Business leaders, doctors, a dentist and a military veteran are among the eight individuals whose professional exceptionalism and community engagement were recognized during Saginaw Valley State University's annual Alumni Celebration Friday, Oct. 27.
The SVSU Alumni Association selected five individuals to receive the Distinguished Alumni award - one for each of SVSU's five academic colleges. Three other honorees received the Veteran Alumni, Young Alumni and Future Alumni awards.
From SVSU's College of Science, Engineering and Technology, Jessica Bentoski earned the Distinguished Alumna Award. Bentoski received her bachelor's degree in biology in 2004. She later received a dentistry degree from the University of Michigan's School of Dentistry. Bentoski operates Saginaw Pediatric Dentistry. She is a past recipient of the Business of the Year - New Construction Award by Saginaw Township.
From the College of Business and Management, David Kowalski received the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Kowalski is the current president and owner of the family-owned Euclid Automotive Supply in Bay City. Through 15 years of work with the Cub Scouts, Kowalski received honors such as the District Award of Merit and the James E. West Fellow Award. He received his bachelor's degree from SVSU in 1979.
From the College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Michael Langworthy received the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Langworthy serves as the director of orthopedic surgery for Southcoast Health Systems in New Bedford, Massachusetts. A retired U.S. Navy captain, Langworthy served 30 years of active and reserve duty. He earned his bachelor's degree from the institution in 1984.
From the College of Education, Christopher Pryor received the Distinguished Alumnus award. The pastor of Victorious Believers Ministries Church of God in Christ in Buena Vista Township, Pryor has a passion for serving others. Prior to his pastoral work, he spent 13 years working at Pfizer Inc., a biopharmaceutical company with locations around the globe. Pryor graduated from SVSU with a bachelor's degree in management in 1995 and a master's degree in educational leadership in 2000.
From the College of Health and Human Services, Dr. Lynn Squanda-Murphy received the Distinguished Alumna Award. She is a physician for MedExpress in several Michigan locations. Squanda-Murphy graduated in 1981 from SVSU with a bachelor's degree in physical education with an emphasis in sports medicine. Those skills aided her during her time as a U.S. Army cardiac technician and medical assistant. She later attended Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine, graduating in 1997.
Gretchen Evans received the Veteran Alumni Award. A retired U.S. Army command sergeant major who first enlisted in 1979, Evans served as an intelligence analyst in Heidelberg, Germany. There, she was trained as a counterintelligence agent and military spy. After serving in the Army for 27 years, she decided to resume her education. Evans graduated from SVSU in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in sociology. She is set to publish her new book, "Lessons from the Front," in November.
Marlin Jenkins received the Young Alumnus award. Jenkins, who earned a bachelor's degree in creative writing, later attended the University of Michigan's Master of Fine Arts program. He graduated in 2017. He serves as an editor for the HEArt Online literary journal, a publication committed to the promotion of social justice and the fight against discrimination. Jenkins has been published in several literary journals including The Collagist, Four Way Review, The Journal and Bennington Review, among others.
Andrew Jarmon received the Future Alumnus award. Set to graduate in December 2017 with a bachelor's degree in professional accountancy, Jarmon serves as the business manager of The Valley Vanguard, SVSU's school newspaper; co-chair of the Great Lakes Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls; and a residence assistant for SVSU's student housing operations. A graduate of L’Anse Creuse North High School in Macomb County, Jarmon interned with the Drug Enforcement Administration as part of their financial investigating team as well as with Quicken Loans, where he worked in risk management.
The Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control congratulated the SVSU Student Association for their leadership in winning the 2017 Battle of the Valleys fundraising competition against their counterparts from Grand Valley State University.
In one week, the SVSU community raised $32,115 for the Mustard Seed Shelter Saginaw, which helps women and families move from homelessness to self-sufficiency.
The Board passed a resolution of congratulations during its regular meeting Monday, Oct. 30.
In other action, the Board:
Saginaw Valley State University is poised to accelerate improvement in student retention and graduation rates after receiving a $3 million, five-year Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Only seven universities in the nation were selected to receive funding.
“We were chosen through a highly competitive process,” said Donald Bachand, SVSU president. “I really appreciate the efforts of this dedicated team that developed our application. It is gratifying to see their hard work rewarded.
“Our students are the real winners here, because the increased services we will be able to provide them will have very real results. We will deliver improved resources for more students to meet their math requirements. We will increase the number of scholarships we are able to provide. We will implement a summer transition program to help arriving freshmen. All of this will support the academic success of our determined students and help them complete degrees more quickly.
“Having more students graduate in a timely fashion is good for them; it’s good for us; it’s good for the state, and it’s good for the employers that hire our graduates.”
SVSU’s retention rate has risen for seven consecutive years to 74.4 percent this fall, an increase from 68 percent in 2011. Higher retention rates generally result in higher graduation rates in future years.
