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Alma College Board of Trustees Welcomes Five

Kevin Blatchford ’83, Charles Hardwick ’88, Chris Hufnagel ’94, Derron Sanders and Jim Wheeler were appointed to the board, while Carol Burns became secretary

ALMA — Alma College on July 1 welcomed five new members to its Board of Trustees and promoted an incumbent member of the board to the position of secretary.

Kevin Blatchford ?83 Kevin Blatchford ’83Kevin Blatchford ’83 of Chicago, Ill., Charles Hardwick ’88 of Birmingham, Chris Hufnagel ’94 of Ada, Derron Sanders of Bloomfield Hills, and Jim Wheeler of Alma were appointed to the board, while Carol Burns of Sanford became secretary.

Blatchford earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and economics from Alma in 1983. During his time at the college, he was a member of the Alma Leadership Alliance and Zeta Sigma. He graduated summa cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He went on to Harvard Law School and graduated with a Juris Doctor degree, earning cum laude honors, in 1986.

Blatchford is a partner and attorney with Sidley Austin, LLP in their Chicago office. He joined the firm in 1986 and became a partner in 1994. His principal areas of practice are corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate reorganizations/bankruptcy.

Blatchford is a member of the Alma Ambassador Program, the college’s signature volunteer engagement program.

Charles Hardwick ?88 Charles Hardwick ’88Hardwick graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in international business administration and Spanish in 1988. While at Alma, he minored in French and was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. He was on the homecoming court, was a choir member and participated in the Alma Leadership Alliance. He was also a Barlow Trophy winner, the college’s most prestigious award for a graduating senior.

Hardwick went on to earn a Master of Business Administration degree in organizational behavior from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 1993 and a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1999. He earned his Master of Theology degree in preaching from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and his doctorate degree in homiletics from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2007.

Hardwick currently serves as transitional synod executive for the Synod of the Covenant in Bloomfield Hills. Prior to this experience, he served as the director of theology, worship and education for the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (USA) for six years. Hardwick also serves as an Alma Ambassador.

Chris Hufnagel ?94 Chris Hufnagel ’94Hufnagel earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and history from Alma College in 1994. While at Alma, he participated in men’s basketball, was a member of Sigma Chi and was in Model United Nations.

Hufnagel then entered the world of business, where he worked in various leadership positions at Abercrombie & Fitch, the Gap and Under Armour, before joining the footwear manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide in 2013. Hufnagel is currently president of the Merrell, Chaco, Hush Puppies and CAT Footwear brands within the company’s portfolio, reporting directly to the company chairman and CEO and serving on the company’s executive leadership team.

Hufnagel serves as an Alma Ambassador. In fall 2015, he was the chair for the Alma College Model UN Giving Circle. The team of 13 members had a goal of $25,000 and the year ended in June 2016 with over $56,000 raised.

Derron Sanders Derron SandersSanders graduated from Michigan State University in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. He earned his Master of Business Administration degree from Wayne State University in 2000.

In 2000, Sanders founded Sanders Group LLC (SG), a privately held real estate investment, construction and property management business. Since then, SG has evolved into a diversified portfolio of companies including SG Real Estate, SG Capital Group, and SG Energy Solutions. As managing member of SG, Sanders oversees all companies within the portfolio and is responsible for the fiscal operation of each entity.

Jim Wheeler Jim WheelerWheeler earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from the University of Illinois in 1981. He has been the president of the Greater Gratiot Development, Inc. (GGDI) group in Ithaca since 2016. He was unanimously elected to the position, replacing Don Schurr.

Wheeler had previously served as vice president for the organization. Before joining GGDI, he had a long career in banking, including as the community bank president of Mercantile Bank in Alma. He is also a member of the Alma Industrial Development group and has previously served as board president of the Gratiot County Community Foundation.

Wheeler also serves as an Alma Ambassador.

Carol Burns Carol BurnsBurns earned a bachelor degree in natural science from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1985. She then went on to receive a Master of Public of Health degree from Tulane University School of Public Health and Topical Medicine in 1989 and a doctorate degree in epidemiology from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in 1994.

Burns is a fellow of the American College of Epidemiology. She works as president of Burns Epidemiology Consulting.

Story published on July 07, 2021