Governor Snyder recently announced two new appointments to our governing board; both are alumni in leading positions with two of Michigan’s top employers, and let me add that both are fine choices, in my opinion. Patrick McInnis is the CEO of Fathead, a wall graphics company based in Michigan, and has close ties to Dan Gilbert and the Quicken Loans team in Detroit. Vicki Rupp is the corporate service management director for The Dow Chemical Company and has an impressive record of community involvement in our Great Lakes Bay Region. If you happen to see either of them, please make them feel welcome. They replace Jeff Martin and Jerome Yantz, each of whom deserve sincere thanks for their outstanding dedication to SVSU; I am pleased and grateful that they will remain associated through their service on the SVSU Foundation Board of Directors.
Many of us have had a good week spending time with students visiting from Ming Chuan University in Taiwan and Shanghai Normal University in China. Many things we take for granted – blue skies, open spaces, wildlife – are foreign to them, just as certain aspects of their cultures are unfamiliar to us. That is the beauty of international exchange and why it is so important to our university. My thanks to everyone here and abroad who have contributed to making these visits such a success.
If you have been traveling I-75 recently, you may have noticed our new billboards. The University Communications team came up with an eye-catching design that features a recent alumna and a current student. The graduate is Jade Sobczak, a Bad Axe native who completed a degree in exercise science and is now in a graduate program for prosthetics and orthotics at Northwestern University. The student is Emerald Joiner, a music education major from nearby Arthur Hill High School in Saginaw. A member of our track and field team, Emerald has been named to the national All-Academic Team three times. We are working on new designs that will highlight community engagement.
We received good news over the weekend as Ashli Maser, a biochemistry major and aspiring oral surgeon from Au Gres, was selected as Miss Bay County. She succeeds another Cardinal, Mallory Rivard, an elementary education and early childhood major from Bay City. I am always pleased to see our students succeed in their chosen pursuits, and I know it takes a lot of courage to stand on stage and be judged.
Construction of Wickes Hall is progressing on schedule, and faculty staff who are temporarily relocated will begin returning the week of August 17. Some of the exterior renovations are taking shape, and the new plumbing, HVAC and windows will result in reduced ongoing operating costs while also creating a better environment for everyone who uses the building. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy the cozy quarters of Living Center Southwest.
I never know who I am going to run into when walking around campus this time of year. Most of our students are home for the summer, but many young people continue to come calling for summer camps in the arts, in STEM, in sports, you name it. We have captured a few of these on video. These youngsters generally seem happy to be here, and I know that doesn’t happen by accident. Many of you are involved in planning, organizing, and directing these camps, and many others are involved in guiding, cleaning, and other tasks required to ensure they have a good experience. From what I can see and from what parents are telling me, so far, so good.
Summer is going quickly. Take advantage of it!