Retired professor Featheringham inducted into CBA Hall of Fame
Featheringham taught in the College of Business Adminstration from 1971 to 2007.
Richard Featheringham dedicated decades of his life to teaching business communication and writing at Central Michigan University.
Now, his impact is being recognized with one of the university's highest honors: induction into the College of Business Administration Hall of Fame.
Featheringham taught at CMU from 1971 to 2007 and was a faculty member in the department of business information systems and faculty adviser for business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi.
The CBA professor is revered for more than just his teachings on the art of business writing. Featheringham's former students and colleagues treasure his commitment to students' long-term success, devotion to ethics and humble sense of humor.
"He's taught over fifty years in higher education, but he never lost that zest for teaching," said Nancy Hicks, business information systems faculty member, who nominated Featheringham for the award.
His official induction was celebrated at the 2018 Hall of Fame ceremony, which took place on Oct. 5 in the Grawn Hall Atrium.
Hicks, who was a student of Featheringham's in her days at CMU, became both his "colleague and good friend" when she became a faculty member in 1998.
"He inspired me as a teacher," she said. "He will do whatever it takes to help you and see that you succeed. He has that personal approach to teaching."
Featheringham has received numerous awards to recognize his talent for teaching. During his time at CMU, he received the Excellence in Teaching award, the Dean's Outstanding Teaching Award and the CBA Ameritech Excellence in Teaching Award, according to the Hall of Fame website.
While he taught at Kent State University prior to his time at CMU, Featheringham received the Outstanding Faculty Member Award, Alumni Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award and the Outstanding Teacher in the College of Business Administration Award.
Featheringham was a mentor. He spent years building relationships with his students -- and those relationships last a lifetime.
"He's known me 44 years," said Kirk Love, 1977 CBA alum, who now works as a financial adviser in Troy. "What he imparted on me the most was a yearning for learning. A lifelong approach toward learning that continues after the classroom."
Leading up to his retirement from CMU in January 2007, Featheringham continued to receive high praise from his students. Even in his final semester of teaching, he was given a perfect four-out-of-four score in his Student Opinion Surveys, according to CBA Interim Dean Karl Smart.
"Featheringham is a spectacular teacher who really cares about those who he teaches," Smart said. "It’d be hard for us to find anyone more invested in student success than him."
The CBA professor used real-world experience to help his students learn and found unique ways to engage them through writing assignments, Smart said.
One of the top criterion for nomination into the Hall of Fame is "displaying the highest level of ethics in the business dealings." Featheringham imparted his dedication to ethics on decades' worth of students.
"His philosophy was always that he was there to help, but it was always your work, and it should be your work alone," Love said.
In the 1980s, while devoting time to his students as a CBA faculty member, he also spent time as a student himself. He obtained both a bachelor's and a master's degree in music from CMU.
As a man of many trades, some of Featheringham's unique talents relate to his hands. Not only is he a skillful organist, but also an incredibly fast typist.
He spent years working as a demonstrator for the Royal Typewriter company, as he exhibited his ability to type at an astonishing 203 words per minute.
"He had to use a manual typewriter instead of an electric, because (the electric) wouldn’t return fast enough," Love recalled.
Featheringham has not only made a strong impact on students in Mount Pleasant, but across the continent as well. For years, he traveled North America and taught summer sessions at universities such as the University of Alaska and the University of New Brunswick in Canada.
He recalls his summer trips across the country with his family as some of his fondest memories. The retired professor now resides in Mount Pleasant with his wife, Audrey.
With all of his undeniable skills, he remains a humble man.
"I didn't expect this at all," he said about his induction. "I was really reluctant to say yes. This kind of stuff isn't 'me.' I don't really like attention, and I'm not too upfront -- other than when I teach."
He attributed his excellence in teaching to one simple explanation: "I liked my students," he said.