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Something’s Brewing

Husband-and-Wife SHU Graduates Grow Cotton Brewing Co. Into Successful Business Venture

Brett and Krista (First) Cotton have something brewing in Adrian.

The married double Siena Heights University graduates started brewing beer more than five years ago as a hobby. Using their own money – and their Siena Heights degrees—they decided to make it into a business in 2012. And business is booming. Using fairs and craft beer festivals as both a proof-of-concept and a built-in test market, Cotton Brewing Co. is on its way to becoming a full-time venture for the husband-and-wife team.

“We were just trying to be able to sell the beer,” said Krista of the original reason they started the business. “We never intended it to take off and have the demand that we did. It just keeps rolling.”

Brett said he originally got the idea of brewing beer while working in a corporate setting in Washington, D.C.

“Beer brewing was really big out there,” Brett said. “A bunch of friends would go hit up these different breweries every week.”

When his job in D.C. ended, he returned to Michigan and decided to buy a home brewing kit.

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Mr. Smith Goes to Hollywood

Siena Heights Graduate Enjoys Distinguished Career as Director of Photography

Darryl E. Smith casts a long shadow standing 6 feet, 8 inches tall. However, that shadow pales in comparison to the one he has cast as a director of photography in Hollywood.

The 1985 Siena Heights graduate has an impressive list of credits and clients, including MTV, Disney, Coca-Cola, CBS, the NFL Network and HBO. The owner of his own production company, Darryl E. Smith Productions, for the past 14 years, he said his path to success was a winding one. And his starting point was Siena Heights University.

Originally recruited to play basketball at Siena by former coach Ben Braun, Smith said Siena Heights was the only school that showed interest in him as a student—not just as a basketball player.

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From the Heights—Fall 2015 Campus News

SHU Named Gold Level Veteran-Friendly School

Siena Heights University was one of 28 Michigan colleges and universities that earned Gold Level status in Veteran-Friendly School program created by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. The program recognizes institutions of higher learning for their dedication to student veterans and dependents utilizing their G.I. Bill and other educational benefits.

SHU Again Recognized for Online Veterans Program

Siena Heights University was again recognized as 2015 Best Online Programs for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report. SHU is ranked the following in this year’s listing:

  • 21st overall (tied),
  • Second in Michigan,
  • First among Michigan private institutions.

Last year, Siena Heights was ranked 47th in the same category. To qualify for the Best Online Programs for Veterans rankings, the 737 online degree programs featured first had to be among the top 75 percent of schools ranked in the 2015 Best Online Programs rankings.

Ripper Presents at Center for Scholastic Inquiry Conference

SHU Assistant Professor of Business Matthew Ripper had two papers accepted by and presented at the October 2015 international conference in Charleston, S.C., on behalf of the Center for Scholastic Inquiry. His two papers are entitled “Building an Authentic Workplace Community Through Social Media” and “Community Benefits Districts: Nonprofit Governance Using Social Capital and Cross-organizational Collaboration.”

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