I would like to say farewell and extend my best wishes to Perry Toyzan, who retired this week after 35 years of service working in our Graphics Center. Printed materials have changed drastically over that time period, but Perry always managed to keep pace with technological changes, and above all, he was deeply committed to ensure his clients — all of us — received the best service he and his team could deliver. Chuck Wallace, manager of maintenance operations, also just retired, after 10 years here. So many people take pride in the physical appearance of our campus and work to keep it looking nice; Chuck was a proud member of that team. We have faculty who are retiring, too, and we will recognize them this weekend at Commencement. Please join me in thanking Perry and Chuck for their dedication to SVSU. (Pictured, L to R): Jim Muladore, executive vice president for Administration & Business Affairs; Connie Schweitzer, director of Business Services and Toyzan's supervisor; Perry Toyzan, Graphics Center and Logistics Manager; Chuck Wallace, manager of maintenance operations; and Ron Portwine, associate vice president for Administration & Business Affairs and Wallace's supervisor.)
One of the values at SVSU’s core is our community engagement, and I’m happy to report the community continues to show its appreciation for the support our students, staff and faculty provide. On Tuesday, I was among a group from SVSU that had the pleasure of accepting the United Way of Saginaw County's Large Firm Hetherman Award. The recognition was given in part for the growth of our effort and our university’s first Annual United Way Pedometer Challenge that ran concurrently with the United Way Campaign.
Also recognized at the United Way of Saginaw County annual meeting on Tuesday was Meghan Baruth, assistant professor of health sciences, and the students of her My Health Program Planning and Evaluation class. They spent the winter semester partnering with United Way to perform evaluations on 11 of the programs the nonprofit funds. The goal was to help understand how effective both the programs were in meeting their goals as well as analyze how effective the United Way was in meeting the overarching goals for those programs. Meghan and her class also provided recommendations to help improve those 11 programs, meeting with representatives to discuss those details. This wasn’t simply a classroom exercise that resulted in a grade: Meghan and her students provided support for programs that already are adding tremendous value to the community.
As I hope all of you know, “we” are in the midst of enhancing our image and reputation as part of a top strategic priority. I put an emphasis on “we” because that word is the theme of a campaign that is one of the results of a year of market research, strategy and design work, and stakeholder consensus building. We are pleased to share that the first phase of our new marketing campaign debuted this week with radio ads on Pandora and regional radio stations. To add to the authenticity of the campaign, the spots feature the voices of our students. My sincere appreciation to all the students who participated. In the coming months, you will see new billboards, digital advertising and TV spots, too. What most excites us: this campaign is all about you, our students, faculty, staff and alumni. You are who continue to build our university as an institution of excellence and pride. You have helped shape SVSU into a community that welcomes all and that everyone can aspire to join. There will be many opportunities for you to assist more formally, as well as opportunities for you to learn more about the campaign.
In fact, faculty and staff should stay tuned in the coming days for an invitation to an open house next week. Our friends in UComm and The Image Group, the marketing firm helping in our efforts to strengthen the university brand, will introduce elements of this campaign and answer questions. Some interactive elements and giveaways are also planned, so the event is sure to be both informative and fun.
A delegation of 15 individuals from Ming Chuan University, our sister institution in Taiwan, are visiting this week, including President Lee. They will join us for the Commencement ceremony this Saturday, when the first four graduates of our joint master’s degree program in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language will cross the stage. Please join me in welcoming them if you see them on campus this week. In all, we have nearly 1,100 students completing degrees, and nearly 1,000 of them plan to participate in their ceremony. I look forward to seeing you at Commencement Friday evening and Saturday morning.
Congratulations to Mallory Rivard, an elementary education major from Bay City, and Mikaela Ashton, a management major from Grayling, who were each given scholarships from the American Association of University Women and its Midland Branch to attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. The conference will be held at the University of Maryland June 2-4. Both Mallory and Mikaela earned the awards with strong academic and volunteer backgrounds. It is wonderful to see our students receiving these opportunities.
Congratulations to the students in our Foundation Scholars program who received a Shining Star Award for their service to the Bay Area Women’s Center during an awards ceremony this week. Over the past three years, students in our sociology service learning class have worked on projects, making improvements to the Center’s dining room (2014), living room (2015), and residential rooms and TV area (2016). Students also performed service learning projects this year for the Midland Humane Society and Heaven's Elect Christian Learning Center and Day Care. My appreciation to Janna Kern, assistant director of our Academic Advisement Center, who works so effectively with our Foundation Scholars, and to Joni Boye-Beaman, professor of sociology and a board member for the Bay Area Women’s Center, who works to arrange these service learning opportunities.
During the academic year, we have made it a priority to bring this update to you weekly, and I know many of you have come to expect it, because I hear from you when it is missing or delayed. As we move into the summer months, we will continue to share important information with you on a regular basis as circumstances warrant, but will not be produced every week.