Welcome to FIRST Robotics week. After months of anticipation and preparation, the competition is underway. Thousands of guests from across the state are enjoying the comforts of our campus. While the state championship is only just beginning, I already am both impressed and proud of the hospitality extended to our visits. There is a reason FIRST Robotics returned to SVSU after last year: Our Cardinal family is a warm and welcoming bunch. Thank you to all of the students, staff, faculty and volunteers rolling out the red carpet for our guests. I look forward to being part of this experience all the way to its conclusion Saturday, when Gov. Rick Snyder visits SVSU.
The best way to experience FIRST Robotics is in person at Ryder Center — I highly recommend it — but the event also is unfolding in exciting ways online. I would encourage you to watch, share and participate in the experiences shared on social media using the FIRST Robotics-geared hashtags #FirstMiRobots, #FirstPowerUp, and my personal favorite, #OMGRobots. You can also follow the action via the university Facebook and Instagram accounts at www.facebook.com/svsu.edu and http://instagram.com/svsucardinals.
I was struck with a strong sense of Red Pride this week after I read the April 9 edition of Crain’s Detroit Business. There were a series of articles focusing on the economic and cultural resurgence of Saginaw and Bay City. Two of those stories profiled SVSU alumni who are contributing substantially to that positive narrative. Jim Terry, who earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing here in 1986, is the owner and CEO of PF Markey. One article details how he found success recently in the automotive industry in part through his clever marketing of what is essentially a vending machine for high-end automotive tools. Amy Augustin, who earned her master’s degree in digital media and communications in 2010, founded Venture6 Studio LLC. The story on her profiles how her marketing firm has performed impressively innovative work on behalf of clients including Dow Chemical Co. and Nexteer Automotive. Jim and Amy, of course, are just two examples of the thousands of members of SVSU's family strengthening the foundation and future of our region.
One of the gems of this campus — and the region — is the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, dedicated to the life’s work of one of the 20th century’s great artists. One of Marshall Fredericks’ most iconic artistic contributions to the world is the Spirit of Detroit, located in the heart of Motown. That sculpture turns 60 this year, and a birthday bash in its honor next month will benefit our museum here on campus. Tickets are available now for The Spirit of Detroit 60th Anniversary Celebration scheduled Saturday, May 12, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the One Woodward Avenue building in Detroit, right across the street from the sculpture. The event will feature a reception, dinner, jazz music and more. Details on the event and tickets — which you can purchase online — are available at http://marshallfredericks.org/spiritofdetroit/.
Our institution continues to empower the region’s K-12 educators. I was pleased to learn the Saginaw Bay Writing Project, which is one of the initiatives supported by our own Writing Center, will be partnering with the Alden and Vada Dow Creativity Foundation to host a week-long writing workshop in Midland this summer. The event, scheduled from July 23-27, will offer learning opportunities and resources for up to 30 K-12 teachers in the state. Please feel free to inform alumni, family or friends working in education that they can apply online at svsu.edu/sbwp/vadabdowworkshop. The cost is $150 per person. Applications are being accepted until April 30.
Our campus will host a poetry reading by author Jane Mead Tuesday, April 17 at 5 p.m. in Founders Hall as part of the Voices in the Valley Reading Series. Jane is the author of five collections of poetry. Her newest body of work, “World of Made and Unmade,” recently was named a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize and The Los Angeles Times Book Award. She earned a number of other honors for her work over the years including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, and the Lannan Foundation Completion Grant.
I mentioned it last week, but it is worth a reminder that our theatre department’s latest production, “Stick Fly,” is underway this week. With daily showings at 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday — and a 3 p.m. matinee scheduled Sunday — I hope many of you will be able to watch our talented cast of student-actors during performances today through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. — and a 3 p.m. matinee scheduled Sunday — in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. Directed by Tommy Wedge, adjunct instructor of theatre, "Stick Fly" follows the story of two sons from an affluent family as they bring home their romantic partners to meet the parents. The gathering results in clashing personalities and ideologies that bubble over in dramatic fashion. Tickets are $13 for the general public and $10 for students or attendees 60 and older.