November 8, 2016

SVSU honors proud alumni

Saginaw Valley State University recognized seven of its graduates and one future graduate who are excelling in their careers and improving their communities at its annual Alumni Celebration Friday, Oct.28. Five alumni were honored with the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest award presented by the SVSU Alumni Association. In addition, the Young Alumni, Veteran Alumni and Future Alumni awards were bestowed.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to an SVSU graduate in recognition of distinguished service and accomplishment in any field of human endeavor that enhances the prestige of the university.

In the College of Arts & Behavioral Sciences, David Points received the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus honor. Commander David S. Points is the former Director of the Joint Information Bureau, Joint Task Force -160 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was recalled to active duty and worked as a public affairs officer on the “U.S. Navy's Napalm Outreach Team” in several states and was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal. Points completed a bachelor’s degree in 1976; he later completed a law degree and a Ph.D. His public service includes a term as a Michigan state representative. Points is currently the sole owner of Mahon Communications, Inc. which owns and operates WFJX AM, FOX Radio 910 in Roanoke, Virginia.

In the College of Business & Management, the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus award was given to John Stadwick. He began his career with General Motors in 1984 and has served in various leadership positions, including a stint as vice president of GM China; he is currently the global customer experience officer for GM. Numerous organizations and publications have recognized Stadwick for his professional accomplishments and community service. In 2013, Forbes magazine named him to its “Global Meets Local” list of top influential leaders of global corporations. Stadwick completed a bachelor's degree in business management in 1983, and was a two-time All-American member of SVSU’s national championship track and field teams in 1982 and 1983.

In the College of Education, Robert Loftus received the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus honor. He received a football scholarship to play at SVSU, and had a memorable and inspiring playing career. Loftus played for SVSU’s first football coach, the late Frank “Muddy” Waters, and was named one of the captains for the team his junior and senior year.  Loftus graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education. He has held teaching, coaching and administrative positions within secondary education. Currently he is the owner and president of Loftus and Associates, income development specialists for the auto industry.

In the Crystal M. Lange College of Health & Human Services, the Distinguished Alumna award was given to Sarah Fechter. Founder of Sarah Fetcher Fitness, she has helped members of the community achieve a better and healthier life. She has received multiple awards such as the Great Women of the Great Lakes Bay Region, Business of the Year in 2013, and most recently a RUBY Award. Fechter's business continues to grow and evolve; she currently employs a team of 14 including five SVSU kinesiology students. Fechter completed a bachelor’s degree in exercise science in 2007.

In the College of Science, Engineering & Technology, John Tolfa received the Distinguished Alumnus honor. Upon graduating from SVSU in 1985 with a degree in chemistry and a minor in Mathematics, Tolfa was hired by CPI Engineering Services Inc. in Midland, where he worked on research and development. In 2010, Tolfa co-founded Xaerus Performance Fluids International, a company that develops, manufactures and exports specialty lubricants around the world. Two of the senior chemists at Xaerus are SVSU alumni; he also provides internship opportunities for SVSU students. Tolfa is an inventor of several patents related to synthetic lubrication and bio-based industrial chemistries.

The Young Alumni Award recognizes an individual who has graduated within five years, contributed to student and campus life, has a strong affinity for and connection to SVSU, has been recognized for a strong work ethic, and has shown evidence of professional achievement and civic service. The 2016 recipient is Chunchun Tang, who arrived at SVSU from Shenyang, China and graduated in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in English literature. In 2013, she earned a master's of science in international education development from the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania. Tang's high skills in international exchange and cross cultural education led her to pursue an internship with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, known as UNESCO. She currently serves as director of international programs at Oxford Community Schools in Oxford, Michigan.

New in 2016 is the Veteran Alumni Award, presented to an outstanding alum who served in the military. The inaugural award's recipient is Matthew Schiebner, who graduated from SVSU with a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2004, and earned his master's degree in nursing as a nurse practitioner. He started his nursing career in the United States Air Force as a medical officer. Schiebner was presented with a company grade officer of the quarter honor for his outstanding leadership during wartime while training new recruits and caring for the active duty and veteran soldiers in the hospital setting. He is currently practicing primary care for all ages at Great Lakes Medical Center in Bay City. Additionally, Schiebner has been employed at Covenant Med Express since 2011, where he provides his services in an urgent care setting.

The Future Alumni Award is presented to an SVSU student of junior or senior class standing who meets the same criteria as the Young Alumni award. The 2016 recipient is George Copeland, a business administration major and communication minor from Southfield who is expected to graduate in December. While at SVSU, Copeland has served as a resident assistant in M.J. Brandimore House, and has been an active member of several student organizations. Copeland is also the youth pastor for The Nations Church in Saginaw, where he strives to help people reach their goals and fulfill their purposes.