Our students do an incredible job. I know it. You know it, and they continue to show it. The exemplary job done by Student Association President Joey Rexord and Battle of the Valleys chair Emily VanFleteren and her crew is the latest example. In one week, they raised $32,294 for the Cory Rivard Jr. Promise Foundation, a group that educates college students on preventative measures for suicide, depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. It’s a most worthy cause and it shows our students’ deep concern for others. Thanks to all the faculty and staff who supported our students. I am extremely proud of them. I hope you are too.
Though measured in goodwill and acclaim, rather than dollars and cents, the SVSU Board of Fellows Theodore Roethke Poetry & Arts Festival proved to be another profitable endeavor. The festival and associated Roethke Prize provides us with a chance to shine on the national poetry stage and to share special arts and cultural offerings across the Great Lakes Bay Region. Many faculty and staff across the campus made this a success, especially those on the Roethke committee. A number of our students had a chance to showcase their creative talents or otherwise assisted, too. My thanks to everyone who had a hand in putting together another festival of which we can be proud.
Our moot court team has quickly established a national reputation, and it will only rise after this past weekend. Two SVSU student teams qualified for nationals: Rachel Stocki (a business major from St. Clair) and Samantha Jackson (a political science major from Goodells), and Rachel Cahill (a political science major from Niagra Falls, Ontario) and Jacob Mojica (a political science major from Freeland). In the individual orator's awards, Jackson took first place and Stocki finished third. SVSU hosted the regional competition this past weekend, bringing top students and faculty from several schools to campus, as well as some 40 judges, attorneys and others from the region who scored the students’ performances. My thanks to Julie Keil, assistant professor of political science, for her fine work advising our students and organizing the competition.
It’s great for our students to have regional and national opportunities come to us, but it’s valuable for them to travel, too. This week, Jeff Smith, our Malcolm & Lois Field Endowed Chair of Health Sciences, and Charles Weaver, assistant professor of health sciences, led 12 of our neuroscience students on a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with elected officials – including U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (pictured) – to discuss the importance of supporting neuroscience research. Many of these students are directly involved in meaningful research that will serve them well in their careers. My thanks to Jeff and Charles for all the opportunities they provide to our students.
I attended the opening night performance of “Blithe Spirit,” the latest production by our theatre department. It’s a Noël Coward comedy about a writer who is haunted by the ghost of his late wife. I can’t relate... but I can attest that it’s a fine show. Ric Roberts, professor of theatre, has done a great job with the cast, and I know they’d love to see you in the audience. Shows continue each night at 7:30 through Saturday, and there is a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee, as well.
I have no doubt that many of you have completed your Cardinal Climate Survey. Your participation is appreciated. I’m sure others of you have been well-intentioned but busy. I encourage you to set aside 20 minutes or so and share your observations and opinions. We need to hear from all corners of campus in order to create the best possible environment for everyone.
We are heading into the home stretch of the fall semester. This will result in anxiety for some students – and probably some faculty and staff, if truth be told – but it has been a successful semester to date on many levels, so let’s keep up the good work and finish that way. I was reminded of this as I attended the retirement reception for our colleague Sam Sarkar, professor of economics, who has been a valued member of the College of Business and Management since he arrived in 1969 and who has remained a strong contributor to the end. This is Sam’s final semester at SVSU. Please join me in wishing him the best in his well-deserved retirement.
Our men’s soccer team exacted a measure of revenge against rival Northwood last Sunday, defeating them 5-2 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. The turn out of SVSU supporters was extraordinary. I even saw Twitter pics of Athletic Director Mike Watson shoveling snow from Northwood’s field to make sure the match would be played. The team is back in action Friday against Quincy University. They are playing in Oklahoma, and as a lifelong Lions fan, I took it as an encouraging sign that NFL Hall-of-Famer Barry Sanders was on our team’s flight. Our men’s and women's cross country teams will run in this weekend's NCAA regional in Evansville, Ind., with the women seeking to qualify for the national meet for the fourth consecutive year. My best wishes go with them in their travels. Go Cards!
Finally, you won’t get an update from me next week. At least not this official one. A few of you may get unofficial updates. Like many of you, I have much to be thankful for personally, and I think we all have much to be thankful for as a university. Liana and I hope the Thanksgiving holiday provides an opportunity for you to enjoy time with family and those who bring meaning to your life.