On Tuesday, several of us had the pleasure of visiting a number of our alumni who work at The Dow Chemical Company. They have formed an affinity group of SVSU alumni. About 30 of them were able to gather Tuesday, and hundreds more proudly represent SVSU at the company. Special thanks to Vicki Rupp of our Board of Control, an SVSU alumna who recently retired from Dow and played a key role in making this happen. Mary Draves, also an SVSU alum and member of our Foundation Board, was another key planner. This Dow gathering came a few days after our Cardinals Come Home event on campus last Saturday, where we re-introduced our institution to a number of alumni doing great things in the world. Strengthening our university’s ties with our alumni is an important initiative in our effort to build a robust family of SVSU ambassadors, and gatherings such as these demonstrate that we are succeeding.
On Wednesday, Steve Hocquard, assistant vice president of facilities planning and construction, and I were given the opportunity to address legislators in Lansing, offering testimony regarding our capital outlay request. Specifically, we advocated for state support for our planned expansion and renovation project that will allow us to offer a new home for the College of Business & Management. This is an important initiative that will impact everything from our students’ education to the region’s economic well-being.
Congratulations to recent graduate Tory Thompson who was honored by The American Association of Teachers of French as a recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Senior in French Award. Students are nominated for the award by faculty members based on academic excellence and an exceptional commitment to the study of French. I am proud to call Tory a member of our alumni family, and our best wishes to him as he pursues graduate school.
Two groups of students this month demonstrated why SVSU is so exceptional in its dedication to community engagement. One group — students and staff from Residential Life — traveled to Washington, D.C. and performed volunteer activities with seven different organizations, focused largely on helping the homeless population there. A second group traveled to Hawaii to help Habitat for Humanity through our Alternative Breaks program. I want to thank all of the students, staff and faculty who work so hard to help so many communities in need.
Congratulations to our Cardinal Formula Racing team on another successful performance in the annual Formula Society of Automotive Engineers Collegiate Design Series at Michigan International Speedway. Our team placed No. 45 overall, and sixth in the world in the acceleration category. For the third consecutive year, the team was the top-performing team among institutions exclusively featuring undergraduate students. Each year, our student engineers compete against peers from some of the top engineering institutions across the world, and consistently perform well. This is a testament to the determination of our students, staff and faculty, including the team’s longtime advisor, Brooks Byam.
If you have not done so already, I would recommend visiting the University Art Gallery for the 12th Annual Student Show, which kicked off Monday. The gallery will display artwork from 56 students, who submitted over 100 pieces of art. A reception for the show is planned for Thursday, May 25, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Our student artists are exceptionally talented, and this exhibition is a great showcase for that talent.
Our student athletes continue to excel in their spring seasons. The track and field team will send six students to the 2017 NCAA Division II Outdoor National Championships next week in Bradenton, Florida. Those competing include Sam Black, Tom Goforth, Ryan Kelly, Joey Southgate, and Jullane Walker in the men’s competition and Taylor Stepanski in the women’s competition. Best wishes to them in their events next week.
The women’s softball team on Saturday ended an outstanding season, ranked No. 22 nationally. The team advanced all the way to the finals of the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional, finishing with a 37-16 overall record. This was the best record for the program since 2011, when the Cardinals advanced to the NCAA Division II World Series. Also, this week three players earned Division II Conference Commissioners Association All-Midwest Region honors. Courtney Reeves was selected to the All-Midwest Region First Team, while Meredith Rousse and Samantha Willman earned Second Team All-Midwest Region honors.
We also learned that women’s tennis player Danielle Slonac was selected as the ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award winner for the Midwest Region. Danielle displays incredible leadership, both on the tennis courts, where she had 12-3 overall record in singles play, and off, where she is a double major in business and finance with a perfect 4.0 cumulative GPA, while being an active participant in the Vitito Global Leadership Institute and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. It is a great honor to have one of our students recognized in this way. Go Cards!