NMU announces graduation speakers


MARQUETTE — Connor Loftus of Plainwell has been selected as the student commencement speaker for Saturday’s graduation ceremony at Northern Michigan University while NMU graduating students have selected Health and Human Performance professor Scott Jordan to serve as the faculty speaker at December commencement.

“Getting to speak at graduation is nerve-racking but cool,” Loftus said in an NMU press release. “I never thought I’d see myself public speaking, let alone at my graduation.”

Loftus’ speech will address the many changes that have occurred throughout campus in the last four years. He said he believes the graduating class has been at the center of most of those changes.

Loftus served in the Navy from 2011-2015 before coming to NMU. His decision to major in fisheries and wildlife management was heavily influenced by an experience he had while in the Navy.

“I took a trip to Joshua Tree National Park while I was in the Navy and being able to see everything there made me consider a career in park services,” Loftus said. “I also really enjoy biology, so majoring in fisheries and wildlife management seemed like a no-brainer.”


After graduating, Loftus has his sights set on moving to Lansing, where he hopes to secure a job related to natural resource policy.

During his time at NMU, Loftus assisted in establishing the Food Pantry and has been an active member of student organizations like ASNMU, Gamma Theta Upsilon and the Student Veteran Alliance.

Jordan teaches in NMU’s outdoor recreation leadership and management degree program. His research focuses on developing a sustainable model for nature-based tourism and outdoor recreation for the United States.

“I enjoy teaching, but I had no idea that I would be nominated for such an honor,” Jordan said in the release. “I am thrilled.”

Jordan has extensive experience in outdoor recreation, from the guiding and aerial adventure industries to higher education systems. This work has enabled him to serve the outdoor industry on a national level as board president for the Wilderness Education Association and executive committee member for the Professional Ropes Course Association.

Through these associations, Jordan participated in the development of an American national standard for zip line and challenge course construction and operations. He also completed a textbook on the zip line and challenge course industries, which is scheduled to be released at the end of January.

Jordan’s commencement speech will address the life lessons he has learned through outdoor recreation, which he attributes to helping him achieve his goals.

“We have foundations in character development, which has its roots in the practical, positive application of the things you learn at school. Character is that aspect of your life that includes things other than math or English class, but applying those to arts, sports or some type of expedition travel and being able to use the skills you learn here to be a good person and community member. Every student is an expert at something, I try to find out what that thing is in order to properly guide them on the correct career path.”

Outside of work, Jordan enjoys mountain biking and hiking with his wife, Cathy, and their two dogs.

The graduation ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, in the Superior Dome. It will be broadcast live on WNMU-TV and streamed online at www.nmu.edu/commencement.


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