Leave Your Impact

Meet 15 of Michigan’s public university alumni who are making or who have made an impact in the world 

Attending a public university is much more than simply showing up, going to class and rolling through the motions until one day you find yourself at graduation. It’s about finding your career and purpose in life. Check out these outstanding alumni from each of Michigan’s 15 public universities and see how getting their bachelor’s degree helped them find fulling life-long careers and the ability to make a positive impact on the world.

Central Michigan University

Sara Anthony, CMU graduating class of 2006

Sarah Anthony is a class of 2006 CMU graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science and legal studies. She is leaving an impact on the world by serving the greater Lansing community as a state representative where she works every day to help solve problems for Lansing’s residents and representing their voice in government. 

Key Facts: 

  • She is the first African-American woman to serve in this capacity in Lansing’s history.
  • Named a fellow of the University of Michigan’s New Leadership Academy.
  • In 2012, she was elected to the Ingham County Board of Commissioners, making her the youngest African American woman to serve in this capacity in the U.S. 

Western Michigan University

Ed Gordan, Graduating class of 1982

Ed Gordan is a class of 1982 WMU graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and political science. He is leaving an impact on the world by remaining at the forefront of news providing the public with perspective on national headlines, daily commentaries and riveting interviews. 

Key Facts: 

  • Conducted O.J. Simpson’s first TV interview after being found not guilty of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman in 1995. 
  • Received the prestigious Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.
  • Conducted exclusive interviews with notable public figures including, Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela and Tupac Shakur.

Grand Valley State University

Nikki Dunham, Graduating class of 2005 

Nikki Dunham is a class of 2005 GVSU graduate with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. She is leaving an impact on the world by taking her positive experiences at GVSU and bringing them to students at Northwestern University as the Assistant Director of Residential Life. 

Key Facts: 

  • Student Leadership Experience helped her in the position she’s currently in.
  • She has worked in Seattle and Illinois in a variety of positions within Student Affairs.

Michigan State University

Eli Broad, Graduating Class of 1954

Eli Broad is a class of 1954 graduate from MSU with a Bachelor of Arts in accounting and Minor in economics. He is leaving an impact on the world by continuing to support the advancement of public good in education, science and the arts.  

Key Facts:

  • He received the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2007.
  • In 2009, he was honored with the David Rockefeller Award by the Museum of Modern Art.

Saginaw State University

Pamela Hornberger, Graduating Class of 1996

Pamela Hornberger is a class of 1996 graduate from SVSU with a master’s in educational administration. She is leaving an impact on the world by representing the communities of Macomb County and St. Clair County as a state representative to move education forward for the state. 

Key Facts: 

  • In 2014, Pamela was appointed by the Governor to serve as the Regional Representative for the Selective Services Board.
  • She is the past Chairperson of the Michigan Association of School Boards Legal Trust Fund and the past secretary of the Republican Committee of Northern Macomb County.

University of Michigan

Colonel Alfred Worden, Graduating Class of 1963

Alfred Worden is a class of 1963 graduate from U of M with a master’s in astronautical/aeronautical engineering and instrumentation engineering. He left his impact on the world by serving as command module pilot on the Apollo 12 flight. 

Key Facts: 

  • Apollo 15 mission was first to explore the moon’s southeast edge. 
  • Longest distance traveled on lunar surface. 
  • Longest lunar surface stay time of 66 hours and 54 minutes on the ground. 

Eastern Michigan University 

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Kettles, Graduating class of 1979

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Kettles earned his master’s in commercial construction from EMU in 1979; his degree came shortly after heading to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where he served as an aviation team chief and readiness coordinator for the Army Reserve. He left his impact on the world by receiving the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in the Vietnam War. 

Key Facts:

  • On May 15, 1967, Kettles successfully evacuated 44 U.S. soldiers from battle in Vietnam.

Ferris State University 

John Matlock, Graduating Class of 1971

John Matlock is a 1971 graduate from FSU with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. He is leaving his mark on the world by serving as the Director of Academic Multicultural Initiatives at University of Michigan and encourages students to get involved in social activism and stand up for a greater cause. 

Key Facts:

  • Director of the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives at the University of Michigan.
  • He is especially passionate about education for all children because it opens doors of opportunity.

Michigan Tech University 

Melvin Calvin, Graduating class of 1931

Melvin Calvin was a 1931 graduate of MTU with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. He left an impact on the world by discovering how plants create nutrients, called the Calvin Cycle. 

Key Facts:

  • In 1961, he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. 

Northern Michigan University

Tom Izzo, Graduating class of 1977

Tom Izzo is a class of 1977 graduate from NMU and is currently the coach for the Michigan State Men’s Basketball team. He is leaving an impact on the world by continuing to lead the Spartans to success and encouraging them to earn their undergraduate degrees. 

Key Facts:

  • Izzo was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.
  • Led the team to eight Final Four appearances.
  • Received eight National Coach of the Year awards. 

Lake Superior State University

Sophie Chandauka, Graduating class of 2000

Sophie Chandauka is a class of 2000 graduate from LSSU and is currently a corporate finance lawyer of the Legal and Compliance Division of Morgan Stanley. She is leaving an impact on the world by giving back to her community and being an advocate for education, equality, diversity and inclusion. 

Key Facts: 

  • She has worked a number of notable cases, including Macquarie Group’s attempted hostile takeover of the London Stock Exchange Group, and Nike Inc.’s acquisition of Umbro. 
  • She received the Paul Ripley Young Alumna Award from LSSU. 

Oakland University

Regina Carter, Graduating class of 1985

Regina Carter is a class of 1985 graduate from OU with a Bachelor of Arts in music. She is leaving an impact on the world by continuing to work with students at OU to help their music careers. 

Key Facts: 

  • She is a renowned jazz violinist. 
  • She is the first jazz musician and the first African American to play the Guarneri Del Gesu violin, a handcrafted violin from the eighteenth century.
  • In 2007, she was named artist-in-residence at OU.

University of Michigan-Dearborn

Nancy Gioia, Graduating class of 1982

Nancy Gioia earned her bachelor’s degree in electric and electrical engineering from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She is leaving an impact on the world by working at Ford Motor Company, previously directing global strategy and planning for all aspects of Ford vehicles. 

Key Facts: 

  • She has held over 15 different leadership roles during her 33 years at Ford Motor Company. 
  • She was named one of Automotive News “Top 100 Women” in 2005 and 2010, and among its “Electrifying 100” in 2011.
  • Gioia has addressed the US Congress and British Parliament on the emergence of Hybrid Vehicles.

University of Michigan-Flint

Christopher Paul Curtis, Graduating Class of 2000

Christopher Curtis is a class of 2000 graduate from UM-Flint. He is leaving an impact on the world bywriting children’s books that positively impacts reading in the Flint Area. 

Key Facts: 

  • His first book, The Watson’s Go to Birmingham won a Newberry Medal and Coretta Scott King Award in 1996.
  • Bud, Not Buddy received the Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award in 2000. 
  • Elijah of Buxton won a Newbery Honor, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction in 2008. 

Wayne State University

Judge Damon J. Keith, Graduating class of 1956

Judge Damon J. Keith is a graduate from Wayne State University with a master of laws degree. He left an impact on the world by defending the Constitution and helping communities fight for their civil rights. 

Key Facts: 

  • He ruled against President Nixon and the federal government from wiretapping without a warrant. 
  • His work helped desegregated public schools and held people and corporations accountable for systemic racism.

All of these outstanding alums have used their 4-year degrees to make a career they love out of it. See what these universities have in store for you!



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