Ferrari Award winner is known for student-centered focus
Dermot Forde earns Ferrari Award during surprise virtual presentation
By Andrew Addessi
Awards are often presented at big events, with family, friends and colleagues gathered in one place to congratulate the winner, and during most years, the Dr. Michael R. Ferrari Award is no exception. However, this year, Bowling Green State University found a new way to surprise its winner. Dermot Forde, director of Advising and Student Services in the College of Health and Human Services, was presented the Ferrari award in a rather unconventional way.
“I can’t over emphasize this, I was completely stunned,” Forde said. “When you look at the previous winners, some of the heart and soul of this university are on that list, and to be even considered in that mix is a very humbling thing. Currently, there are so many administrators at this university who are just as, if not more, deserving of this award than me.”
Having been with the university for 17 years, Forde joined the College of Health and Human Services over the past year and a half. He has always greatly emphasized the impact of people, whether it’s faculty of students or vice versa.
“My focus is always on how we can serve our students, how we can connect them to the college, and how we can make them feel like BGSU is a special place,” Forde said.
Forde recalled the presentation, being told that marketing would be taking pictures of the faculty on the first day of school. As he was called away from his office, he found a plaque and a Zoom call of over 30 people, co-workers, faculty, and even his wife and son. Other faculty members of the college were there to congratulate him and make the presentation as special as the usual pomp and circumstance.
Even being at the college of Health and Human Services for a little over a year, Forde has enjoyed his time and looks forward to the future good he can bring.
“We have lots of great things going on in our college, we have two new schools coming on board, physical therapy and nursing,” Forde said. “We have terrific leadership in this college, Jim Ciesla, the dean, and his assistant dean, Tom Gorman, are both amazing to work for.”
Gorman, assistant dean of Undergraduate Education and Student Services, was Forde’s nominator for the award. He admired Forde’s commitment to help students in danger of deregistration. Whether the possibility of deregistration was due to family concerns, financial instability or other issues, Forde would help these students get in contact with college resources they may not know is available.
“With each semester billing cycle, as soon as the initial due date passes, Derm contacts the Bursar’s Office for the names of students at risk of deregistration,” Gorman said in his nomination letter. “Derm has been able to reduce the number of students being deregistered in the areas he has led.”
As Forde looks ahead, he hopes that he can keep helping students and leave a positive impression on them.
“One of the hallmarks of the university is there’s a lot of good, friendly, kind people who work here; it’s very noticeable on campus. I think the experience for students is really focused on the people they remember, and for me, that’s the most important thing,” he said. “I try to live that every day.”