Gary M. Cates
B.A. Journalism 1981
Gary Cates is the Chief Philanthropy and Government Relations Officer for ProMedica. Bringing 25 years of health care experience to the position, Cates oversees ProMedica’s foundation, government relations, community relations, community health operations and grants areas. During his time with ProMedica, Cates led numerous business units, from hospitals to air and mobile transportation.
Cates frequently speaks at health care and philanthropy forums about bringing a new boldness and collaboration to philanthropy work. His mindset of “philanthropy done different” is evident in the April 2020 launch of the ProMedica Impact Fund — a $1 billion initiative which aims to help close health care disparities and address inequities at the root level by directing unprecedented resources to social determinants of health.
Cates is a recipient of Ohio Philanthropy’s Innovation Award for catalytic efforts that have propelled philanthropy in recent years. Under his leadership, ProMedica Foundations was honored as the Foundation of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. During his tenure, ProMedica Foundations has raised more than $240 million – representing a six-fold increase over historic annual performance, with one-third of that total going into social determinants of health initiatives and other not-for-profit agencies.
Throughout his career, Cates has been involved in numerous local service and charitable organizations. A Kiwanis International Distinguished Club President and Distinguished Club Secretary, his local club honored him with a George F. Hixson Fellowship award at the conclusion of his service. In 2018, Cates’ hometown Chamber of Commerce awarded him the prestigious Quality of Life Award for his years of service and leadership to the community.
Cates holds a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Michigan State University. He and his wife, Debbie, reside in Defiance, Ohio. They have two married sons and four grandchildren.
Chief Philanthropy and Government Relations Officer, ProMedica
Marti K. S. Heil
B.A. Advertising 1976
Heil was a Spartan from a young age and dreamed of going to Michigan State. Having been mentored by a recipient of this same award, former Sports Information Director at MSU, Nick Vista, Heil knew that her college of choice would be ComArtSci at MSU. Raised by a strong, single mother, Heil credits her mom with being a positive role model who instilled important values in her upbringing.
After graduation, Heil’s first job was with a local non-profit, launching her illustrious 46-year career in fundraising — raising critical funds, tirelessly promoting the value of philanthropy and expanding alumni engagement efforts. She came out of retirement in October 2018, returning to MSU, where she has now spent a total of 33 years in Advancement. During her highly productive time at MSU, Heil helped complete the successful “Empower Extraordinary” campaign, leading the charge in raising $1.84 billion for prioritized university needs to support student scholarships, endowed professorships and capital projects. This was followed by the most successful fundraising year ever for MSU, reaching $272.6 million during the 2020 fiscal year.
Heil has served on the Board of Directors for the University Club of MSU, as a faculty member for the Big Ten Fundraisers Institute and many other community committees. She retired (for the third time) in August of 2022. She continues to serve higher education and non-profit clients by providing consulting services.
Heil was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Hope Foundation for Cancer Research. Heil attributes her greatest achievement as working with talented staff and mentoring and watching them succeed and grow; who together through philanthropy have made significant impacts in the lives of so many at MSU.
Vice President Emeritus - University Advancement, Michigan State University
Chadwick "Niles" Phillips
B.A. Communication 2006
Chadwick "Niles" Phillips was born and raised in Lansing, MI. An artist and renaissance man, Phillips is the founder of The Avant Garde LLC — a Minnesota-based music and entertainment company that gives a platform to urban eclectic entertainment. Through The Avant Garde, Phillips produces concerts featuring Twin Cities artists within the genres of Neo-Soul/R&B, spoken-word poetry, conscious hip-hop, Afrobeats, Reggae and live instrumentation.
Phillips has also worked for BET, CBS and NYC Fashion Week throughout his career, and was on a major label called "Koch Records". The Avant Garde was created to carry on the rich tradition of great urban music and arts movements of the past while creating a legacy for future generations to follow. Phillips attributes his passion for music to his father, legendary Jazz/Orchestra bassist Sam Gill.
Phillips is also founder of the youth artist development program Hip-Hop, History & The Arts, which he has taught in over 60 schools throughout Minnesota and across the nation. This program gives youth creative mediums to express themselves while helping them acquire knowledge and wisdom on how to navigate life. In addition, Phillips has released three youth music projects within the program.
Phillips is also a Hip-Hop recording artist who goes by the stage name Niles. As an artist, he has opened for Rakim, Slick Rick, Yasiin Bey (Mosdef), Raekwon, KRS One and many others. He has also hosted numerous concerts, the most notable being for Musiq SoulChild. He is a Mcknight Fellowship finalist, has won grants from MRAC and Intermedia Arts and has been considered for a Grammy Award. Phillips was named a “Top 25 Minnesota Trailblazer” by Growler Magazine and recently won a Black Music America award.
