A respected communications executive will deliver the keynote address to graduates during Commencement exercises at Saginaw Valley State University. Jan Botz, an SVSU alumna who previously served as chief communications officer for Dow Corning and as vice president of Public Affairs and Communications at the University of Notre Dame, will speak Friday, Dec, 16 at 7:30 p.m. and again Saturday, Dec. 17 at 11 a.m. in O'Neill Arena.
Commencement exercises for graduates in the colleges of Business & Management and Health & Human Services will be held Friday evening. Students completing degrees in the colleges of Arts & Behavioral Sciences; Education; and Science, Engineering & Technology will take part in the ceremony scheduled for Saturday morning.
The graduating class consists of 685 students who are expected to complete degrees, including 623 individuals who have indicated that they intend to don regalia and march in the ceremonies. The class includes 554 who will receive bachelor's degrees, and 131 who will receive master's or education specialist degrees.
As is tradition, SVSU President Don Bachand will congratulate each graduate as he or she crosses the stage.
A 1974 graduate of SVSU, Botz majored in sociology and English. She was a reporter and later editor of The Valley Vanguard and served in student government. Botz later earned a Master of Business Administration from Central Michigan University.
Botz is passionate about the value of liberal arts to corporate organizations; and in 2013, she established the Botz Fellowship at SVSU to help liberal arts students gain corporate experiences via internships. She also serves on the university’s Foundation Board of Directors and is a past member of the Alumni Board and the Board of Fellows. Botz received the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1998.
Botz began her career at The Saginaw News. After several years as a reporter and an editor, she moved on to the Dow Corning Corporation, where she held positions of increasing responsibility in various business and communications roles in the U.S. and Europe for some 30 years. Botz retired after seven years as chief communications officer and transitioned to higher education as vice president of Public Affairs and Communications at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. While in South Bend, she served as a member of the board and the executive committee of WNIT, the northern Indiana PBS station.
In 2012, Botz formed her own communications consultancy firm. She currently works as program director of the Conference Board for two executive peer groups and conducts the annual Corporate Communications Conference. Botz was a decade-long member of The Conference Board’s Corporate Communications Strategy Council, serving as chair for several years.
A member of the Friends Board of Wisconsin Public Television, based in Madison, she also belongs to the Arthur W. Page Society for communications executives.