I hear these words all the time and I do my best to embrace the thoughts behind them every day. I know many of you do, too. The person most responsible for introducing this phrase into the SVSU vernacular is Merry Jo Brandimore, associate provost for Student Affairs and dean of students. For the past 33 years, she has filled this campus with her tireless energy and infectious enthusiasm, and she has inspired students and others to do likewise. Merry Jo has informed us of her plans to retire in August. We will begin the search process for her replacement soon. There will be ample opportunity to formally express our appreciation for her many contributions to SVSU. In the meantime, please join me in thanking Merry Jo for her devotion to students; I hope we all embrace her passion for making today and every day a great day to be a Cardinal.
Many students, faculty and staff join Merry Jo in sharing Red Pride, including the student group Forever Red, which provides opportunities for students to connect with peers, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. Their goal is to create well-rounded and prepared leaders as students look forward to their roles as SVSU alumni. Many of us have observed how much they contribute to the overall quality of campus life and the student experience. The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) also has noticed. They selected Forever Red as an Outstanding Student Organization for District Five, which includes Michigan and five other Midwest states. In addition, Kim Salwey, a management major from East Tawas and Forever Red president, was named as the Outstanding Student Leader. My congratulations to Kim and everyone in Forever Red on these remarkable achievements, and my best wishes to them as they move on to national consideration.
The late winter storm that arrived this week delayed the opening of SVSU Theatre’s production of “Terra Nova,” a Ted Tally play based on a real-life doomed expedition to the South Pole in the early 20th century. But, as they say, the show must go on, and director Steve Erickson, professor of theater, and the cast will be performing 7:30 p.m. shows through Saturday, as well as a 3 p.m. matinee Sunday. If you want a dramatic interpretation of how weather can be much harsher than what we experienced, or if you are simply looking for quality entertainment, I encourage you to attend.
Our vocal groups Cardinal Singers and the Concert Choir teamed up with Saginaw Choral Society to perform an outstanding joint concert, “The Valley Sings,” last Saturday. Retired Saginaw News arts reporter Janet Martineau said the following in her review: “The performance of the Vivaldi's Gloria was beyond exquisite. Absolutely gorgeous with the sound of all those voices just filling all the senses. Excellent solo work also by sopranos Rachelle Austin (an SVSU alumna) and Madalyn McHugh (a music major from Caro). A real goose bumper. The rest of the program was top notch also, in particular ‘Five Mystical Songs’ by Ralph Vaughan Williams and featuring baritone Kevin Simons (assistant professor of music). But the Vivaldi was to die for.” That is one glowing review. Heather Seaton, a music education major from Saginaw, also delivered a fine soloist performance. This event coincided with the recent appointment of an alum, Jeremiah Kraniak, as director of the Saginaw Choral Society. Our music colleagues have many concerts remaining this semester. I encourage you to attend as your schedule permits.
Congratulations to Andrew Miller, assistant professor of geography, on being selected as a RUBY award recipient by First State Bank. This honor is given to the Great Lakes Bay Region’s top professionals under age 40. Andrew does a fine job in the classroom and has drawn praise from Congressman Kildee and others for his community-minded research in Saginaw. Andrew included students in his study that showed that blight removal has contributed to a reduction in crime. Two of our alums, Bethany Alford, who works for Delta College and the U.S. Navy, and Tami Heilman-Adam, who works for Dow Corning, also are receiving RUBY awards. I extend my congratulations to them, as well.
Our students, faculty and staff cleaned up at the 2016 American Advertising Federation Great Lakes Bay Region ADDY Awards in Bay City last Friday, Feb. 19. SVSU claimed a total of 29 awards! Seven of our graphic design students earned 13 awards in the collegiate-level competition. Hallie Wright of Clio led the way, winning five awards; Andrew Robishaw of Freeland earned two; and Chris Clark of Pinconning won, as well. Each of them will have his/her entries placed in a district competition featuring 13 affiliate clubs from Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. Matthew Bailey of Bay City, Justin Bell of Troy, Jessica Clingenpeel of Port Huron, Dan Hill of Harrison, and Kelly Marshall of Saginaw, each won an award, as well, as did Tom Canale, professor of art, in the professional category. In addition, our University Communications team fared very well, claiming a total of 15 awards for their professional work. We are fortunate to have such talented students and colleagues. Congratulations to all.
My thanks to all the faculty and staff who are taking part in our first Admitted Student Showcase tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 27. We have nearly 300 prospective students who have registered to attend. These students have SVSU on their short list and this event is intended to show them why SVSU is the right fit for them. A day among our enthusiastic faculty, staff and students dedicated to their success should provide compelling reasons to choose SVSU.
Our annual Relay for Life takes place tonight, Friday, Feb. 26 at 4 p.m. and runs though the night, so feel free to stop by after attending the play or Intercultural Night. Liana and I will be taking an early shift. I hope to meet Olivia Hawley, a nursing major from South Lyon. She has an inspiring story as a cancer survivor. My thanks to our students in Colleges Against Cancer, and their adviser, Tammy Elliott, special assistant to the provost, who always do a fine job organizing this event.
Our international students contribute a great deal to our campus and surrounding community, and while recent events, such as starting a cricket club, have received much attention, one of our most longstanding events, Intercultural Night, takes place at 7 p.m. tonight, Friday, Feb. 26, in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. Our International Students Club selected “Olympics” as the theme for this year’s event, since Brazil is hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics later this year. The night will feature singing, instrumental music, dancing, skits, costumes, and cultural information from over a dozen different countries. Many of the students will be dressed according to customs of their homeland. Tickets are required, due to the limited seating. Please contact International Programs if you would like to attend.
SVSU will be hosting a legislative Higher Ed hearing next Monday, Feb. 29. Yours truly will be among the state university presidents testifying. I will share my thoughts on why state investment in higher education is so important to our Great Lakes Bay Region and our state as a whole. Many of the legislators are from other areas of Michigan, so I look forward to sharing our campus with them. Time permitting, I also plan to highlight how we are improving our state through our community engagement, our STEM partnerships, and the like. If you happen to see the legislators or their staff members, please make them feel welcome.
It was great to see our women’s basketball season close the regular season with a win over Hillsdale Thursday night to win the GLIAC North division. The men lost to Hillsdale but still won the league. Both teams will host GLIAC tournament games next Tuesday, March 1. The women enter as the no. 2 seed and will host Northwood at 6 p.m.; the men are the top seed and will play Walsh at 8 p.m. Because these are GLIAC tournament games, you must purchase tickets to attend; information should be available later today. Please visit the SVSU Athletics website for details. This is the finest combined season for our basketball programs in many years. Please support them next week if you can. Best wishes to our men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams as they compete in the GLIAC championships this weekend. We also learned this week that seven swimmers and three divers have qualified for the 2016 NCAA Championships in Indianapolis March 9-12. That is fully one-quarter of our men’s and women’s rosters. Congratulations. Go Cards!