Five Northern Michigan University alumni were honored during Homecoming festivities Sept. 21-22 for significant achievements in their fields, substantial contributions to society and demonstrated exceptional leadership and civic qualities. The recipients and their awards were: Keith Nelsen (’86 BS) of Minneapolis, Minn., and Scott Schloegel (’90 BS) of Springfield, Va., Distinguished Alumni; Beth Millner (’08 BFA) of Marquette, Outstanding Young Alumni; Michele Butler (’76 BS, ’78 MAE) of Marquette, Alumni Community Service; and Skye Patrick of Downey, Calif., Alumni Achievement.
Tom Izzo, a 1977 NMU grad, received the Metropolitan Award Sunday night for long and outstanding service to men's college basketball. The Michigan State University coach is one of only five in history to lead a team to the NCAA Final Four eight times or more. The Spartans won the NCAA championship in 2000. His longtime friend and fellow NMU alumnus Steve Mariucci presented the award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches to Izzo in Minneapolis, the site of this year's Final Four. Read a full story in their hometown Iron Mountain newspaper here.
NMU alumnus Ernest Rospierski (BS 2005) was “an unsung hero" during last year's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, which left 17 dead, according to the chair of a commission investigating the incident. The 37-year-old social studies teacher was grazed by two bullets, then pressed himself against the stairwell door to deny the gunman's attempts to open it while he sent students fleeing toward the nearest exit. To read a South Florida Sun Sentinel feature story on Rospierski that reflects on the incident one year later, click here.