Throughout my 37 years here, one thing has remained constant: feeling pride when a student puts his/her SVSU degree to good use. As a faculty member and administrator, nothing brings more satisfaction than when a former student returns to campus or drops a line to share their good news. Our top graduates can compete anywhere. Anywhere. They are highly-sought-after on the job market and they are earning acceptance to elite graduate and professional schools because of the high quality education they received here, and that is a testament to our fine faculty and staff. Fifteen members of the graduating class that will cross the stage this weekend are featured in a promotional campaign. Their stories are fascinating and inspiring; they are available at www.svsu.edu/weare2015/.
My thanks in advance to all the faculty and staff who will participate in this weekend’s Commencement ceremonies. It means a great deal to our students to share their special occasion with those faculty and staff who have meant so much to them. As a reminder, the ceremony for colleges of Business & Management and Health and Human Services will be Friday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m.; the ceremony for the colleges of Arts & Behavioral Sciences, Education, and Science, Engineering and Technology is Saturday, May 9 at 11 a.m.
Congratulations to our softball team, who was just a few outs away from winning the GLIAC tournament and qualifying for the NCAA tournament. The team won five consecutive elimination games to reach the championship game, only to lose 10-9 to Wayne State. A heartbreaking finish, but I was proud of how the team finished the season. Our men’s golf team is still in their season, as they compete in the NCAA super regional. Our women’s track and field team is likely to see some student-athletes qualify for nationals. Taylor Stepanski, a management major from Alpena, finished first in the 800 meters at the GLIAC championships. Her sister Paige finished just 3 seconds behind and also posted a provisional NCAA qualifying time.
Deb Huntley and I are pleased to announce that Marc Peretz will assume the role of interim dean of the College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences. He is a professor of music and past chair of the department and currently serving as associate provost for International and Advanced Studies. As you know, Carlos Ramet, professor of English and past department chair, has agreed to serve as associate dean. We also are pleased that current dean Joni Boye-Beaman has graciously accepted an interim administrative appointment in the office to provide continuity and guidance during this transitional period while also fulfilling her desire to return to the classroom. I believe this is a very strong team to lead the College. All three members of this leadership team bring a great deal of administrative and faculty experience, and I am confident that we can all look forward to a very productive time in the college!
The American Chemical Society recently recognized George Eastland, professor of chemistry, for 50 years of membership in the organization. That is not a typo: 50 years! That is a long time to memorize the periodic table. He's pictured here 25 years ago, 1990, with a paper calendar in his pocket! While scaling back his teaching load, George remains a committed faculty member and valued colleague, and I’m glad to know that the society’s Midland section will honor him at their awards banquet tonight. I always enjoy seeing honors and praise going to deserving SVSU representatives.
Speaking of which, I was pleased to attend the Bay Area Women’s Center luncheon Monday where Joni Boye-Beaman, dean of the College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences, received the group’s highest honor: the Alice and Jack Wirt Spirit of Giving Award. Joni has served on the Center’s board for a number of years and is an ardent advocate of their cause. This is another fine example of community engagement.
Teaching and learning are the heartbeat of any good university, including this one, but teaching and learning take many forms. I attended multiple Student Life awards presentations, and it is obvious that our students are learning through their extracurricular activities. Congratulations to Sigma Pi fraternity, who won the Registered Student Organization of the Year award; to Forever Red, who won the Outstanding Program award for their “Stop the Clock” event; and to Rashed Aldubayyan, who won the Impact Award, the top individual honor. My thanks, as well, to all faculty and staff who serve as advisers, formally or informally, to students and student organizations.
The move out of Wickes Hall has begun. Several of our colleagues have already taken up residence in Living Center Southwest for the summer, and the President’s Office is soon to join them. (As of today, my nameplate on the door looks pretty official.) In general, those offices on the first floor (Academic Advising, Admissions, Alumni Relations, Campus Financial Services, Financial Aid, Registrar) will remain in Wickes over the summer. The rest of us will have temporary offices in Living Center Southwest. The renovations to Wickes Hall are much needed, so the temporary inconvenience is necessary. I appreciate all of our colleagues who are assisting with the relocation and to those who have shown understanding during this disruptive period.
The generosity of our Cardinal community never ceases to amaze me, and the response to the devastating earthquake in Nepal is the latest example. We have faculty and staff leading fundraising efforts and over four thousand dollars has been collected to date. We have another group of faculty, staff and students set to depart for Nepal on a medical mission trip. Meanwhile, we are welcoming 26 new Nepalese students for the spring term, and our colleagues in International Programs and elsewhere are doing a great job making them feel welcomed and supported. If you would like to contribute, we have established a site for online donations to the American Red Cross at www.crowdrise.com/svsunepalrelief.