Chippewa Hills 1 @ Grant 2

C Montcalm 7 @ Kent City 6

C Montcalm 12 @ Kent City 2

Big Rapids 13 @ Lakeview 1

Big Rapids 14 @ Lakeview 1 (5inn)

White Cloud 1 @ Morley Stanwood 2

White Cloud 11 @ Morley Stanwood 2

Tri County 1 @ Newaygo 3

Tri County 3 @ Newaygo 4


C Montcalm 4 @ Carson City 5

C Montcalm 24 @ Carson City 8 (5inn)

Manistee 3 @ Reed City 4 (6inn)

Manistee 12 @ Reed City 12 (5inn)

FRIDAY - 5/17

Big Rapids 0 @ Byron Center 4

Big Rapids 1 @ Byron Center 3

Kent City 6 @ E Jordan 3

Mancelona 3 @ Kent City 0

Lakeview 3 @ Grant 8

Lakeview 1 @ Grant 13 (5inn)

Ravenna 8 @ Newaygo 15

Ravenna 1 @ Newaygo 2

Morley Stanwood 2 @ Chip Hills 10

Morley Stanwood 2 @ Chip Hills 10

Tri County 6 @ White Cloud 8

Tri County 8 @ White Cloud 3


Inland Lakes 4 @ Big Rapids 7

Big Rapids 1 @ Beal City 11

Fremont 4 @ White Cloud 1

Fremont 5 @ Newaygo 10 (6inn)

Hesperia 2 @ Grant 12 (6inn)

Grant 2 @ Newaygo 1

Clare 22 @ Reed City 2 (4inn)

Ludington 13 @ Reed City 1


CSAA Softball

MONDAY - 5/13

Reed City 8 @ Big Rapids 10

Reed City 0 @ Big Rapids 9

Lakeview 0 @ C Montcalm 10 (5inn)

Lakeview 1 @ C Montcalm 1 (6inn)

TUESDAY - 5/14

Chip Hills 9 @ Grant 14

Chip Hills 9 @ Grant 10

C Montcalm 7 @ Kent City 6

C Montcalm 12 @ Kent City 2

Big Rapids 14 @ Lakeview 1 (6inn)

Big Rapids 16 @ Lakeview 0 (5inn)


C Montcalm 0 @ Sacred Heart 15 (5inn)

C Montcalm 1 @ Sacred Heart 8


Cadillac 0 @ Reed City 19 (3inn)

Cadillac 0 @ Reed City 11 (5inn)

FRIDAY - 5/17

Lakeview 0 @ N Branch 10 (6inn)


Big Rapids 2 @ Dakota 12

Big Rapids 4 @ Oakridge 5

Big Rapids 9 @ Canton 4

Grant 2 @ Newaygo 1

Holton 1 @ Reed City 1

Ludington 0 @ Reed City 7

SUNDAY - 5/19

Big Rapids 14 @ Milan 2

CSAA Baseball Standings

1) Big Rapids: 17-1 | +172 -42 (+130)

2) Chippewa Hills: 11-5 | +91 -57 (+34)

3) Grant: 12-6 | 107 -57 (+50)

4) Newaygo: 12-6 | +104 -65 (+39)

5) Central Montcalm: 10-6 | +109 -71 (+38)

6) Reed City: 11-7 | +125 -81 (+44)

7) White Cloud: 8-10 | +79 -117 (-38)

8) Morley Stanwood: 6-12 | +57 -117 (-60)

9) Kent City: 5-13 | +86 -144 (-58)

10) Tri County: 4-14 | +89 -147 (-58)

11) Lakeview: 0-16 | +60 -181 (-121)

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