Northwood University receives donation of classic cars worth more than $2M

MIDLAND, MI—A donation worth an estimated $2 Million was made to Northwood University, but not in a traditional cash manner.

According to a release put out by the university, a Mount Pleasant couple has begun the process to donate more than $2 million worth of classic automobiles to support Northwood University and The Northwood Idea.

The release said Michael and Dianne Morey have pledged 35 vehicles from their automotive collection in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

Northwood President Kent MacDonald said in the release that the Morey family story is one of success from hard work, something the school hopes to instill in its students and what it hopes its alumni can exhibit in their respective fields.

He said the gift will be used to help make new scholarships for prospective students and help grow the Midland campus.

“We are incredibly grateful to Michael and Dianne for this extraordinary gift,” said MacDonald. “(The gift) will be used to enhance our Midland campus, create scholarship opportunities, and build the university’s endowment for future students.”

The release said the story of the Morey’s dedication began in 1983 when they believed they could build a better woodchipper than competitors on the market at the time.

Michael Morey left his job at the time and invested in a small 6-employee workshop, which built the 12-inch capacity disc-style Model 100 Brush Bandit chipper.

The release went on to share that after the success seen by the chipper, Dianne Morey joined her husband and helped build Bandit Industries. Bandit Industries would go on to design and launch the world’s first self-propelled track whole tree chipper in 1990. To date, Bandit operates a network of more than 180 dealer locations worldwide.

In 2018, the Morey’s announced that, as part of an employee stock ownership plan, they would plan on selling 100% of the company to their then-462 employees rather than accepting offers from private firms looking to buy it. Now, the company is said to have 725 employees.

Plans are being organized by the Morey family to transfer the vehicle titles to Northwood University before the end of 2022 to allow the school to liquidate the collection by June 30, 2023. Sales of the vehicles will be made through Mecum Auctions in a no-reserve style auction, with a preference for most of the collection to be sold at Mecum’s Jan. 6 auction in Kissimmee, FL.

In a prepared statement shared by the university, the Moreys said that the vehicles each have a story and have been an important part of their lives, but add the sale will go on to help others in the Northwood community.

“It’s time for these cars to write a new chapter,” said the Moreys. “(The sale of the cars will) support young men and women who want to work hard, build something of their own, and positively influence the communities they call home.”

In the release, Justin Marshall, chief development and engagement officer for Northwood University, shared that one of the vehicles, a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette, will remain unsold to display on campus in honor of the Moreys.

“We are very pleased to showcase this classic Corvette on campus as a reminder of the Morey’s generosity and American innovation while using the vehicle throughout the year to support our mission to develop future leaders of global economic and social progress.” Said Marshall.

Up to $1,000,000 of cash proceeds from the vehicle sales will be used to enhance the Northwood campus and build on recent campus improvements dedicated earlier this year.

The remaining proceeds have been declared for a scholarship and endowment fund supporting Northwood’s free-enterprise mission.

For more information on the Jan. 6 auction, visit the Michael & Dianne Morey Collection page on the Mecum auction site.

More from MLive:

Bay City Western to celebrate opening of renovated gym and auditorium

Request to ban books at Bay City Western High school denied by school board

Six-man Saginaw choir group makes a curtain call after 14 years

Essexville-Hampton schools announce new STEM center, $4.5M energy-saving upgrades