Founder/CEO, The Avant Garde LLC
Michael E. Roloff
M.A. Communication 1974; Ph.D. Communication 1975
Michael Roloff is an emeritus professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University who has spent over 45 years in academia. Roloff's research and teaching interests center around interpersonal influence. His current research is focused on conflict avoidance and serial arguing in intimate relationships, the interpretation and construction of persuasive messages, and the effects of planning and alternatives on negotiation processes.
Roloff is the author of Interpersonal Communication: The Social Exchange Approach. Roloff has co-edited five research volumes: Persuasion: New Directions in Theory and Research; Social Cognition and Communication; Interpersonal Processes, Communication and Negotiation; and The Handbook of Communication Science. A former editor of Communication Yearbook, Roloff is currently the co-editor of Communication Research.
Roloff has been the Chair of the Interpersonal Communication Division of the National Communication Association. He served as the Director of the National Communication Association Publications Board and as a member of the Executive Committee of NCA.
In 2011, Roloff received the Donald H. Ecroyd Award for Outstanding Teaching in Higher Education and the Mark L. Knapp Award from the National Communication Association for his contribution to research in interpersonal communication. Roloff is a Fellow of the International Communication Association and was selected to be a Distinguished Scholar of the National Communication Association. He was co-recipient of the Woolbert Award for Outstanding Contribution to Communication Research from the Speech Communication Association, and of a publication award from the Social Cognition and Communication Division of the National Communication Association. Roloff has received several teaching awards from groups at Northwestern University including the Associated Student Government and the Alumni Association.
Roloff’s academic roots run deep through Michigan and the same is true of his family life. In 1974, Roloff and his wife Karen were married in the Alumni Memorial Chapel. They have three daughters and eight grandchildren.
Emeritus Professor of Communication Studies, Northwestern University
Gary Frederick Stewart
B.A. Communication 1975; M.A. Communication 1982
Gary Stewart was a manager and practitioner of communication in legislative, regulatory, media relations, crisis communication and corporate settings for 32 years. Both before and after his work in large organizations, Stewart was a classroom teacher in high school and community college. As a graduate student at MSU, he taught sections of Communication 100 courses and assisted in the Mass Media Effects course.
Stewart led Public & Government Affairs for Amoco Eurasia Petroleum Company (now part of BP) in 1997-1998 with oil production activities in Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea. The Eurasia work involved a great deal of managing communication with international news media and international organizations. In 2010, Stewart served for several weeks as Public Information Officer in Unified Command in the Gulf of Mexico during the “Deepwater Horizon” oil-spill incident.
In 2012, Stewart retired from worldwide energy provider BP as General Manager of Government & Public Affairs – Midwest US, based in Chicago. In the Midwest, Stewart managed teams of professionals representing refining, pipeline, biofuels and fuels-marketing operations. This work included hands-on representation in state legislatures along with all manner of work with Midwest news media. Stewart was a key player in managing communication to create organizational change in Amoco’s US refining organization.
Prior to joining BP, Stewart was Director of State Government affairs for Detroit Edison Company (now DTE Energy) and supervised the company’s office in Lansing, Michigan. Stewart has played a leadership role for years as Board Chair for HARBOR Inc., a community development organization that implements and coordinates community betterment projects for environmental protection, public access to natural spaces and parks, public school resources, and support for entrepreneurial activity in Northern Michigan. He also served on the staff of the Michigan Senate during his time in Lansing. Stewart resides with his wife, Susan Irish Stewart in Harbor Springs, Michigan.
Retired Communication Manager, Practitioner and Teacher
M.A. Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media 2012
Tom Staudt is a Managing Director and has been the Chief Operating Officer at ARK Invest since 2016. Staudt joined Cathie Wood’s ARK in June 2014, shortly after the firm was founded, where he was initially responsible for building out ARK’s trading desk, trade integrations and day-to-day exchange-traded fund operations. As ARK grew from an independent startup to award winning Top 10 largest ETF provider, Staudt became the head of product development, leading the launch of additional ARK investment solutions in the US and throughout global financial markets. Staudt also serves as the President of the ARK ETF Trust and ARK Venture Fund and has been an independent Director on the Board of 3iQ Digital Holdings, a Canadian digital asset investment manager, since 2017.
Prior to joining ARK, Staudt worked in a sales and consulting role for WILX in Lansing, spent time at Fidelity Investments in its mutual fund department and consulted on millennial investing behavior at TIAA-CREF. Tom, a lifelong learner, received his Bachelor of Business Administration, magna cum laude, in Finance and Economics from the University of Notre Dame; a Master of Arts in Telecommunications, Info Studies and Media from Michigan State University; a Master of Science in New Media Management from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University; and a Master of Business Administration, McAllister Award Winner, from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.
Staudt has received accolades including the Mutual Fund Industry “Rising Star” Award from Fund Intelligence, and the Golden Rhino Award for New Business Generation from WILX. Tom currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with his wife Marissa.
Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer, ARK Invest