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The Lasting Imprint of Leadership

Northwood University is a special place, made up of great individuals working together for a common cause.  We interact daily with students who are in search of learning, experience, a future and purpose for their lives. They come to us with open minds and ready hands, and we do fantastic in offering them, in return, an exceptional faculty and committed staff of individuals whose goal is to mold strong, independent, free-thinkers. Our students build long-term relationships during their short time on our campus. They have life-changing experiences and many of those involve professors, coaches, trustees and even the staff they see every day.

Northwood University recently lost four of those individuals over the course of just a few weeks. Our campus is mourning the passing of Head Football Coach and Associate Athletic Director Pat Riepma, Maintenance Leader John Sheets, longtime supporter and Trustee Patricia Naegele, and Professor and former Chair of the Automotive Aftermarket Department, Jim John.

Each of these individuals served Northwood University for decades. They modeled everything we want to be as a university and they gave so much more of themselves than their roles required. They were mentors, role models, leaders and visionaries. They challenged the status quo and accepted only the best from those around them.

Their passing reminds us of the awesome power of leadership and the tremendous impact of loyalty – characteristics we always try to emulate at Northwood University. Even though we are terribly sad about the passing of Pat, John, Patricia and Jim, we are thankful they made Northwood University a stop along their life’s journey. Their lives will be their legacy and their imprint will be with us forever.

Have a Great Weekend!


Keith A. Pretty, J.D. President and CEO Northwood University 4000 Whiting Drive Midland, MI 48640 989.837.4203

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