I hope many of you will be able to attend our commencement ceremonies this weekend. Along with the 570 students expected to receive degrees, we will be honoring one of our students posthumously. Evan Ross Willman was on track to graduate Friday when he died last December after falling from a moving vehicle. His mother, Rebecca Willman, will accept an Honorary Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree on behalf of her son during Friday’s ceremony. Evan was a popular student among his M.S.O.T. peers here. He was known for his outgoing personality. I am honored that we will be able to share this moment with his family and friends. Many of our graduates have similarly poignant and touching stories. Thank you to all share this special moment with them; it means a great deal.
As we approach the end of our fall semester, I have good news to share on the student recruitment front. Our Admissions colleagues reports that the number of prospective students admitted for the fall 2018 freshman class already has surpassed the total number of admitted students for the previous recruitment cycle. That is a very encouraging milestone to reach in December. We continue to work hard to follow through on encouraging those prospective students to join our Cardinal family. Our colleagues in Admissions, Financial Aid and the Campus Financial Services Center are collaborating to expedite the financial aid process for these students. We hope this initiative will result in a higher yield rate for these prospective students.
We also received good news this week regarding our proposed building addition for the College of Business and Management. This week, the Michigan House and Senate passed a bill that authorizes us to begin construction on the expansion. We are still awaiting the governor’s signature, but this is an encouraging sign. My thanks to all our colleagues who worked on seeing this important project through the legislative process.
Our students continue to impress me — and others. Pedro Marin (pictured, top left), a marketing major from Grand Blanc, recently was honored as the Student of the Year by the Great Lakes Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls. Pedro received the award when he attended the group’s conference at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Pedro was selected from his many peers in residential life operations at campuses across Michigan, Ontario, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.
Another student — Victoria Phelps (pictured, top right), an English literature major from Rochester Hills — also earned praise from her peers across the Midwest. She wrote an essay that was honored as the top undergraduate paper presented at a conference for the Midwest chapters of Sigma Tau Delta, an English honors society. Phelps’ paper focused on the 2015 Edwidge Danticat novel, “Untwine,” about a sister’s despair following the death of her identical twin. The paper, titled “Understanding Twin Loss and Grief in Danticat’s Untwine,” explored the character’s loss as a form of mental amputation.
Congratulations to our forensics team (pictured, bottom), which placed third at the fall Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League tournament at Oakland University Dec. 9. Our students also won a number of individual awards, including Gylian Castle, a communication major from Standish, who earned a first-place award for the After Dinner Speaking category. She qualified for the 2018 National Forensics Association tournament held in April at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh along with Jrew Brickel, a criminal justice major from Midland, and Tiler Jewell, a creative writing major from Essexville.
Here is your reminder, for those who RSVP’ed, that the annual holiday luncheon is Friday. Seating begins at 11:45 a.m. in the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms. I hope you enjoy the festivities, food and fellowship.
I would encourage you to venture up to the third floor of Wickes Hall, where we have displayed the latest series of eye-catching and awe-inspiring paintings along the main hallway. These works are the creation of Matt Krease, the assistant manager of the Graphics Center and a talented artist. You may recognize the imagery. One of his paintings serves as the cover art on this year's SVSU holiday card, chosen by Liana.
With the holiday break upon us, our Athletics schedule slows down for a time, but a few games remain between now and 2018, including an away match-up at Northwood for the basketball teams this Saturday. The women’s team plays at 6 p.m. and the men’s team tips off at 8 p.m. The men’s basketball team then plays at home against Rochester next Tuesday at 7 p.m. Go Cards!