Over 400 prospective students have signed up to attend the Fall Open House, and I am hopeful even more will RSVP before Saturday. Thanks to a targeted marketing effort, about 100 of those RSVPs were added this week. This event is critical to our goal of steadying enrollment numbers by next fall. We have much to offer at SVSU. The challenge is how to most effectively showcase those offerings to prospective students while they are on our campus. For some of these students, they may only afford us this one opportunity. It is important to make that opportunity count. I want to thank everyone who has helped us prepare to make a memorable impression as well as the volunteers who will be on site Saturday. I am confident our hard work will pay off as we begin to enroll students over the next year.
I am pleased to announce another powerful initiative that will bring thousands to our campus, many for the first time: SVSU for the second consecutive year will host the FIRST Robotics state tournament April 12-15. The inaugural competition brought 4,800 high school students to our campus. I am expecting a similar turnout next spring. That will be good news, considering many attendees last spring were first-time visitors impressed by what they saw.
Our partnership with FIRST Robotics and our dedication to its student competitors extends beyond simply serving as host of the state tournament. This semester, we also offered the initial series of FIRST Robotics Scholarships to students involved in the Robotics circuit during their high school years. The three SVSU freshmen to receive the renewable $4,000 scholarships were electrical engineering major Waliul Matin, an exchange student from Bangladesh who was a member of a Royal Oak-based FIRST Robotics team recently; and mechanical engineering majors Kiley Mowry and Bryce Stevens, of Midland and Horton, respectively. Thank you to everyone who helped build, strengthen and secure this important partnership as well as the scholarship.
The next guest in our Visiting Scholars and Artists series is Alison Games, who will also serve as this year’s Barstow Lecture speaker. Her presentation, “The Invention and Legacy of the Amboyna Massacre,” is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 30, at 4:30 p.m. in Founders Hall. Games, the Dorothy M. Brown Distinguished Professor of History at Georgetown University, teaches courses on topics including early America, the Atlantic world and European expansion, and global interaction. Her lecture — which examines the historical fallout from a 17th century European spice trade rivalry exacerbated by the execution of 20 men — is sure to be an enlightening event.
Forever Red and 45 of our registered student organizations have partnered with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs to create a “Rally in The Valley” T-shirt that promotes cultural unity. The tagline on the shirt is #WeUnite, and it features the names of all participating RSOs. These shirts will be on sale for $5 at locations across the campus, including the Student Life Center. Watch a video on the purpose behind this T-shirt campaign.
I am pleased to report I have reached my goal of raising $6,000 for the American Cancer Society Real Men Wear Pink campaign. I have witnessed firsthand how cancer impacts individuals and families, and I am proud that so many of you have joined me to make this battle easier for those impacted by this affliction. I am confident that fundraisers through organizations such as the American Cancer Society can significantly assist individuals affected by cancer and, eventually, find a cure. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this cause. And thank you to everyone who continued to raise awareness by visiting the giant inflatable chair that sat outside M.J. Brandimore House on Thursday in support of this campaign.
I would also like to thank all those who contributed to the United Way of Saginaw County Saginaw’s Most Stylish campaign. Raising money for local literacy and education program, this campaign concluded during an event last night featuring our own Deborah Huntley, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, and Peter Rose-Barry, the Finkbeiner Endowed Professor of Ethics. Each worked hard to raise awareness in support of this important initiative for education.
Thursday’s event also was exceptional because of the recognition SVSU received for our outstanding work in the community. The Lloyd J. Yeo Community Involvement Award honors businesses and organizations that promote community engagement within the workplace and employ people dedicated to making a positive impact on others. It was an honor to accept this award on behalf of everyone who helped our institution earn its reputation as a strong, supportive partner in the region.
I am looking forward to today’s Alumni Celebration event, which will honor eight Cardinals who have distinguished themselves. That group includes seven alumni: Dr. Jessica Bentoski, a 2004 graduate and pediatric dentist who owns a practice in Saginaw; Gretchen Evans, a 2013 graduate and U.S. Army veteran who now serves as an advocate for a number of organizations benefiting other veterans; Marlin Jenkins, a 2014 graduate whose fiction and nonfiction writings have appeared in several publications; David Kowalski, a 1979 graduate who now serves as president and owner of Euclid Automotive Supplies; Christopher Pryor, a 1995 and 2000 graduate who serves as pastor of Victorious Believers Ministries Church of God in Christ; Dr. Michael Langworthy, a 1984 graduate who works as director of orthopaedic surgery at Southcoast Health Systems in New Bedford, Massachusetts; and Dr. Lynn Squanda-Murphy, a 1981 graduate and physician at MedExpress facilities across Michigan. Today’s event will also honor one “future alumnus,” Andrew Jarmon, a professional accountancy senior who has been recognized for his leadership on campus and in the community. Congratulations to everyone who will be celebrated tonight.
SVSU is a proud sponsor of The Saginaw Spirit, and I am excited to announce the OHL hockey franchise will be celebrating SVSU during its Wednesday, Nov. 1 home match-up against the Flint Firebirds. We are giving away free tickets to faculty, staff, students and alumni. You must reserve these tickets before the end of today by calling Jennifer Weiss at ext. 4039 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Each individual can reserve up to six tickets. I hope to see many of you at the game!
Today features an exciting round of home games for our student-athletes, including the season finales for our soccer teams. Today at noon, the 8-6-1 women’s soccer team hosts Northwood. This is a non-conference game vs. a conference team, and will serve as a warm-up for postseason play. The team will play in the first round of the 2017 GLIAC Women’s Soccer Tournament Tuesday at 3 p.m. at Ferris State.
Today at 2:30 p.m., the 12-2-1 men’s soccer team plays the Timberwolves. Much is at stake with this match-up. If our team ties or wins, we will claim our second consecutive GLIAC championship. With a win, Northwood will take that title instead. On top of that, the championship team will earn the rights to host the semifinal round of the GLIAC Men’s Soccer Tournament. Our team already has secured a bye in the first round.
The volleyball team also plays at home today. We host Michigan Tech at 7 p.m., then follow that with a home game vs. Northern Michigan Saturday at 1 p.m.
While they won’t be on campus, our 7-4 women’s tennis team will be competing today at the Greater Midland Tennis Center in the GLIAC Women’s Tennis Tournament. Our No. 4-seeded team will face No. 5-seed Tiffin at 6:45 p.m.
The 4-4 football team returns for its final home game of the season Saturday at 3 p.m. to face Tiffin. I hope to see many of you there, cheering on our senior student-athletes during their last appearance at Wickes Memorial Stadium. We also are promoting this contest as the “White Out Wickes” game, in which we hope many people in the stands will be wearing the white #WeUnite T-shirts promoted by Forever Red. Go Cards!