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President’s Weekly Update - Week of Monday, Dec. 1

A Sad Loss

Student-led candlelight vigil as photographed by student Tyler Bradley.

Like many of you, I was saddened to learn of the passing of our student Seth Thomas.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. As we await more information from the medical examiner, please do everything you can to show support and compassion for other students who are struggling in light of this. The performance of our colleagues in Residential Life, Student Counseling and University Police during this difficult time has been exemplary, and Seth’s family has expressed appreciation for the support they have received from SVSU.

Exams Ahead

There is never a good time to cope with the loss of a student, but we know this is an especially stressful time for students as we head into final exams.  You can feel the academic intensity in the air. We must set high expectations for our students, but we should also exercise appropriate understanding to their challenges. If you see or suspect a student is not handling these pressures well, I hope you’ll talk to him or her. A word from a faculty of staff member often goes a long way.

Students Showcase Their Learning

The end of the semester also provides students with many opportunities to share with us their talents and expertise. Music and theatre students have performed concluding concerts and plays, and those continue with “A Christmas Carol: A 1940's Radio Show” at 7:30 Wednesday and Thursday. We have a reception for our graduating fine arts students in the University Art Gallery from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, and music students will perform works of opera Friday at 12:30 p.m. in SVSU's Founders Hall.

We also have a poster session for students in Honors 292 from 9 to 10 a.m. Friday in Brown Concourse and a poster session for senior engineering students from 10 a.m. to noon in Pioneer Hall. These are a few such events I’m aware of; I’m sure there are others. Support our students by attending those you can, as your busy end-of-the-semester schedule allows.

Congratulations to Braun Fellows

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I would like to extend my congratulations to the latest recipients of the Braun Fellowship: Peter Brian Barry, associate professor of philosophy, and Sara Beth Keough, associate professor of geography. Both have a strong record of scholarship that will only grow through their forthcoming research. Their work will serve to further enhance our academic standing among our peers, while also enriching what our students learn from them. Also, a word of thanks to Ted and Ruth Braun and to all of our donors – including many of you – who have supported our university financially. Such gifts have a lasting effect.

Congratulations to Women’s Basketball Team

Recent weeks here have been unseasonably chilly, but nothing like Fairbanks, Alaska. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, our women’s basketball team traveled to Seward’s Ice Box and won all three games to capture the 2014 North Star Invitational. My best wishes to them and to all our winter sports programs as they have begun their seasons.

Finish Strong

The end of another semester and another calendar year is in sight. Please continue to put forth your best efforts on behalf of our students in the weeks that remain as we look ahead to a well-deserved and extended holiday break.