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President’s Weekly Update - Week of Monday, September 8

Busy Weekend

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In addition to home Athletic contests, we hosted our 2nd annual 9/11 Heroes Run this past Saturday. I decided not to showcase my blazing speed and served as ceremonial starter instead. It was great to see us supporting first responders and our military, and to see so many faculty and staff participating. My thanks to Jenna Briggs, Ted Lind, Aaron Mowen and Nic Taylor for their roles in coordinating.

This run followed on the heels of a mental health summit we held on campus in conjunction with the Aleda Lutz Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Saginaw last Wednesday, Sept. 3. Some 90 people attended to discuss how our community can more effectively serve veterans, particularly those who may have mental health struggles. My thanks to Denise Berry, our director of military student affairs, for helping to host this.

I enjoyed playing in Saturday’s annual golf outing for our men’s and women’s basketball teams, too, especially meeting the young men and women who represent us on the hardwood.

 

Speech to Bay Area Chamber of Commerce

I was privileged to speak to the monthly breakfast meeting of the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Tuesday [mLive coverage] . Despite advance publicity of the featured speaker, the event drew a large crowd and I got to meet several SVSU alumni. I can tell you that these business leaders were very interested in what we are doing to adapt our academic programs to respond to student and regional needs.  At the same meeting, George Puia, our Dow Chemical Co. Centennial Chair in  Global Business, received the President’s Award for his work over the past two years to produce (with others) the Bay County Road Map to the Future. My congratulations to George and my appreciation to all of you who engage in projects aimed at advancing our region.

Collaboration with Bay County Health Dept.

In another example of collaboration with partners in Bay County, Judy Ruland and her colleagues in the College of Health and Human Services are working with the Bay County Health Department to establish a nurse-led interprofessional clinic providing primary care treatment to underserved patients - including veterans - who have multiple health conditions and barriers to health care. Expected to open in January, the clinic is funded by a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the grant also will support training for our students and faculty, as well as Health Department professionals. [mLive coverage]

Enrollment Dip Expected

Final numbers are in and we have 9,829 students taking classes this semester, down from 10,245 a year ago. This is a bit below where we want to be, and work on recruiting for next year begins now – for all of us – but credit hours were down less than headcount, so we are within our budget projections. I’m pleased to report that our entering freshman class is our best ever in terms of their high school GPA and ACT scores, and we saw improvements in growing and diversifying our international student enrollment, too. 

You never know where today’s students may end up tomorrow. This week, I heard from Cameron Thorp, who is working as a production intern at a theater in Juneau, Alaska. He found me on Twitter. You can follow me; my handle is @SVSUPrez.

College of Business Hosting Sustainability Conference This Month

Our College of Business and Management, in partnership with Shri Ram College of Commerce-University of Delhi, India, is hosting a conference on global business sustainability. This will bring many academics and business leaders to our campus, and is an opportunity to highlight our faculty and the fine programs we offer. My thanks to Amy Hendrickson, in her second year as an assistant professor of law, for her role in helping to coordinate the conference. I always like to hear of young faculty stepping up to opportunities such as this.

Saints, Sinners and Shenanigans

The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum is preparing for its annual gala and tickets are still available. The theme this year is Saints, Sinners and Shenanigans and should bring out the Irish in all of us. The event is Friday, Sept. 26. It’s always a fun evening; I hope you’ll consider attending.