A new freshman class is set to move into their residence halls next week, and a number of student-athletes, resident assistants and others already have settled in for the year. Their accommodations are judged to be the best in Michigan and No. 26 nationally, according to rankings released this week by the website Niche. They used a weighted formula where 70 percent of a school’s score came from students’ satisfaction with their housing (cost, capacity and safety were the other factors), and our students reported very high levels of satisfaction. That is a tribute to our colleagues in Campus Facilities, Housing, Residential Life, University Police and across campus who ensure our students have a positive experience. This is a well-timed and well-deserved recognition. Keep up the good work, and let’s set our sights on claiming No. 1 in the nation next year.
As our students prepare to move into their new quarters, I’m pleased to report that I – along with many colleagues from the second and third floors – returned to Wickes Hall this week after a pleasant summer in the comforts of Living Center Southwest. Many of us still have unpacking to do, but the move has gone reasonably well. As I observed our locksmith, Jon Essex, working furiously to install locks for those of us returning, it occurred to me how many people played a role in seeing that our summer relocation went smoothly, and how quickly they had to work to move us in – and out. There are too many colleagues involved to list you all, but each of you has my utmost appreciation.
At least one person housed in Living Center Southwest will be making return trips to his summer stomping grounds. Andy Bethune, executive director of the SVSU Foundation, had his temporary office in Suite 2102, and next Wednesday, his daughter Mackenzie will be moving into not only the same suite, but the exact same room where her dad spent the summer. I’m told the room assignment was a complete coincidence, though I’m not sure I buy it. I am pleased to see a second generation Cardinal enrolling this fall; Mackenzie already has joined the Wolohan Fellowship in Leadership and Service, a program for students from Saginaw County. She has her sights set on a professional career in the publishing industry. I wish her well, as I do all of our new and returning students who come back to campus with dreams and aspirations we can help them achieve. The beginning of a new academic calendar is a special time of year, and I hope you will join me in making all our students feel welcome.
Staying with the family theme, it was a happy weekend for the Hart family, as Allen Hart (pictured, right) celebrated a big win on the NASCAR circuit. Allen is the race engineer for JR Motorsports and driver Regan Smith (pictured, left), who won the Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 race in Ohio last weekend. An SVSU alum and key contributor to our Cardinal Formula Racing program as a student, Allen also is the son of Bruce Hart, manager of our Independent Testing Lab. Victories in athletics are obvious, but I know our graduates are “winning” in all manner of careers. Jim Dwyer, executive director of alumni relations, needs more to do, so please encourage alumni to share their success stories with him at firstname.lastname@example.org. [photo courtesy of NASCAR & JR Motorsports]
Jerome Yantz has done a great deal for our university. And he’s not done yet. After completing 16 years of service on our Board of Control in July, I am pleased to report that Jerome has accepted an appointment as executive development officer for the SVSU Foundation. His primary responsibility is to actively cultivate and solicit donor support, particularly in Bay County. As a volunteer, he played a leadership role in four major fundraising campaigns that helped raise more than $73 million. Please join me in thanking Jerome for his continued service to SVSU.
I would like to extend my best wishes to Ron Trepkowski, chief of police, in his upcoming and long-planned retirement. Several months ago, he had informed us of his desire to retire at the end of the calendar year. University Police have received much attention recently, and Ron’s leadership and steady demeanor have been valuable during this period, as they have been throughout his time as chief and his lengthy career here. He plans to remain in the area and spend more time with his children and grandchildren. We are fortunate to enjoy a safe campus, and that does not happen by accident. If you see Ron over the next few months, please thank him for his very fine service over the past 36 years; I will be doing the same.
Another academic year is almost upon us. Whether the students you encounter are from around the block or around the world, I hope you will take the time to meet them and let them know what it means to be a Cardinal. If you see them going astray, offer them a helping hand to get back on track. One small gesture of support and encouragement often goes a long way. I hope this admonition does not dissuade you from attending my orientation remarks next Thursday, Aug. 27. The introduction of new faculty and staff will begin at 4 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. As an enticement for listening to yours truly, you and your family are invited to the traditional Welcome Back Picnic that follows. Liana and I hope to see you there.