Today the Central Michigan University family is mourning one of its own — Dick Enberg, who discovered a passion and immense talent for broadcasting while a student at CMU in the 1950s.
Enberg, a native of rural Armada, Michigan, was encouraged to pursue a degree after meeting then-CMU President Charles Anspach. Enberg's future was launched with a scholarship and soon supplemented with a job as a janitor for the college radio station.
It wasn't long before he ended up on the air, with the voice that would become legendary across the sports world, in baseball, football, tennis and more.
"Dick Enberg was always quick to say that CMU gave him his chance. Central took him from a farming community to the national broadcasting stage," President George E. Ross said.
"Dick was more than a friend. He was family. He was an unwavering supporter of the opportunities CMU creates for students — including those who don't realize their own potential or have the means to pursue the futures that await them," Ross said. "We will miss his great vision, his leadership, and his devotion to others. His wife, Barbara, and children will always be a part of us here at CMU."
Enberg returned to Michigan to visit Central many times through the years, including a much-celebrated trip in November 2016. He shared insider broadcasting tips and experiences with students, inspired athletes and directed the band on the football field during the visit. Enberg was emotional when presented with a varsity letter jacket during that game.
Always dedicated to his alma mater, Enberg was honorary chair of CMU's national steering committee for its current capital campaign.
"Dick Enberg always remembered his start at Central Michigan University. He gave endlessly of his time, talents and treasure, wanting to build an endowment here that would do for thousands of others what CMU had done for him — and a quarter million other alumni — over the past 125 years," said Bob Martin, vice president for advancement.
"Dick was a great man, whose support of students, educational excellence and athletics matched his remarkable skills as a broadcaster," Martin said.
Enberg's love for Central included its student-athletes and Athletics Department. A bronze bust of Enberg, with his famous thumbs-up, greets visitors in the Anson Family Atrium of the John G. Kulhavi Events Center.
The video that played this fall before every football game — and that will play this afternoon at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl before CMU takes the field — features a voiceover by Enberg. In August, he spoke with the football team during training camp, noting the lifelong friends they'll make at Central and telling them to enjoy every minute.
"Nobody carried their love for Central Michigan as far and wide and as Dick Enberg," said Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Michael Alford. "It's amazing how often he worked in his ties to CMU while on a national or international broadcast. He was an amazingly kind, thoughtful and welcoming man.
"He made a matching gift at my opening press conference at CMU, and we spoke often," said Alford, who joined CMU in July. "I'm so fortunate to have been able to spend time with Dick, introduce him to my family and understand what an important role CMU played in his life."
Herb Deromedi, former CMU football coach and athletic director, said Enberg was a tremendous fan who closely followed all of the men's and women's Athletics programs.
"Dick was always supportive of me as a coach and as an administrator. I've always appreciated the loyalty he demonstrated toward the university. He was always telling people he was a graduate of Central Michigan University," Deromedi said. "He was a national figure, and in his many, many accomplishments, he brought national recognition to the university. He was our spokesperson."
Dick Enberg, you have been one of our greatest friends and greatest family members. Oh my. We at CMU honor your legacy. And we miss you already.