Northern Michigan University alumnus Ernie Telford of Thousand Oaks, Calif., will be the keynote speaker at December commencement. He also will receive an honorary doctor of business degree. Telford is a consultant for AmWINS Group Inc., a leader in the wholesale insurance industry.
Telford maintains a strong connection to his alma mater. He provided seed capital for NMU to offer a finance degree with a concentration in insurance and risk management and established the Telford Risk Management Scholarship in 2010 for students participating in the program. His support also led to the creation of an actuarial science concentration in the mathematics major and an actuarial science minor. He serves as a mentor for College of Business students.
After graduating from NMU in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in management with a minor in speech and theater, Telford spent about two years in the U.S. Army before settling into his longtime career. He began as an underwriting trainee with Continental Insurance in New York City. Telford then worked for AIG New York as a senior excess casualty underwriter and AIG Los Angeles as a regional casualty manager. He and two others later founded MTS Insurance. In 2001, MTS and its affiliated companies merged with Americana Financial to establish American Wholesale Insurance Group. Telford served as chairman until January 2006, when he became a consultant with AmWINS. The firm is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., and has 90 locations across 18 countries. It represents a mix of more than 30 wholesale brokerage, underwriting and group benefit operations.
NMU’s commencement will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, in the Superior Dome. It will be broadcast live regionally on WNMU-TV and streamed online through the America One/B2 Networks.