We celebrated another outstanding pair of commencement ceremonies last weekend. I was pleased with the inspiring words offered by our keynote speaker, alumna Marylin E. Atkins, the longest-serving chief judge in the history of Michigan's 36th District Court in Detroit. Her message of optimism was a fitting send-off for such a fine class of students. I heard from a great many students and parents about how proud they are of their SVSU degree, and they have secured many exceptional career and graduate school opportunities. Their wisdom, character and spirit will add much to the growing ranks of our alumni.
Along with commencement festivities, we also announced on Friday that the Carmona family has pledged the lead gift for our capital campaign to construct a 38,500 square foot building addition for what is now the Scott L. Carmona College of Business and Management. This is a tremendous act of generosity and we are most grateful. It is especially significant because Scott is an SVSU alumnus, and his story resonates with so many of our students who are driven to complete their degrees, even as they juggle work and family demands themselves. If you see Scott, Nancy or others in their family, please express your appreciation. We are incredibly fortunate to have such committed supporters.
We finished another Cardinal Formula Racing season with flying colors last weekend, finishing No. 24 out of the 120 teams participating in the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers Collegiate Design Series. This is an international competition, and we placed No. 11 out of all the U.S. competition, ahead of the likes of Duke, Georgia Tech, Ohio State and Penn State; we finished second among the 13 Michigan schools that competed, ahead of Michigan Tech, Michigan State, Kettering and others. Once again, we were the top-placing institution without a graduate program in engineering program. Congratulations to the team as well as Brooks Byam, professor of mechanical engineering and the team’s adviser.
In another corner of our College of Science, Engineering and Technology, a team of 12 senior engineering and computer science students designed a robot prototype that is competing this week in NASA's ninth annual Robotics Mining Competition at Kennedy Space Center. This is the first year our students are participating in the event, which features 55 higher education institutions. The robot prototype is meant to be capable of mining a simulated surface of Mars. This is an exciting, otherworldly challenge for our talented STEM students. Thanks to Rajani Muraleedharan, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and adviser to the SVSU Robotics Club, for her work with this group.
Congratulations to Matthew Meissner, one of our University Police officers, who has been selected by the Police Officers Association of Michigan's as a 2018 Police Officer of the Year. The award acknowledges the law enforcement officials who act bravely and honorably in the line of duty. Matthew will be presented with the award at the annual POAM convention next Thursday, May 24, in Grand Rapids.
Military Student Affairs and the Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum will host a 30-minute Memorial Day program next Wednesday, May 23, at noon. The ceremony will take place near the Eaton War Memorial sculpture in the museum's Jo Anne and Donald Peterson Sculpture Garden. The program will include an appearance from the Color Guard, the playing of "Taps," and the ceremonial laying of the wreath. Refreshments will be provided in the museum lobby, courtesy of Multicultural Student Affairs. Thank you to Bethany Alford, Military Student Affairs director, and all of the staff organizing this important commemoration of those who sacrificed their lives for our nation.
Our military men and women sacrifice much to protect our freedoms, including time away from their loved ones. Aaron Mowen, director of Campus Recreation, serves in the U.S. Marine Corps, and last week he returned to the U.S. from a nearly year-long deployment to Camp Shorab in Afghanistan. A staff sergeant, he and his platoon were part of Task Force Southwest. He will return to work here in August. Thank you for your service, Aaron, and welcome home.
Four of our men’s track and field student-athletes recently were selected to compete at the 2018 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships May 24-26 in North Carolina. Congratulations and best wishes to Sam Black, Tom Goforth, Andrew Mudd and Noah VanderVeen.
Congratulations to the softball team on a fine season which included a second consecutive invitation to the 2018 NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament. They pulled off an amazing 13-11 comeback victory in the consolation bracket before being eliminated.
I hope you enjoy this update’s weekly schedule during the fall and winter semester. 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 you may not hear from me every week. Summer is not always the break some perceive it to be, but it is a time to recharge and rejuvenate before a new academic year begins in August, so enjoy the season.