The Abigail Smith Timme Society

Abigail Smith TimmeThe Abigail Smith Timme Society is named in honor of Abigail Smith Timme. Mrs. Timme was one of the most distinguished alumna in Ferris State University’s history—an epitome of loyalty, devotion and generosity.

A Manistee native, Abigail Smith attended the then Ferris Institute’s secretarial studies curriculum, graduating in 1912. While a student, she worked in the office of the school’s founder, Woodbridge N. Ferris, from whom she received a personal recommendation for a position after graduation at the Berkey and Gay Furniture Company of Grand Rapids.

She moved to Washington D.C. in 1917 and served on the secretarial staff of several high-ranking federal officials. She then moved to New York City where she worked for two years. From New York, she moved to Chicago, where she accepted a position with Continental Casualty Company, one of the nation’s largest insurance firms. Here she met her husband, Ernst G. Timme, an officer of the company whom she married in 1929, and with whom she worked closely on the design and implementation of many of the firm’s development projects.

Mrs. Timme’s continuing interest in Ferris was evident in her generous response in the 1960’s to an appeal from the University for contributions to underwrite scholarships for needy and worthy students. She became a life member of the FSU Alumni Association in 1963, and a charter member of the FSU President’s Club in 1973. In 1976, Mrs. Timme created the first of three trusts of which Ferris is now the beneficiary.

In 1977 the University recognized Mrs. Timme’s continuing support by awarding her the honorary degree of Doctor of Human Letters. The Timme Center for Teaching Excellence was created in her honor in 1988, and the Ferris State University Library was renamed the Abigail S. Timme Library in 1989. When the new library was dedicated in 2001, the former library was converted to the Timme Center for Student Services.

For all of these reasons we named the planned giving society after her. Planned gifts ensure that future funds will be available to help Ferris fulfill its mission to serve its students and the campus community. Planned gifts help the University fund scholarships, programmatic support, faculty support, research, athletics, and much more. We truly appreciate your planned gift and your help to move Ferris Forward.


  • Receive The Ferris Foundation Philanthropy electronic newsletter
  • Invitation to campus events and special receptions
  • Receive an annual letter from the University President with the “inside scoop”.