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October 13, 2016

SVSU to host third annual Alumni Authors Showcase

Saginaw Valley State University will host its third annual Alumni Authors Showcase Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 4 p.m. The event, scheduled in Curtiss Hall Banquet Room A, will feature a panel of four SVSU alumni authors followed by a book signing at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Featured panelists include Jill Bellestri, Dennis Hensley, Joe Hickey and Roberta Morey.

The books cover a range of topics and genres including young adult fantasy, mystery and suspense, historical nonfiction and inspirational fiction. They will be available for purchase at the event, as well as in the SVSU Bookstore preceding the event and afterward, while supplies last. Authors will also be available for a meet and greet before and after the panel session.

Bellestri was one of several authors to contribute to “The Thinking Mom’s Revolution: Autism Beyond The Spectrum,” a true story about a group of people connected through their parenting of children with disabilities. Bellestri earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from SVSU in 1994.

Hensley was the co-author with Diana Savage of “Pseudonym,” a mystery about a prospective author’s attempts at becoming published, and the twists and turns she experienced along the way. Hensley earned a bachelor's degree from SVSU in 1969.

Hickey is the author of the “Secret Seekers Society” series, which follows the fictional account of two orphans who become monster hunters. Hickey earned a bachelor's degree in creative writing from SVSU in 2004.

Morey was the author of “Saginaw: Labor and Leisure,” which examines real-life businesses and personalities from Saginaw’s early history. Morey graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1981.

The Alumni Authors Showcase is part of SVSU's celebration of the National Day of Writing. The event is sponsored by SVSU's Forever Red, Alumni Relations and University Writing Committee groups.

For more information about the event, contact Bryan Crainer at (989) 964-4091 or Ashley Youngstrom at (989) 964-4196.

October 13, 2016

Former SVSU president, constitutional scholar to discuss U.S. Supreme Court, politics at Oct. 19 lecture

“The Empty Ninth Chair: Politics and the Supreme Court” will be the subject of Saginaw Valley State University’s 2016 James E. O’Neill Jr. Lecture.

Eric R. Gilbertson, SVSU’s retired president and current executive-in-residence, will discuss the topic Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. The event is free and open to the public.

Gilbertson will discuss the closely divided court, the conflicting judicial philosophies and political backgrounds of the justices that create the divisions. The presentation will examine key issues that illustrate those divisions such as abortion, campaign financing, same-sex marriage and gun control. Gilbertson also will focus on the backgrounds of the judges, the nomination and confirmation process over time, and the court’s period of transition.

Currently teaching SVSU courses in administrative science and constitutional law, Gilbertson formerly served as legal counsel to the Ohio Board of Regents. He completed a bachelor's degree at Blufton College, a master’s degree in economics at Ohio University and a law degree from Cleveland State University; he also has received honorary degrees from the University of Mysore in India and Ming Chuan University in Taiwan.

The James E. O’Neill Jr. Memorial Lecture Series was established in 2003 to honor the late Saginaw educator, legislator and community servant. Co-sponsored by SVSU and the Field Neurosciences Institute of Saginaw, the series is intended to dynamically reflect O’Neill’s passion for excellence in government, education and the neurosciences, and to provide opportunities for people to learn about public service from individuals who have unselfishly contributed to the betterment of the human condition.

Gilbertson’s appearance also is part of SVSU’s 2016-17 Visiting Scholars and Artists Series. The series will run during both the fall and winter semesters and is part of SVSU’s community-minded mission to bring leading scholars to campus and share their insights with residents of the Great Lakes Bay Region.

October 13, 2016

SVSU faculty and students recognized for empowering research

Saginaw Valley State University students and faculty showcased community-based health-related research projects to representatives from private foundations at the University of Michigan’s “Big House.”

The Council of Michigan Foundations held their 44th annual conference in Ypsilanti for approximately 450 trustees and staff of Michigan foundations September 18-20.

SVSU was among eight universities across Michigan invited to present. The group from SVSU presented information regarding four projects: community needs assessments given to the Midland and Saginaw communities, an intervention focusing on physical activity and dietary behaviors among older adults, a physical activity and dietary intervention focusing on healthy weight gain in pregnant women, as well as an Exercise is Medicine on Campus project at SVSU.

SVSU faculty members provided support and guidance, and students gained valuable experience with key components to the studies.

“The students play a critical role in all of the projects,” said Meghan Baruth, SVSU assistant professor of health science. “They recruit participants, conduct measurements, help run the interventions. They are very involved in all aspects.”

The group from SVSU attended one of the breakout sessions from the conference, a showcase on the evening of Monday, Sept. 19. The event was located in the Roth Clubhouse of the University of Michigan football stadium.

