We have been busy with our friends in Lansing. On Monday, we hosted our Board of Fellows legislative reception, where many colleagues and SVSU supporters had the opportunity to connect with many elected officials who were kind enough to visit us. Last week, we hosted state legislators who serve on the joint Capital Outlay Committee to give them a better understanding for our proposed expansion to provide a new home for the College of Business & Management. I hope to testify next week before the committee on the need for the expansion. This is an important initiative that will impact everything from our students’ education to the region’s economic well-being, and we are doing our part to help our friends in Lansing understand this clearly.
Last weekend’s commencement ceremonies were outstanding. I would like to thank faculty and staff who participated in the events and were able to share in those momentous occasions for students and families. It means a great deal to them. We celebrated another outstanding group of Cardinals, and welcomed them to our alumni family for life. This brings our alumni family to over 45,000.
Meanwhile, we are preparing to welcome a new class of undergraduates to our campus. Our first orientation (SOAR) of the season is planned for this Friday, May 12. I am looking forward to meeting this next generation of students, and am excited that they will soon be experiencing the unique hospitality offered by our faculty, staff, and current students. Please join me in making them feel welcome.
This time of year marks a changing of the guard for our Roberts Fellows as well. The students named as Fellows last year are today visiting sites in Asia as part of the program’s capstone experience. Shortly before their departure, we introduced the next group of Fellows who will be making a similar trip overseas next year. The Roberts Fellowship Program remains one of our outstanding student leadership development initiatives. I am proud of everyone who has completed the program, and excited for those still in the midst of the experience. For those interested in following the 18th class’ adventures overseas, be sure to keep an eye on the group’s blog.
Those selected for the 19th class are: Jeremy Flood, Nancy Haddad, Rubaiath Hossain, Bradley Hunt, Mercedes Jefferson, Dawn McMillan, Brianna Meyer, Zach Mixter, Alissa Rutkowski and Caroline Sawatzki.
The Roberts Fellows are not the only students spending time in Asia. Two student tutors working in our Writing Center — Sam Geffert and Renee Okenka — will spend the next few weeks at our sister institution, Shikoku University, helping to establish a Writing Center there. This is a wonderful opportunity for our students and a wonderful display of SVSU’s commitment to community engagement, on an international scale.
Closer to home, our Writing Center here recently received $16,500 in funding from the Bay Area Community Foundation to create a Bay Area Community Writing Center at the Wirt Library in Bay City, starting this September. This will provide two years of support for our tutors to provide workshops and individual tutoring sessions with any member of the Bay County community. We already have experienced success in a similar initiative with the Saginaw Community Writing Center, established in September 2015. I am pleased to see our Writing Center is extending its support to new communities.
On Saturday, we will welcome back many of our alumni to the campus during the Cardinals Come Home event, organized by Alumni Relations. One of my top priorities remains creating closer connections with our alumni. They helped define this university, setting us on the course we sail today, and they are shaping SVSU’s reputation every day. Many of them have busy lives at home and work, and have been unable to visit campus in some time, but more than 170 have registered for Saturday. I am excited for events such as Cardinals Come Home, which reminds them that they are always welcome at the campus they helped create.
Campus will be busy on Saturday, as we also will host the 2017 Great Lakes Bay Region Heart Walk. This is a worthwhile event that benefits the American Heart Association, and the organization’s fight against heart disease and stroke. The aim is to raise $38,500, and organizers already are halfway there. If you want to help the cause, you can learn more.
Next week, Consumers Energy crews will begin utility work as they replace natural gas pipelines across our campus, beginning near the Student Center and eventually extending west toward Wickes Hall. The work is expected to end in July. There may be some inconveniences for pedestrians as crews close off sections of campus sidewalks to work on these pipelines. We appreciate your patience as we work to improve the life and safety of our campus infrastructure. Crews also will be installing new gas meters across campus, helping us in our efforts to conserve energy and “go green.”
Congratulations to our women’s softball team on winning the 2017 GLIAC Tournament last weekend. The feat means our nationally-ranked team will enter the NCAA Division II National Tournament as the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Regional. They open tournament play Thursday against No. 6-seeded University of Indianapolis at the University of Southern Indiana. Stay tuned to updates on the tournament by visiting svsucardinals.com.
Our men’s golf team also qualified for national competition and competed in the NCAA Division II Super Regionals at Awarii Dunes golf course in Axtell, Nebraska this week. The team posted a three-day, 54-hole team score of 849, which shattered their previous record of 865 set in 2009. All five players scored par or better in the final round Wednesday, as the team finished in a tie for 8th place, out of 20 teams, concluding a fine season. Go Cards!
During the academic year, it is a priority to bring this update to you weekly. 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.