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      Cliffs to donate $250,000 to Northern Michigan University

      Northern Michigan University announced Tuesday that $250,000 will be coming to clinical laboratory sciences programs over the next five years through the Cliffs Natural Resources Foundations.

      Northern expects the funding to expand the scope of the CLS molecular diagnostics laboratory in the West Science Building for student training, test development and research. Included in the funding is a $50,000 Cliffs Endowed Scholarship to assist students with costs associated with training at clinical agencies, such as Mayo Clinic.

      "This is a transformation gift," said Linda Riipi, associate dean of the School of Clinical Sciences. "We will now be able to move forward with the molecular diagnostics initiative to meet the demand for professionals with this specialized training. Molecular diagnostics, or 'personalized medicine,' is the fastest-growing and most rapidly changing area in the clinical laboratory. It utilizes each person's unique genetic 'signature' to diagnose disease and make predictions about the likelihood of developing disease."

      Riipi says NMU has one of only eight accredited programs in diagnostic molecular science nationwide. The program at Northern is unique in allowing students and displaced workers to seamlessly continue their education from one-year certificate to associate degree to bachelor's degree.

      The $250,000 gift is the largest Cliffs has given to Northern Michigan University.

      "Cliffs is pleased to be able to continue our well established relationship with NMU by providing this financial support to the very impressive activities involved with the clinical laboratory sciences programs and the education and research opportunities it provides for students, educators and others," said Dale Hemmila, director of public affairs, North America. "In addition, the endowed scholarship is a commitment by the Cliffs Foundation to its long standing mission of support for education."