Along with Baruth, four undergraduate students and two faculty members involved with the research presentations:

•    Ashley Boggs, an exercise science major from Linden
•    Brenna Dressler, a health sciences major from Saginaw
•    Holly Simon, an exercise science major from Lyons
•    Jessica Walker, a biology major from Freeland
•    Samantha Deere, assistant professor of kinesiology
•    Becca Schlaff, assistant professor of kinesiology

Not only does the practical research provide students with invaluable experience that will help prepare them for graduate school and their careers, but they help induce real-life change in the communities where the research is conducted, Baruth said.

“The projects are allowing the students to apply what they’re learning in the classroom to a real-life setting, and also teaching them how to work with communities and people,” she said. “It’s allowing them to learn many new skills that will benefit them not only in their graduate studies and careers, but as a person as well.”

The Council of Michigan Foundations is an organization comprised of dedicated philanthropists that advocate for the communities they serve, provide learning opportunities for members, and connect local, global and governmental leaders for the collection of resources to support the region.

“SVSU looks forward to opportunities like this to present our student and faculty research to the public,” said Andy Bethune, executive director of the SVSU Foundation. “We were honored to participate and it was even more rewarding to see our students and faculty interact with representatives of private foundations from throughout the state of Michigan.”

The conference is the largest statewide philanthropic conference in the nation and features over 35 breakout sessions focusing on pressing philanthropic issues such as Michigan’s public school system and the Flint water crisis. The theme for the conference, “Think Boldly, Act Urgently,” aligned with SVSU’s health-based projects as students and faculty engaged in critical thinking and then took action in their communities.

For more information regarding the council and its conference, please visit

October 7, 2016

SVSU to host presentation of “Reaching for Opportunity” report

SVSU to host presentation of “Reaching for Opportunity” report
Monday, Oct. 10
Curtiss Hall, Saginaw Valley State University

Saginaw Valley State University will host presentations by John Austin, president of the Michigan State Board of Education, and Brandy Johnson, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network, Monday, Oct. 10.

Austin will share key findings of the Reaching for Opportunity report, which details that Michigan will need 779,000 more citizens with education beyond high school by 2025 to meet the needs of state employers. This will require increasing the proportion of the population with degrees and credentials from its current 46 percent to 60 percent. Current projections call for an additional 232,000 individuals with bachelor’s degrees and an additional 45,000 with graduate degrees over the next decade.

Johnson will share data specific to the Michigan’s Prosperity Region Five, which includes Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland and Saginaw counties.  The full report can be found at

Following Austin and Johnson, several individuals will also share information on what initiatives are in place in the region to meet the region’s education and workforce needs.

The event is by invitation only; some 70 school leaders, business leaders and others have registered to attend. The presentations are open to news media.

October 6, 2016

Dark comedy ‘The Cripple of Inishmaan’ kicks off SVSU theatre season

The Saginaw Valley State University Theatre Department will stage its production of Martin McDonagh’s classic “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” beginning Wednesday, Oct. 12 in SVSU’s Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.

The play is set in 1934, when the people of Inishmaan learn Hollywood director Robert Flaherty is coming to the neighboring island to film his documentary “Man of Aran.” No one is more excited than Cripple Billy, an unloved boy whose chief occupation had been gazing at cows and yearning for a girl who wants no part of him. For Billy is determined to cross the sea and audition for the Yank. And as news of his audacity ripples through his rumor-starved community, “The Cripple of Inishmaan” becomes a merciless portrayal of a world so comically cramped and mean-spirited that hope is an affront to its order.

“It’s a very dark comedy; it pokes fun at certain things we wouldn’t normally laugh at,” said David Rzeszutek, SVSU associate professor of theatre and the production’s director.

The audience can expect to relate to the characters in unexpected ways.

“Often times, it’s the darker side of us that we don’t want to share with everybody else,” Rzeszutek said.

Rzeszutek said he is very excited about the challenges that the students have been embracing.

“The greatest challenge for the actors is the use of the Irish dialect,” he said. “For the first time in our department, we have a dialect coach to assist the students.”

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12 through Saturday, Oct. 15; on Sunday, Oct. 16, there will be a matinee performance at 3 p.m. Tickets are $13 for general admission, and $10 for students and seniors. “The Cripple of Inishmaan” features mature language. For more information please contact the SVSU box office at (989) 964-4261.

The production is the first of three plays planned for the fall semester at SVSU. “A Raisin In The Sun” is scheduled for November and “Christmas of Yesteryear: 1940’s Radio Variety Show” is planned for November and December.

