Our students’ determination to succeed is remarkable. They are competing against students from the top universities and outperforming them, thanks to their hard work and aptitude, and the encouragement and guidance they receive from faculty and staff. Zackary Bowers, a psychology major Gladwin, recently won the Undergraduate Student Outstanding Poster Award at the Michigan Chapter of the Society of Neuroscience. There were 180 poster presentations. Bowers credits Jeff Smith, Malcolm and Lois Field Endowed Chair of Health Sciences; and Charles Weaver, assistant professor of health sciences, for providing outstanding tutelage. Meanwhile, another student, Emily Dzurka of Bay City, departs next week for a highly coveted Research Experience for Undergraduates appointment to conduct chemistry research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison this summer. Emily has been working with Stephanie Brouet, associate professor of chemistry, and as a co-op student at Dow, which prepared her for this opportunity. My congratulations to all. Keep encouraging your students to pursue these challenges, because our students continue to show they can tackle them.
Our region’s emphasis on STEM studies continues to gain momentum in part because of the strong partnerships we have built among community stakeholders. Last summer, 16 Great Lakes Bay Region K-12 teachers were selected to participate in The Dow Corning Foundation/SVSU STEM Community Partnership, which annually pairs K-12 educators with our faculty and Dow Corning professionals as they develop strategies aimed at improving STEM learning and student attitudes toward STEM. We are hosting a symposium next Tuesday, May 31, from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in SVSU’s Curtiss Hall banquet rooms, where the teachers involved in the program will discuss the successes experienced in implementing those strategies over this past year. I encourage you to attend, as your schedule permits.
Several Board of Control members and I attended Governor Snyder’s higher education summit in Lansing this week. There are some encouraging possibilities in terms of higher education policy matters, and we will continue to work with our sister institutions, the governor, and the legislature on these.
We dedicated the George W. Eastland Golf Center in the fieldhouse this week in recognition of our Landee Award-winning esteemed professor of chemistry. The ceremony was very well attended. George is one of our longest-serving faculty members, having arrived here in 1969. Since then, he has left footprints at SVSU that have proven deep, lasting and beneficial to generations of Cardinals. He has been – and continues to be – a fine teacher, researcher and mentor to thousands of students and student-athletes. He also happens to love the game of golf. Please join me in congratulating George on this well-deserved honor.
Liana and I returned to the U.S. this week after having spent a week in Africa, visiting with our friends at our sister school, Pentecost University College in Ghana. We enjoyed tremendous hospitality, and the people of that region are very friendly and welcoming. This continues to be a good relationship for SVSU and I am pleased we were able to further strengthen that bond, as it provides opportunities for us to draw students, as well as providing opportunities for our students and faculty to study abroad.
I hope you have had occasion in recent weeks to experience the beauty of our campus this time of year. A great many people work hard to make this happen, including student employees. This week, I observed Bijaya Dhungana, a nursing major from Nepal, and Tanajia Gregory, a criminal justice major from Romulus, working to beautify the garden outside the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum. To everyone who keeps our campus in tip-top shape: thank you and keep up the good work!
Our marketing campaign continues to move forward. You may have noticed our new “We” messages on billboards and online digital advertisements recently. In another development this week, we had a film crew on campus videotaping scenes involving our students, staff, faculty, friends and alumni, both on campus and in the community. This ultimately will result in a TV commercial that will begin airing this fall. The concept calls for a fast-paced ad intended to appeal to prospective students. Many colleagues across the campus worked hard during the 12-hour days of capturing footage, as a great deal of coordination and cooperation was required to make this a success. The Image Group has worked with several higher education clients over the years, and they told us this is the best teamwork they have ever encountered on a video shoot. I’m not surprised; we embrace teamwork here. My thanks to everyone who played a role in the video production.
I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. The holiday provides an opportunity to enjoy the unofficial start of summer. As you spend time with family and friends, I hope you also take a moment to reflect on all the liberties we enjoy and to appreciate the sacrifices made by others to preserve those freedoms.