After weeks of anticipation and preparation, FIRST Robotics is finally here. Today, I was honored to provide the opening remarks and impressed by the first few hours of competition. If you have not visited the Ryder Center to see the spectacular event underway there, I would encourage you to do so before the competition wraps up Saturday. FIRST Robotics students are an impressive group of young people. I imagine many of them are future leaders in STEM industries, hopefully inspired in part by experiences such as the one SVSU is hosting presently. I like to think that same inspiration may even encourage some of them to return one day as students to SVSU, where we are in the business of developing STEM leaders.
There are so many people to thank for their support of our FIRST Robotics success. Everyone who is — and will be — a volunteer. A number of business partners helped in the endeavor as well, including the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau, STARS bus service and the Fashion Square Mall. Thank you to everyone — including event sponsors Dow, Consumers Energy, DTE and Ford, as well as many more regional partners — for making this excellent event possible. And thanks to our students, faculty and staff for your patience and hospitality during the event.
Our own students’ robotics skills — along with their many other talents — will be on display next Friday, April 21, during a series of capstone project presentations and research-spotlighting events open to the public.
The College of Science, Engineering and Technology will host its end-of-the-semester symposium beginning at 9 a.m. with a keynote lecture from Giselle Tamayo-Castillo, president of the Costa Rica National Council for Science and Technology and a professor of chemistry at University of Costa Rica. Then, from 10 a.m. to noon, our SET students will discuss their capstone projects during poster presentations set up in Pioneer Hall. Beginning at 1 p.m., inside several Pioneer Hall classrooms, a number of students who worked in teams on these projects will present their work to the audience as a whole.
Across campus that same day, the Office of the Undergraduate Research Programs will present the second University-Wide SVSU Student Showcase from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Ott Auditorium in Gilbertson Hall. The day will feature projects including posters, papers, and performances that have been submitted by more than 100 students. The afternoon will conclude with a brief presentation of faculty and student awards. Congratulations to everyone involved in these outstanding engineering and UGRP projects.
Students are sharing their research outside of the campus too. In fact, some are sharing research outside of this hemisphere. Jarrod Eaton, a health science major from St. Johns and former Student Association president, last month presented his research at the 2nd World Congress on Public Health and Nutrition in Rome, Italy March 22-24. That research dealt with the contributing factors surrounding influenza vaccination rate disparities among college-aged populations. Then, last week, he presented at the Student Global Leadership Conference in London. Alongside Rene Hernandez, assistant professor of health sciences, they discussed their work helping residents in the wake of the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal.
I hope many of you were able to attend our theatre department’s production of “Assassins” last week. Those interested in SVSU’s arts events have more to look forward to this academic year. Tickets remain available for the concert featuring Grammy-winning jazz pianist Bob James, who is set to appear Friday, April 28, at 8 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. Tickets are $40 per person and may be booked online here.
On the subject of upcoming events, I look forward to seeing many of you at the All-University Awards Banquet next Friday, April 21. We look forward to recognizing staff and faculty receiving recognition for their accomplishments and time worked at the university, but this also is a celebration of our institutional unity. The Chronicle of Higher Education didn’t designate SVSU as a “Great College To Work For” for nothing, so let us use this occasion to toast to your contributions to our wonderful work environment.
With less than a month until the semester finishes, our seniors are busy preparing for finals and post-graduate life. I was pleased so many of them showed up to Wednesday's Senior Class Toast, where I was able to thank them for making us proud over the years. Of course, this was not a goodbye toast. Graduation is the turning of a page, not the end of a book. I am confident they are ready for the next chapters in their lives, and am excited that this group soon will be joining the ranks of our outstanding alumni family. Cheers to them.
Last week, over 300 members of the Midland Area Chamber of Commerce were treated to a showcase of SVSU talent at its monthly Wake Up! Midland event. Music major Heather Seaton sang the National Anthem, Associate Director of Admissions Ted Lind led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Assistant Professor of Music Norman Wika and the SVSU Pep Band entertained the crowd with multiple pieces. Career Services Director Mike Major and Assistant Director Bill Stec introduced new chamber members and delivered a presentation about SVSU's talented students and alumni as well as our accredited academic programs. Many thanks to all who participated and represented our institution so well.
I had a rather colorful weekend last week. The Festival of Colors: Holi 2017 celebrated spring’s arrival. More than 650 people — SVSU family and members of the community — attended the festivities. The day featured educational cultural programs, dancing, painting and “color throwing,” which resulted in the photo above. I am told there were 350 lbs. of colored powder and 1,600 water balloons used for the occasion. It was a fun time, but I am glad there were targets other than myself.
I also had the pleasure of attending a number of other events that weekend, including the softball, baseball and spring football games. The Cardinal Cabaret was once again a great event, offering so much support for our Athletics Department. All in all, it was a great weekend to celebrate our school spirit and a great weekend to be a Cardinal.