BIG RAPIDS — A Ferris State University alumnus returned to campus Jan. 22 to kick off spring semester activities for the sports communications program’s Sports Speaker Series.

Sandy Alspach, a professor of communication and the adviser to the sports communication program, said Ira Childress, the athletic director for Gulliver Prep in Pinecrest, Florida, is a frequent and welcomed visitor to the school.

“We have had Ira visit, to kick off our Sports Speaker Series for several years,” Alspach said. “Sports communication classes are active in the spring semester, and his talks have allowed us to celebrate the wider successes of our program.”

Childress, a Baldwin native who earned a bachelor of science degree in applied speech communication, in 2003, and completed his master of science in career and technical education in 2005, was also a member of Ferris State’s football program in the late 1990s.

Chapbook Press is the publisher of the book, a collection of stories from Childress’ youth and adulthood to chronicle his journey through life and sport.

“I anticipate that Ira’s book will capture the thoughts and wisdom he has shared with our students over his many visits in support of the sports communication program,” Alspach said. “He was able to accomplish lofty goals, having come from a simple background to succeed as a student-athlete, then as an employee at Ferris. His story really speaks to achievement through effort, and how Ferris can be that catalyst to inspire the pursuit of excellence.”

The sports communication program, Ferris’ Sports Careers Institute and the Sports Careers registered student organization were the sponsors of the event.