This week, we announced that the Foundation Resource Grants program eclipsed a major milestone in their support of students, passing the $1 million threshold in resource grants awarded to SVSU faculty and staff for special student-focused initiatives. A total of 251 projects have received funding since the program’s inception in 1998 to provide special opportunities for programs, projects, or travel that enrich our students’ learning. My thanks and congratulations to all of our colleagues who have taken the initiative to use this program for their students’ benefit, including the 10 faculty and staff whose projects were selected last fall.
My congratulations to Dave Rzeszutek, assistant professor of theatre, who last week received the Faculty Service Award from our region of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. He was the sole Michigan recipient of this honor. While it’s nice to see such recognition for one of our own, what means more to me – and I hope to all of you – is what it represents: a faculty member who goes to great lengths to ensure that our students receive an exceptional education. Keep up the good work, Dave, and everyone here who is doing similarly exemplary work. I know who you are.
I’m very pleased to welcome Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and noted thought leader on STEM education, to our campus next week. He will be the keynote speaker for the Great Lakes Bay Regional Martin Luther King, Jr. event Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. I hope you can join us.
In addition to serving as president of UMBC since 1992, Hrabowski recently was named by President Obama to chair the newly created President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He has been quite successful at advancing STEM education at his institution, especially among under-represented groups, and we hope to learn lessons that will aid our efforts in this area.
Our men's basketball team continues to impress. They are 8-0 in conference play, our best start since the 1984-85 season. I saw many of you at the faculty/staff appreciation night for last Saturday’s games against Wayne State. Thanks for your support. Both the men and the women are back in action at home this Saturday against Northwood.
Our student-athletes are winning in the classroom, too. For the fall semester, 237 student-athletes achieved a GPA of 3.0 or better and our more than 400 total student-athletes recorded a combined GPA of 3.15. An impressive 32 of them posted a 4.0 last term. My thanks to our coaches and all our Athletics staff who emphasize the importance of academics, and to all faculty and staff who push our student-athletes to succeed academically.
While the semester is still in its first week, some of our students are already looking ahead to spring break. Hard to believe, but it’s true. I thought you should have something to look forward to, as well, so I have scheduled my first State of the University address for Thursday, Feb. 26 at 4 p.m. Seriously, I’ll have just finished one year in this job by then, so I think that is a good time to provide an update of where we are and where we are headed. If there are important topics you would like me to address, please share your thoughts. This is our university and each of us must perform our roles well to provide our students with the best possible experience.
Finally, a special word of thanks to the many faculty and staff who have shown an interest in helping us recruit good students. Your efforts are greatly appreciated and are critical to our success. Please keep it up and encourage others to follow suit. We are all in this together.