Northwood University’s Hospitality Management program will welcome Kathleen Vertin as keynote speaker for the 39th Annual Stafford Dinner to be held on Saturday, March 1, 2014, in the Hach Student Life Center on Northwood’s Michigan campus. Vertin serves on the Board of Trustees for Northwood University and has spent the bulk of her career overseeing the strategic, financial and marketing direction of Visioneering, Inc., a supplier of tooling to the automotive and aerospace industries. Following her retirement from Visioneering, Inc., she immersed herself into arts and purchased a historic storefront on the St. Clair River in Marine City, opening The Snug Theatre which is utilized for plays, musicals and several comedians. Vertin is thrilled to have the opportunity to combine business and the arts together in order to take part in revitalizing a rural community. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwood University in 1988 and 1995, respectively.
The Stafford Dinner board will also be welcoming the artistic and musical stylings of the Midland-based pair, Empty Canvas. This duo is a fun and energetic set of performing twin brothers, Mike and Scott McMath. The McMath brothers perform great covers and fun originals while designing an original painting that will be auctioned off at the end of the night.
The auction will be conducted by a fourth honored guest, Jerry O’Donnell, also known as “The Voice of Dow Diamond.” O’Donnell serves as the general manager of ESPN 100.9 FM and oversees all aspects of the station, including programing, engineering, operations and federal compliance. O’Donnell has made an effort to be involved in the community, volunteering as a celebrity auctioneer and master of ceremonies for local charities.
The dinner is planned by an executive board comprised of Northwood students enrolled in the Hospitality Management program who work an entire year on this event. The event will begin with a reception at 5:15 p.m. followed by an interactive style dinner at 6:00 p.m. with a silent auction proceeding until 8:30 p.m.
The dinner event honors the Hospitality Management department founder, William D. Stafford. Stafford was the first chairman of the program at Northwood Institute, which became a university in 1993. He used his experience from years in the hospitality industry and incorporated his experience into the Northwood curriculum. Proceeds from the dinner will go to the Stafford Memorial Scholarship Fund and will directly benefit the students’ education.