Internal data shows that SVSU students who utilize available resources such as the tutoring services in the Center for Academic Achievement report higher grades and are more likely to remain enrolled. Grant funds will be used to strengthen existing programs and add new initiatives in targeted areas.
The five-year award will provide funding in five key areas:
• Updating courses and offering supplemental instruction and embedded tutoring for students who need support to be successful in college-level math. This will promote effective teaching and learning designed to increase student retention.
• Developing online educational materials to reduce textbook costs in general education courses. Funding will also support an instructional designer and internal grants to implement innovative curriculum in basic skills and general education.
• Hiring a transition coordinator to serve incoming freshmen and hosting a four-day summer bridge program for cohorts of students to aid their transition to college. Such programs have been shown to improve student success.
• Using technology to create a student analytics and business intelligence framework to improve student services and communication, including individualized targeted student notification to increase student retention and success rates for all students.
• Expanding scholarship opportunities for students. The grant provides $600,000 that will be matched through private donations to the SVSU Foundation to establish a $1.2 million endowment to award scholarships to students as a retention tool to help offset their financial burden.
The funds come from the U.S. Department of Education’s Strengthening Institutions Program, which provides grants to eligible institutions to help them become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the institution's academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability.
Saginaw Valley State University music education majors Katie Mueller and Shane Billingsley, who are both Saginaw natives, will perform the clarinet in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. for their senior recital.
Mueller is in her fifth and final year at SVSU, where she has been awarded the Rhea Miller Scholarship for her exceptional clarinet performance abilities. Mueller has spent the last two summers as a counselor at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. This semester, she is interning with the Saginaw Bay Youth Orchestra. In the past, this musician has won SVSU's first Concerto Competition. She will also play with SVSU's wind ensemble during the first movement of Weber's concerto this fall.
Billingsley is finishing up his music education degree at SVSU. In his five years attending the university, he has participated in the marching band, wind ensemble, and concert band. In 2014, Billingsley was awarded the Distinctive Scholarship in Music, which is awarded to students who bring distinction to the music department by performing exceptionally onstage and in the classroom.
Their recital will include alternating solo performances from each student, as well as one duet to close the show. Mueller will feature works from famous composers Francis Poulenc, Wilson Osborne, and Carl Maria Von Weber. Billingsley will perform pieces from woodwind composer Camille Saint-Saëns and clarinetist Bêla Kovâc. The two students will perform a Mozart piece for their duet.
Admission for this recital is free of charge. For more information about this recital, please visit svsu.edu/music or call 989-964-4159.
A 17th century "massacre" that impacted European relations and shaped global influences will be the focus of a lecture at Saginaw Valley State University Monday, Oct. 30, at 4:30 p.m. in Founders Hall.
As part of SVSU's Barstow Lecture as well as the Visiting Scholars and Artists series, Alison Games will deliver her address, titled "The Invention and Legacy of the Amboyna Massacre." The event is free and open to the public.
Games is the Dorothy M. Brown Distinguished Professor of History at Georgetown University. Games teaches courses on topics including early America, the Atlantic world and European expansion, and global interaction.
The title of her Monday address refers to the execution in 1623 of 20 men involved in the English East India Company by Dutch representatives on the island of Amboina, now known as Ambon Island in the Maluku Islands of Indonesia.
When merchants with the British East India Company became interested in Amboina's commerce, it escalated tensions between the traders and their rivals at the Dutch East India Company. On accusations of treason, a Dutch governor on the island ordered the torture and execution of the men associated with the British East India Company. Historians say the executions impacted where each nation concentrated its influence globally for generations.
Games authored three books, including texts that explore those centuries-old global influences. "The Web of Empire: English Cosmopolitans in an Age of Expansion, 1560-1660" was published in 2009. "Migration and the Origins of the English Atlantic World" was published in 2001.
Games also participated in fellowships with the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Huntington Library, and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study.
The Barstow Excellence in Teaching Humanities Seminar at SVSU was created to promote excellence in teaching and recognize scholarship in the humanities. The seminar was established through a gift from The Barstow Foundation, which supports education, health and human services agencies and humanitarian causes with emphasis on the greater Midland area.
Award-winning violinist Hal Grossman will perform in concert at Saginaw Valley State University on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall as part of SVSU’s Rhea Miller Concert Series.
Critics have praised Grossman’s "vibrant tone" and "superb technique." He is a first prize award winner for International Cleveland Quartet Competition and the National Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.
Grossman's debut performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City received high praise from a review in The New York Times. The violinist was also invited to play for Prince Charles and Princess Diana in a CBC television and radio broadcast. He has appeared on stages throughout North America and Europe, where he has held the position of concertmaster in five orchestras.
