NMC Fellows

NMC Fellows, 1964: (Left to Right); Arnell Engstrom, Frances and Gerald Oleson, Ferris Rennie, Ellis WunschThe Fellow is Northwestern Michigan College's highest honor, awarded annually since 1964. Fellows may be nominated because they have demonstrated influential networking on behalf of the College, have demonstrated a pattern of outstanding financial or personal time contributions to NMC, or as a retiree of the College continue to contribute back to their academic or professional fields as volunteers, mentors or advisors. Exceptional contributions in one or more of these areas may justify nomination. No staff, faculty, or trustee shall be named a Fellow while still employed or in office.

2017 recipients: ross & Brenda Biederman

Brenda and Ross BiedermanRoss and Brenda Biederman have been named the 2017 recipients of the NMC Fellow award, the highest honor bestowed by Northwestern Michigan College.

The couple has been a philanthropic and business force in northern Michigan for decades, winning the 2013 Distinguished Service Award from the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce. Virtually every sector of the community has benefitted from their support, including healthcare, arts and culture, and education.

Ross and Brenda both attended NMC, with Ross attending just a few years after the college was founded by a group including his father, Les. Ross was named an Outstanding Alumnus in 2010. Under his leadership, Midwestern Broadcasting Co. expanded to include nine radio stations. Ross Biederman also developed the Radio Centre complex, which includes downtown Traverse City’s first parking structure. As the head of the joint Garfield Township-Traverse City Recreational Authority, he helped develop the former state hospital grounds into the thriving residential/retail/commercial destination it is today.

In the words of President Timothy J. Nelson, the Biedermans are an "empowering couple." Ross and Brenda have continued the Biederman family legacy of philanthropy. They have supported NMC personally and through the namesake family foundation for 30 years. Biederman scholarship funds currently support more than two dozen students annually and have transformed hundreds of lives. Most recently, the Biederman Foundation provided critical support for a simulator for the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. Ross is currently serving as a member of the NMC Foundation’s Campaign Steering Committee.

Brenda Biederman, a Buckley native, is an equally wholehearted supporter of education in general and NMC in particular. She helped launch the Women’s Resource Center and the Maidens of Michigan and is a past director for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

A fourth generation of Biedermans now has an NMC connection—one granddaughter is currently enrolled in the nursing program.

2018 Fellows Nomination Form (PDF) »

Please submit your nominations for the 2018 Fellow to the NMC President’s Office by Friday, December 1, using the form above either by hard copy or email to nmcpresident@nmc.edu.

View a gallery of all NMC Fellows »

View a photo gallery from the 2017 Fellows Dinner »

Past NMC Fellows

  • 2017: Ross and Brenda Biederman
  • 2016: Chuck Judson
  • 2015: Bruce Byl
  • 2014: Richard and Diana Milock
  • 2013: Dr. Don Good, Walter J. Hooper
  • 2012: Hettie Molvang
  • 2011: Terry S. Malone
  • 2010: James MacInnes, Elaine C. Wood
  • 2009: Jean Howard, Ted Kidd, Phyllis Kidd, D. Jerome Slack, Margery Slack
  • 2008: Charles E. Benson, Barbara S. Benson, Louise Hagerty, Wayne H. Lobdell, Terry Lobdell
  • 2007: Donald Oleson, Sr., Gerald Oleson, Jr.
  • 2006: Walter E. Beardslee, Elaine L. Beardslee
  • 2005: William G. Janis, Jacqueline E. Ribel, Mark L. Ribel
  • 2004: Rotary Charities of Traverse City
  • 2003: Christian P. Kamm, Shirley S. Okerstrom
  • 2002: Marvin Rorick, Luella Rorick
  • 2001: George C. Comden, Bart T. Stupak, Norman Veliquette, Marjory Veliquette
  • 2000: Nick Rajkovich, Frances Rajkovich
  • 1999: Robert T. Hughes, Robert Rudd, Grace Rudd, Capt. George J. Ryan
  • 1998: Thomas C. Jones, Edward C. Walker
  • 1997: James J. Beckett, Al Shumsky, Dudley Smith, Barbara Smith III
  • 1996: David Lee Gray, Paul T. Johnson, Frances B. Johnson, Donald W. Nugent, Gail M. Nugent
  • 1995: Dr. Charles D. Kesner, Richard W. Olson, Dr. C. Russell Wentworth
  • 1994: Dr. Charles Kelly, Dolores Kelly, Barbara I.C. MacFarlane, Jane E. Norton, Frank E. Noverr
  • 1993: Walter Holland
  • 1992: Susie (Kildee) Janis, Paul Welch
  • 1991: Sen. George A. McManus, Jr.
  • 1990: Helen W. Milliken, JoAnne M. Zimmerman
  • 1989: Gordon Lightfoot, Arthur M. Schmuckal, Mary E. Schmuckal, Adm. Willard J. Smith, U.S.C.G.
  • 1988: Robert L. Goff, Jack B. Stegenga
  • 1987: Marie G. McCarthy, Mrs. William E. Votruba
  • 1986: Bernard C. Rink
  • 1985: Frank W. Tezak, Ralph J. Lautner, Mary E. Lautner, Joseph H. Rogers
  • 1984: Alice A. Drulard, Blake Forslund
  • 1983: Michael Dennos, Barbara Dennos, V. Adm. Paul E. Trimble (Ret.)
  • 1981: Lester M. Biederman, Warren W. Cline, M.D.
  • 1980: Lt. Gov. Connie Binsfeld
  • 1979: Doris Nerbonne, Everett R. Hames
  • 1978: John L. Horton
  • 1977: Julius C. Sleder
  • 1976: Ferris N. Crawford
  • 1974: James P. DeLapa, Andrew L. Olson
  • 1973: Harry L. Weitz, M.D., Sen. Robert P. Griffin
  • 1972: Dorothy C. Hall, Preston N. Tanis
  • 1971: James E. Clune, Arthur G. Whitelock
  • 1970: Harry T. Running, Mrs. Mark (Helen) Osterlin
  • 1969: Corrine J. Naar
  • 1968: Julius H. Beers
  • 1967: Eugene B. Power
  • 1966: Wilbur C. Munnecke
  • 1965: George I. Altenburg, Gov. William G. Milliken, Leslie Tremaine, Bernice Tremaine
  • 1964: Arnell G. Engstrom, Gerald Oleson, Frances Oleson, Ferris J. Rennie, Harold Wise, Imogene Wise, Ellis A. Wunsch, Ph.D.
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