NMU alumna Lina Blair recently embarked on a new professional role as dean of Student Life at Ferris State University. She previously worked at Grand Rapids Community College as director of Student Life, and at NMU in various capacities, including assistant dean of students.
“Ferris is an exciting place to be, especially now,” Blair told the Pioneer newspaper, based in Big Rapids. “It has been a joy getting to know about the good work done by my staff and what I can do to help move the needle forward for our students.
“Student wellness, safety and community-building are priorities, so we present a campus environment with plenty of pride where each student is aware that they belong, which is so important to their well-being and success. I am very happy to be a Bulldog.”
Blair earned two degrees from Northern: a bachelor's in psychology in 2005; and a master's in training, development and human performance in 2008. She was employed at NMU for a decade, first as a resident director in Gant Hall. Blair then transitioned to the Academic and Career Advisement Center, where she served as the coordinator of academic proficiency and later director of New Student Orientation.
She also served as the assistant dean of students at NMU until May 2016. In that capacity, Blair advised student government, provided leadership for the student conduct program and created a new program for NMU's first-generation college students. In a Northern Magazine feature story, she said she was especially proud of the latter.
At Grand Rapids Community College, Blair implemented services related to mental health, COVID-19 relief, housing and food insecurity. Those achievements contributed to her selection as NMU's Alumni Service Award recipient in 2021.
Blair said she consistently applies her two NMU degrees to her career. She also carries forward lessons gleaned from impactful people and experiences from her time as a Northern student.
“I was having too much fun my freshman year trying to make friends,” Blair recalled in the Northern Magazine story. “My RA [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.
"Dusti was carrying out some of the things she learned from [the late housing director] Carl Holm and [retired student activities director] 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.”
Blair started in her new position at Ferris State on July 11.