New scholarship program aims to help local grads attend Ferris State University


TRI-CITY AREA — The goal of a new scholarship fund at Ferris State University is to help more students from Michigan’s Thumb make their dreams of a college degree reality.

Recently, Ferris State University announced the launch of the Thumb 11 Scholarship Fund, an initiative spearheaded by Class of 1983 alumnus and Imlay City native Joseph Pistrui. The awards, which must offset direct expenses related to attending Ferris, will go to selected first-year FSU students who graduated from one of 11 qualifying Michigan high schools—Almont, Brown City, Capac, Dryden, Imlay City, Lapeer, Marlette, Mayville, North Branch, Peck and Yale.

Students from schools in the Tri-City area—Almont, Capac, Dryden and Imlay City—plus seven other districts are eligible for scholarship funds through a new program targeting districts in the Thumb.

Pistrui, a professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at IE Business School in Madrid, Spain, and founder of Kinetic Thinking, said, “Attending Ferris State University after graduating from Imlay City High School was a pivotal moment in my life. I have proudly taken my Ferris State experience with me across the globe and lived by the principles of the university wherever I go. I am honored by the opportunity to help other students from these 11 communities advance their education at Ferris.”

A 1979 graduate of Imlay City High School, Pistrui earned a Bachelor of Science in Business-Marketing from Ferris in 1983.

The fund goal is to raise $100,000 through private donations and matching dollars from The Ferris Foundation. These dollars financially support chosen Ferris students from 11 Michigan greater thumb communities through an annual general scholarship award with grant awards up to $4,000 annually.

“It was a pleasure to recognize Dr. Pistrui as a Distinguished Alumnus of Ferris State University. He has used this opportunity to give back to his alma mater and region to create the innovative Thumb 11 scholarship,” Ferris President David Eisler said.

“His generosity will help create access and opportunity to a Ferris education for years to come.”

Ferris State University is located in Big Rapids, MI with other satellite locations.

Eligible students must be recent graduates from one of 11 schools and have formal acceptance to attend Ferris. Prospective students interested in applying for the scholarship, can visit for more details.

The first edition of the Thumb 11 Scholarship will be available for the academic year 2023.

Anyone who would like to contribute as a private donor to the Thumb 11 Scholarship Fund, can visit for more information or give through the Mobile Cause app.

Pistrui is also interested in strengthening the Ferris alumni network among the Thumb 11 Scholarship Fund communities.

A Thumb 11 Scholarship Fund Facebook page has also been created and alumni from the area are encouraged to like the page and engage fellow and future Bulldogs.

Ferris alumni and anyone interested in supporting the scholarship initiative can contact organizers directly at