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The Power of the Northwood Spirit

Over the weekend of January 29-30, 2016, Northwood University bestowed several international business leaders with our Outstanding Business Leader (OBL) Award. The seven honorees, through their inspirational careers and contributions to society, live each day modeling the ideals and values Northwood upholds. Among the recipients was Northwood University graduate James Massie, CEO of Georgian International and a leader in the automotive and aviation industries in Ontario, Canada.

As Massie delivered his acceptance speech, he continually credited Northwood for fundamentally shaping him as a businessman and entrepreneur. His remarks took on special meaning when Massie shared a profound story about the relationship between his son Alex and his college roommate, business partner and lifelong friend, Northwood University’s Board of Trustees Chair Dan DeVos.

In the summer of 2011, Alex Massie was involved in a wakeboarding accident that resulted in the amputation of the lower half of his left leg. During this difficult time, DeVos tirelessly supported the family, channeling the Northwood spirit through Alex by reinforcing the idea that your life is not determined by what happens to you, but by what you do with it.

This idea ultimately had a life-changing impact on Alex and helped inspire an incredible recovery. Less than four years later, Alex bounced back from his amputation to become a para-national champion snowboarder. On the same weekend as our OBL awards, Alex competed in the 2016 X-Games where he earned a silver medal, and is now considered one of the top 10 snowboarding athletes in the world. James left immediately after the OBL ceremony to watch Alex compete.

By Alex and James Massie, and Dr. Dan DeVos, we are again reminded of the life-changing power of the Northwood Idea.

Congratulations to the Massies on their incredible accomplishments, and thank you Dan DeVos for being a tireless champion of everything Northwood University upholds.

Have a good weekend.


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

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