On Friday, we will honor and celebrate with members of our SVSU family during the All-University Awards Banquet. It’s a ceremony celebrating our hard work and many achievements over the course of the academic year. It’s always a well-attended event, and this year is no exception. The banquet is at capacity. While we are no longer able to take additional reservations, if you sent your RSVP as planning to attend and your plans have changed, please inform us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org as a courtesy. I hope to see many of you Friday evening. For those unable to attend, we hope you are able to join us next year.
After weeks of preparation and anticipation, FIRST Robotics at SVSU became a reality last week. And what a success it was! Despite this being our first opportunity to host the statewide competition, we made a very positive impression. About 7,500 high school students and their parents were part of an unforgettable occasion. I was flattered by the sentiments from visitors such as a Robotics contestant’s mother who has attended six FIRST Robotics competitions. She counts this year’s contest as her favorite experience, praising the hospitality of our staff and volunteers, and the Ryder Center as a venue. She wrote, in part: “The abundance of volunteers gave it a 'Disney' feel — everything was over the top! From the garbage cans continually being emptied to the beautiful, clean facility — everything was wonderful.” Governor Snyder remarked that he was impressed by the 400 faculty, staff and students who volunteered. Another positive indicator: Our Admissions staff received more than 3,000 contact cards from prospective students. You also can get a sense of the great reception through this story of an attendee who plans to enroll here in the fall and this account from SVSU alumni returning to their alma mater during the event. Again, my utmost appreciation to everyone who helped to make this a success.
Let me remind you that the College of Science, Engineering and Technology will host its annual symposium and the Office of the Undergraduate Research Programs (UGRP) will present the second University-Wide SVSU Student Showcase on Friday. Our students appreciate an opportunity to share what they have learned, so I would encourage you to attend if you are able to find an opening in your schedule. You can see our students’ work on display at the SET symposium from 10 a.m. to noon, when our SET students will discuss their capstone projects during poster presentations set up in Pioneer Hall. Then, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Ott Auditorium in Gilbertson Hall, you can attend presentations for students with the Office of the Undergraduate Research Programs.
Many of our colleagues are doing fine scholarly work, and I am pleased whenever I learn our distinguished faculty are contributing to published work. Please congratulate Lee Trepanier, professor of political science, who helped edit two books recently. The first, “A Political Companion to Philip Roth,” is an examination of the 20th century writer’s work. Trepanier served as a co-editor of the piece, scheduled for release in June. He also edited a book released in March, titled “Why the Humanities Matter Today: In Defense of Liberal Education.”
I am also happy to report Eric Gardner, professor of English, recently won his second Book Prize from the Research Society of American Periodicals. He received the biennial prize for his book “Black Print Unbound: The Christian Recorder, African American Literature, and Periodical Culture.” The prize awards the best scholarly book on American periodicals published in 2015 and 2016. “Black Print Unbound” chronicles the development of the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s newspaper, The Christian Recorder, during and just after the Civil War. Congratulations, Eric.
Our Pros vs. Joes basketball fundraising competition resulted in another fun gathering for a good cause on Tuesday. For 10 years, the game has pit SVSU faculty and staff — or the “Joes” — against members of SVSU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams — or the “Pros.” Money raised during the event supports the Abou Traore Memorial Scholarships. Two international students, one from Ghana and another from Nepal, were announced at halftime as the newest recipients. Traore was a pre-med student here who died in a drowning accident in 2007. It makes me proud that we continue to honor his legacy a decade later, and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to his memorial over that time.
Congratulations to SVSU senior track & field student-athlete Taylor Stepanski, who was selected as the GLIAC Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week after her performance at the Bucknell Bison Outdoor Classic last weekend. Her time in the 1500 members automatically qualified her to represent SVSU and compete in the 2017 NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships in Bradenton, Florida next month.
A number of our teams will play home games over the next week. Our softball team has risen to No. 21 in the nation; they play a doubleheader vs. Lourdes beginning at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. The baseball team won a previously suspended game over Northwood today, before starting their regularly scheduled doubleheader; they also play two double-headers vs. Wayne State: The first starts at 1 p.m. Saturday and the second starts at noon Sunday. Go Cards!
Finally, let me wish all of you the best of luck as finals week approaches. It is a challenging stretch in all of academia — for students, faculty and staff alike — and I appreciate all the work dedicated to it. If you encounter someone who appears to be having difficulty coping with this stress, please do what you can to show them support and understanding. We have enjoyed a fine winter semester and want to finish strong.