The Awarding of Honorary Degrees
During the 2021 commencement ceremony, North Central will award a posthumous honorary degree to Raymond T. Conley, a founding member of the college’s board of directors.
Conley, president of Petoskey’s First National Bank and Trust, was instrumental in securing public support for the formation of a local college. He served as board secretary from 1958—1978 and then as board president until 1980. He passed away in 2019.
Ray Conley's daughter Maureen Conley, a North Central alumna ('76) and a local attorney specializing in real estate law, will provide this year's commencement address. She will accept an honorary degree on her father’s behalf.
“We are thrilled to hear from an alumna and professional of Maureen’s caliber, and we’re honored to recognize Ray Conley’s lasting contributions to the college and our community." —President David Roland Finley
North Central's first Board of Trustees (L to R), seated, K.C. Festerling, C. Lester Johnson, Dean C. Burns, M.D., Eder C. Mathews. Standing (L to R), Ed Cadwell, Raymond Conley.
In accordance with Board policy adopted in 2018, North Central may award award an honorary degree to an individual as the highest form of recognition for extraordinary service to the college or outstanding contributions to the community.
The honorary degree shall be based on the following areas in which individuals may have made significant contributions:
- Educational Service: Recognizing outstanding service that enhances educational opportunities for the area or that gives personal assistance that leads to the success of individuals in higher education.
- Humanitarian Service: Recognizing outstanding altruism that enhances the quality of life for others in the area.
- Servant Leadership: Recognizing outstanding service that goes "the second mile" beyond the servant's paid job description in any area of leadership and that benefits others and/or enhances their leadership capabilities.
- Arts and Letters: Recognizing outstanding contributions to the arts in any form that enhances the quality of life in the area.
- Entrepreneurial Leadership: Recognizing outstanding contributions to business/industry through creative start-ups of new enterprises or through innovative management or business or industry.