In case you missed me earlier this week, I was attending the national conference of the Association of Governing Boards. Five members of our governing board also attended. I can think of no greater demonstration of their commitment to this university and all of you. These are very busy people with many demands for their time and attention, but I can tell you they were highly engaged at the conference and very interested in what they can learn to better guide our university. So the next time you see a member of our Board of Control, please thank them for their service. We are truly fortunate to have such dedicated volunteers.
My congratulations to the faculty who were among the six project teams selected by the Center for Academic Innovation to receive the 2015 Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Professor awards. Each year, the Center will provide grant funding to support the work of individual tenure-track faculty or teams of faculty for academic and pedagogical innovation projects that enhance student learning. Funding is provided by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Academic Development fund. I appreciate all faculty who took the time to develop proposals that will improve the education our students receive. This year’s recipients are:
I enjoy supporting our Athletic teams – and softball is on quite a roll, keep it up! – and they deserve it, but we have more than varsity athletes representing this institution. We have 25 club sports with 320 student-athletes who compete in their chosen sports and serve as SVSU ambassadors in a number of ways. Perhaps best known is our club hockey team which enjoyed a good season with 21 wins, but they also earned a Dow Community Service award for helping to plant some 40,000 daffodils in Bay City. Our paintball team made it to the national championships earlier this month; our equestrian team has qualified for nationals for the first time and will travel to Springfield, Massachusetts later this month. We had two club wrestlers named All-Americans. Our recently-formed gymnastics squad placed third in their first competition. These programs bring students from other institutions to our campus. We have hosted the club dodgeball national championships previously (this year’s team made it to the national semifinals), and in March, we hosted the state finals in winterguard for high school and college teams, and SVSU won the collegiate division. I would like to express my appreciation to Aaron Mowen, director of campus recreation, and all of our faculty and staff who work with our club sport athletes, and to the athletes: thank you for proudly representing SVSU.
I sensed anxiety when I returned to campus, and it was more than knowing my workload after being out of the office for a few days. Final exams are next week. I trust most of you were already aware of this. Please show your support for our students wherever you can. This does not mean awarding a semester’s worth of extra credit to someone who has been absent most of the semester, but it can mean offering a word of encouragement, a listening ear, or any simple act of understanding that may help a student perform to his/her academic capabilities.
The end of the semester also brings a host of presentations. On Thursday, the Vitito Fellows and sociology students will showcase their study into alternatives to the traditional handshake in “Ban the Hand” presentations. The Science and Engineering Symposium takes place on Friday and will feature the work of 118 students. There are countless others. Seeing students beam with pride as they share what they have learned is one of the most rewarding aspects of working at a university. Please take a moment to stop by when and where you can.
Finally, a word of appreciation to our grounds crew and custodians. I have seen them hard at work preparing our campus so that it will be in impeccable condition for Commencement in a few weeks. Given the harsh winter and the ongoing construction, I know this is no small task. Thank you.