October 6, 2016

SVSU Wind Ensemble in concert Oct. 13

Saginaw Valley State University's Wind Ensemble will perform in concert Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in SVSU's Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Norman Wika, SVSU assistant professor of music and director of bands, will conduct the ensemble of 29 students. This is Wika’s first year as director, as he replaces Bill Wollner, who retired in May after serving in that role for 34 years.

The concert will feature selections including “Shepard’s Hey” by Percy Grainer, “Give Us This Day” by David Maslanka, and “The Fairest of the Fair” by John Philip Sousa.

For more information, contact Wika at or the SVSU Department of Music at 989-964-4159.

October 6, 2016

SVSU hosts reading by decorated poet Marcus Wicker

Saginaw Valley State University will host decorated poet Marcus Wicker on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 5 p.m. in SVSU’s Founders Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Wicker’s poems have appeared in The Nation, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Oxford American, and Boston Review. His second book, “Silencer,” is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017.

Wicker is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, The Missouri Review’s Miller Audio Prize, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem and The Fine Arts Work Center. His previous collection “Maybe the Saddest Thing,” a National Poetry Series winner, was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award.

Born in Ann Arbor and a Michigan native, Wicker is the poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review and serves as director of the New Harmony Writers Workshop. He is an assistant professor of English at the University of Southern Indiana.

This event is sponsored by SVSU’s Voices in the Valley Reading Series. For more information, contact Arra Ross, SVSU associate professor of English, at (989) 964-4032.

October 4, 2016

SVSU employment, networking fair planned for Friday

Saginaw Valley State University will host a university-wide Employment and Networking Fair to show support for students, alumni, and employers from the Great Lakes Bay Region and beyond. The event is open to the public and will take place Friday, Oct. 7, from noon to 3 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall banquet and seminar rooms on SVSU's campus.

With more than 120 businesses and organizations participating, job seekers looking for full-time or part-time employment, co-ops or internships will have the opportunity to meet with employers from all industry sectors.

Event sponsors include Aerotek, Amigo Mobility, Birch Run Premium Outlets, Morley Companies, Nexteer Automotive, Rehmann, Saginaw Bay Underwriters, Walmart and Verizon Wireless.

Engaging with prospective employees face to face is important to employers. Among employers who participated in one or more SVSU job fair last year, 84 percent reported that they followed up with at least one candidate, and 57 percent made a job offer to at least one candidate they met at a fair.

A full list of employers for Friday’s event can be found at

All candidates seeking employment should dress professionally and have a resume on hand so employers may view it upon request.

As an added benefit, all attendees will be provided with the opportunity to have a free portrait photo taken for their LinkedIn profile during the Employment and Networking Fair, courtesy of Dynamic Focus Photography.

Students and alumni who RSVP through Cardinal Career Network will receive a printed nametag and they will also be the first admitted into the event. More information on how to pre-register can be found at

September 29, 2016

Saginaw NAACP honors SVSU alumni, faculty, staff

The Saginaw branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People honored several members of Saginaw Valley State University’s faculty, staff and alumni.

At the organization’s 46th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet Sunday, Sept. 25 at Saginaw Township’s Horizons Conference Center, the Saginaw branch of the NAACP honored 16 individuals for the 2016 Achievement Recognition Awards. The honor highlights individuals for outstanding career and professional achievements, as well as their contributions to others in support of social justice and equality.

Of the 16 people honored, nine had SVSU ties. Among the alumni recipients were:
•    Lawrence Crawford Jr., of Diversity Vuteq
•    Smriti Pant, a nurse practitioner at Saginaw-based Health Delivery, Inc.
•    Christopher and Kenyatta Pryor, of Saginaw-based Victorious Believers Ministries
•    Myiesha Smith, of Nexteer Automotive
•    Samuel Tilmon, regional sales manager at Saginaw-based Duro-Last Roofing
•    Manvel Trice III, recently appointed as a Saginaw County 70th District Court judge

Recipient Eddie Jones is both an alumnus and a staff member; he serves as director of SVSU’s Student Counseling Center.

Ken Jolly, SVSU professor of history, also received the award.

September 28, 2016

SVSU lecture series lineup includes Supreme Court politics, future of science

Saginaw Valley State University is hosting several thought-provoking speakers for this year's Visiting Scholars and Artists Series. The series will run during both the fall and winter semesters and is part of SVSU’s community-minded mission to bring leading scholars to campus and share their insights with residents of the Great Lakes Bay Region.

The fall portion of the series will feature eight speakers covering a range of topics from the making of a writer to the mystery of Civil War London. With a retired SVSU president and a highly acclaimed physicist among the lineup, featured speakers will discuss politics within the Supreme Court, the revolutionary science of medicine and the need for inclusivity on college campuses and elsewhere.

