Muskegon Community College will present its 2018 Alumni Achievement Award, an honor recognizing extraordinary professional achievement by one of its graduates from the past 15 years, to David Takitaki, Class of 2005, who is a political science faculty member at Ferris State University.
Takitaki will be honored on Tuesday, May 8, at the Alumni Awards Dinner on campus and will be formally recognized on Wednesday evening, May 9, at the 2018 MCC Commencement in L.C. Walker Arena in downtown Muskegon.
Established in 2017, the Alumni Achievement Award recipient is selected by the MCC Alumni Relations Committee.
A native of Grand Haven, MI, Takitaki graduated from Grand Haven High School. He attended Muskegon Community College from 2003 to 2005. He has earned two political science degrees – a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University in 2006 and a Master of Arts from Western Michigan University in 2012.
Takitaki is a member of the Political Science faculty at Ferris State University, where he teaches Urban Planning, American Government, Comparative Government, International Relations and International Organizations. He is an advisor to the FSU student organization centered on Simulation Diplomacy.
Within the Muskegon community, Takitaki wrote and hosted two educational shows, “The Essentials of Democracy” and “A Novel Conversation,” on MCC-TV. An accomplished vocalist, he founded and fronted a music group, Beyond Awaits, which produced and released two albums, “The Contemporary Requiem” and “A Brighter Day,” the former as a fundraiser for Harbor Hospice of Muskegon. He has been a columnist on politics and community issues for both The Muskegon Tribune and the web magazine Beyond the Breakers. He has assisted MLive and the Muskegon Chamber of Commerce as a debate moderator for Muskegon Mayoral and City Commission races. Most recently, he served as a writer, director and featured speaker for the “An Evening with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” presentation in October 2017 at the Frauenthal Center.
In 1997, he began his professional career with Muskegon-based Village Hearth, Inc., a million-dollar-per-year entertainment venue. He started working as a security staff member and advanced to management overseeing a 35-member staff.
When Takitaki shifted careers in 2007 to attend graduate school, he became a visiting political science instructor at both Adrian College and Muskegon Community College. At MCC over the next decade, Takitaki taught American Government, Comparative Government, International Relations and International Organizations. He developed online courses and coordinated a Simulation Diplomacy program that expanded participation 200 percent within the first two years. His efficacy study on the International Affairs program resulted in its increased institutional funding.
Takitaki, who has also served as a business representative, political consultant and Union Steward, was a candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives 92nd District seat in 2010.
“As a young person with big dreams and more than a few challenges, I found myself working in a nightclub and wondering how I was going to change my stars,” explained Takitaki. “I’d been forced to abandon my college plans after my family situation disintegrated, and I was in desperate need of a second chance. Muskegon Community College gave it to me.”
“Thanks to a true community of educators, staff and classmates I was able to explore and refine my interests and point myself at a career in education. My MCC credits transferred seamlessly to Michigan State University, where I started as a junior and earned my Bachelor’s degree in just two years. Just as importantly, the things I learned at MCC laid the foundation for all of my future studies.”
“Later, the opportunity to return to MCC as faculty opened doors to me that led to my teaching position at Adrian College and my full-time faculty status at Ferris State University. Looking back, it is easy to see that Muskegon Community College was the launching point for everything I’ve achieved professionally.”
“I’m grateful – both for the benefits I’ve gained from MCC and for the chance to help provide those benefits to others. This institution, as led by Dr. Frank Marczak when I was a student and by Dr. Dale Nesbary today, can change lives for the better… and I’m living proof of that.”
Takitaki and his wife, Amanda Rzucidlo, reside in Spring Lake, MI.