NMU's Highest Faculty Honor Endowed

Northern Michigan University's highest faculty honor, the Distinguished Faculty Award, has been endowed by a major gift from NMU Board Vice Chair Steve Young and his wife, Tricia Kinley, of Lansing. 

Young attended Northern in the 1970s. He is the recently retired owner and officer in the lobby firm of Governmental Consultant Services Inc. (GCSI). He was voted by policymakers and peers as the most effective lobbyist in Lansing for a period spanning the past 15 years.

Kinley recently retired as executive director of Insurance Alliance of Michigan and previously worked for former Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Young and Kinley said Northern Michigan University is fortunate to have such talented faculty. They said they are delighted to help recognize and support those who exhibit exceptional commitment to furthering students' education and experience at NMU.

Young added, “NMU has always had a special place in my heart. Tricia and I want to give back to the university in a way that expresses our appreciation to those faculty members who make NMU so special every day. It's our way of saying, ‘Go ‘Cats!'” 

The award program was established in 1979. Since it was revamped in 2000, there have been 46 recipients. Its purpose is to honor annually full-time faculty or an academic department head who have made a significant professional contribution to Northern through their scholarship, teaching and service.

“The Distinguished Faculty Award (DFA) is Northern's top academic honor and provides the university the opportunity to highlight members of our world-class faculty,” said NMU President Fritz Erickson. “We sincerely thank Steve and Tricia for this gift, as it ensures that outstanding educators who have an impact on their students and in their professional activities are deservingly recognized and celebrated.”

Nominees are evaluated on their teaching and other campus responsibilities; academic research, scholarship and creative activities; and university or professionally related community service.

The 2020 DFA honoree was Lesley Larkin, professor of English.

Northern will announce the 2021 recipient of the Stephen Young and Tricia Kinley Distinguished Faculty Award later in March. The honoree will be recognized at Spring Commencement on May 1.

Prepared By

Cindy Paavola
Assistant to the President

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