All lectures are open to the public and admission is free of charge.

Fall speakers for the series include:

•    Mamie T. Thorns, SVSU special assistant to the president for diversity programs, will lecture on the topic of “Civility, Inclusivity and Equity on Campus and Beyond.” In her role, she has provided leadership and coordination for SVSU's programs related to diversity, equal opportunity and affirmative action. Having more than 30 years of teaching and administrative experience in the field of higher education, Thorns was the recipient of the 2013 YWCA Women of Achievement Award. She was also recently endorsed by the Institute for Diversity Certification as a national certified diversity executive. Her presentation for SVSU’s annual Rush Lecture will be Thursday, Oct. 6 at 4 p.m. in Founders Hall.

•    Paul Chang-Ha Lim will give SVSU’s Barstow Lecture titled, “Heretical Lives Matter…Really? Policing the Boundaries of Mystery in Civil War London,” on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. in Founders Hall. Lim is an associate professor of history and religious studies as well as the history of Christianity at Vanderbilt University. His latest book, “Mystery Unveiled: The Crisis of the Trinity in Early Modern England,” was awarded the Roland H. Bainton Prize as the best book in history or theology in 2013 by the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference.  Lim earned a bachelor's degree from Yale University, a master of theology in church history from Princeton Seminary, and a Ph.D. in English religious history from Cambridge University.

•    Eric R. Gilbertson, SVSU’s retired president and current executive-in-residence, will give the James E. O'Neill Memorial Lecture Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. His topic is “The Empty Ninth Chair: Politics and the Supreme Court.” Currently teaching SVSU courses in administrative science and constitutional law, Gilbertson formerly served as legal counsel to the Ohio Board of Regents. He completed a bachelor's degree at Blufton College, a master’s degree in economics at Ohio University and a law degree from Cleveland State University; he also has received honorary degrees from the University of Mysore in India and Ming Chuan University in Taiwan.

•    Carlos Ojeda Jr., a former college administrator, is focused on teaching students across the country that their voices can be powerful. His passion for motivating others pushed him to start the organization CoolSpeak: The Youth Engagement Company. Providing youth motivational speakers, the organization includes programs and events that are specifically designed to give students the opportunity to engage while both educating and empowering them. Ojeda will speak Friday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. in Hamilton Gymnasium.

•    Physicist Michio Kaku will examine “The Next 20 Years, How Science Will Revolutionize Medicine, the Economy and Our Way of Life” during SVSU’s Edwards Lecture in Philosophy and Religion Monday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. As the co-founder of string field theory and a professor of physics at the City University of New York, Kaku has written several books about the future of physics including "Hyperspace" and "Physics of the Impossible." His visit is part of the Dow Visiting Scholar program. The lecture will take place in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.

•    Samrat Upadhyay is a professor of humanities at Indiana University. He has written several books including the short story collection “Arresting God in Kathmandu.” The book won a Whiting Writers' Award as well as a pick for the 2001 Barnes & Noble Discover Great Writers Program. Other works by Upadhyay include the acclaimed novel, “The City Son” and “Buddha's Orphans.” As part of SVSU’s Dow Visiting Scholar program, he will speak Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. His lecture is titled “Celebrating Gratitude: An Ode to the Forces that Make a Writer.”

•    Charlie Appelstein works as a youth care specialist as well as president of Appelstein Training Resources, LLC. In doing so, he provides expert strength-based training for people and groups that work with children dealing with serious emotional and behavioral issues. In dedicating the entirety of his career to this cause, Appelstein has been called “the best youth care trainer in America,” by Robert Lieberman, former president of the American Association of Children's Residential Centers. Applestein’s visit is also a part of SVSU’s Dow Visiting Scholar program; he will speak Monday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Ott Auditorium in Gilbertson Hall. His lecture is titled “Helping Kids to Be All That They Can Be-Using a Positive, Strength-Based Approach for Maximizing Children's Potential.”

•    Carolyn Woo came to the United States to attend college and completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and a Ph.D. at Purdue University. She was motivated by her life experience growing up in Hong Kong, hearing many accounts regarding the fleeing from the communist government in China as her parents had. After working as the dean of the Mendoza School of Business at Notre Dame, Woo accepted the position of CEO and president of the global humanitarian arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. She will deliver her lecture, “Working for a Better World,” Monday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts as part of the Dow Visiting Scholar program.

The Dow Visiting Scholars & Artists program at SVSU was established through an endowment from The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation to enrich our region’s cultural and intellectual opportunities.

For more information on the lectures, please contact the SVSU box office at (989) 964-4348.

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