In addition to performing, Grossman has also spent time teaching violin at the University of Miami, the University of Oklahoma, and the Interlochen Arts Academy. He is the founder and creator of “The Grossman Method,” pedagogy that incorporates stretches in young violinists to promote healthy string playing.
Accompanying Grossman on stage at SVSU will be Norman Boehm. Specializing in music from the 19th and 20th centuries, this skilled pianist has performed in numerous single-composer recitals. Boehm composes his own work and arranges larger symphonic works for chamber ensembles, as well.
The Rhea Miller Concert Series is made possible by a generous gift from Rhea E. Miller, a longtime friend of SVSU. Her gift, administered by the Miller Trust for Music Education, has provided the university with the opportunity to offer outstanding performances by nationally and internationally acclaimed musical artists at no cost to the audience since 1993. For more information, call (989) 964-4159 or email email@example.com.
On Friday, Oct. 27, Saginaw Valley State University will showcase the talents of two musicians with experience performing in venues across the nation. The recital, taking place at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall, is free and open to the public.
The concert will feature flutist Townes Osborn Miller, associate professor of music at Mott Community College and a flute instructor at SVSU; and pianist Carl Angelo, director of music and fine arts at First Presbyterian Church in Flint and a former SVSU faculty member.
Miller is an active performer in the Flint and Saginaw areas while also making appearances with North Carolina's St. Matthias Chamber Orchestra, Tennessee's Oak Ridge Civic Music Association Guild and the Kansas City Flute Choir. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Kansas School of Music.
Angelo performed across the United States as both a soloist and a collaborative musician, served as the pianist for the Saginaw Choral Society, and conducted several clinics for the American Guild of Organists. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Indiana University.
The concert will feature selections from the 18th to the 20th century, including music by composers Franz Schubert, Claude Debussy, Paul Hindemith and Francis Poulenc.
For more information, please contact the SVSU Department of Music at (989) 964-4159 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saginaw Valley State University is hosting the C of IDEAS Summit 2017: Enhancing Lives, Creating Community Saturday, Nov. 4, starting at 9 a.m. in Gilbertson Hall. The focus of the summit is to advance interdisciplinary education and develop solutions that enhance the quality of life of individuals with disabilities.
The day will include a presentation on motivation from nationally recognized speaker Richard Lavoie, author of the book “The Motivation Breakthrough: Turning on the Tuned-Out Child.” He has delivered keynote addresses for the Learning Disabilities Association, Council for Exceptional Children, and Children with Attention Deficit Disorder.
The C of IDEAS is a collaboration with SVSU and community partners including individuals with disabilities and family members, educators, and community organization representatives from Arenac, Bay, Genesee, Midland, and Saginaw counties. Presenters will cover topics including evidence-based strategies, policy and practice, post-secondary education opportunities, assistive technology, working with agencies, and more.
Lavoie comes to SVSU as a Dow Visiting Scholar; he will begin the day with a presentation in the Ott Auditorium based on his book. This discussion will begin by describing the common misconceptions surrounding motivation and ineffective strategies and practices currently used to motivate children, such as competition, reward systems, and punishment. Then, Lavoie will outline specific approaches that focus on motivation strategies designed to inspire children to reach their fullest potential.
The day also will feature a lunch presentation from SVSU student Luke Drumright, who has Down’s Syndrome. He will outline his SVSU story and how the university has welcomed and supported students like him. Ted Lind, SVSU associate director of admissions, and Erin VanHavel, an SVSU student and peer mentor, have worked closely with Drumright during his time at SVSU and will help tell his story.
For a more information on the conference, including details on the breakout sessions, please visit http://www.svsu.edu/cofideas/ and click on the conference flyer.
To register for this free community event, visit bit.ly/SVLavoie. Because the event is limited to 250 attendees, registration is only available online. You may register for Lavoie's presentation exclusively, or you can also sign-up for the presentation and the breakout sessions. No food will be provided at the event, but boxed lunches can be purchased in advance on the registration site for $12. The deadline to order a meal is Friday, Oct. 27.
Dr. Stephen R Guertin, medical director at Sparrow Regional Children’s Center and associate professor at Michigan State University’s College of Medicine, will be hosting an informative conversation about the effects of domestic violence on children at Saginaw Valley State University on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the Ott Auditorium.
Guertin will outline the long- and short-term effects of domestic violence on children. He will also explain how a child’s brain is structurally and developmentally influenced by domestic violence. Lastly, he will discuss the consequences of exposure to domestic violence during childhood on an adult’s physical, social, and mental health.
Heidi B. Lang, pre-health professions advisor at SVSU, said that even though this conversation is presented by a physician, she believes the topic is wide-reaching and extends to audiences outside of the medical field. Any and all members of the community and the university are welcome to attend this informative conversation.
To RSVP for this free community event, visit msuyourhealthlecture.com or call 616-234-2694.