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President’s Weekly Update - Week of Monday, September 12, 2016

Heroes Run

SVSU showed great support for military veterans and first responders during the 9/11 Heroes Run last Sunday. There were 153 participants in the 5K race and related events. Proceeds from the event benefited The Travis Manion Foundation, a national nonprofit organization. This is our fourth year hosting the 5K, and hopefully not our last. What a great show of support for our veterans, first responders and community at large.

Mike Major honored

Speaking of our veterans: We truly have outstanding representation here from our nation’s military. That fact was reinforced when I learned Mike Major, our Career Services director, was asked to deliver the keynote presentation Thursday at the Michigan Veteran Employer Summit in Grosse Pointe. Mike is a decorated member of the Navy Reserve, having served a tour of duty in Afghanistan from 2011-2012 as a combat advisor with the Afghan National Civil Order Police. He received the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service as well as the Navy-Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon for performance while under direct enemy fire. I’m honored Mike is part of this Cardinal family, and proud that he received a spotlight by the Michigan Veteran Employer Summit.

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off Thursday across the nation and here at SVSU. We have a number of great events planned for the next few weeks. There’s a Mexican BINGO event from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21 in the Student Life Program Room. The following weeks will include a Latino Food Fest, a Hispanic Business Association Meal, a Latino Alumni chapter Homecoming tailgate, among other events. I’m looking forward to this month, and I’m hoping to see a number of you in attendance.

Cardinal College Day

Saturday is Cardinal College Day at SVSU. Nearly 200 students have RSVP’d to attend this event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Many of them will enjoy a campus tour, get information about financial aid and scholarships, hear about our wonderful Athletics department, and see what SVSU offers in housing, campus life, clubs and organizations. Let me thank everyone in advance who will be helping us host those in attendance.

Bridge the Gap

Later that day, our campus will be hosting the second annual Bridge the Gap basketball event at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Ryder Center. For those not familiar with it, this is a contest that brings together law enforcement officials, community leaders and youths from across the region. The aim is to build strong relationships among those groups. I’m honored that SVSU has become a central location for such an important endeavor. Besides serving as a host and event sponsor, SVSU is sponsoring entry fees for over 100 urban youth. It costs $5 to attend, and those proceeds will help Bridge the Gap pay for the tuition costs of one person in the region while helping to send another person to a police academy. What a great cause.

Cricket’s first swing

You’ve heard me rave about the determination of those students interested in playing cricket. Last year, our passionate students convinced us to build a cricket field. That same core group of students have recruited their peers to form a cricket club. This Sunday, they will be participating in their first game against another institution when they play against Wayne State University at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at Trombly Park in Warren. Let's wish the team our best for this inaugural tournament!

Reflecting on Sunday

It’s been a challenging week, to say the least. After Sunday morning’s shootings across from our campus at Campus Village apartments, I’ve received calls and emails from so many students and parents concerned about safety. They have a right to be concerned. Even though this incident occurred off campus and no SVSU students were injured, it was unsettling. Let me reassure you, once again, that SVSU is committed to keeping everyone in our community safe. We are continuing to develop a memorandum of understanding with our community partners and local law enforcement agencies to improve that safety — without delay — and I am confident our efforts will result in strong, secure measures.

If there is a silver lining in this unfortunate incident, it’s the spirit and sense of community displayed by our students in the aftermath. Perhaps no one was more of a flag-bearer for this pride than Miah Cooper, who was feet away from the shooting. Hours later, she turned her experience into an online essay, “This Shooting Does Not Define Our SVSU Family.” For those who have not seen this, I highly recommend it. In summary, she talks about the opportunity and experience SVSU has provided her family, and how the deep sense of community she shares with her fellow classmates stands tall above any single foolish act. “We are Cardinal strong” was her closing line, and after reading such inspiring words, I’ve never been more confident in that Cardinal strength.