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President’s Weekly Update - Week of Monday, March 20, 2017

I saw the sign

A collage of three banners on poles.

With the arrival of spring, you may have noticed some new additions to our campus outdoor décor. Crews recently began installing banners on our outdoor light posts that feature students and alumni and reflect our university’s distinctive qualities, using the themes of the “We” campaign. You will also see new signs and banners being installed inside the field house and Ryder Center. All of these will add to the visual appeal of our beautiful campus.

Forensics shines

MISL State Forensics Tournament, hosted by Eastern Michigan University.

Our forensics team put together another successful performance last weekend during the MISL State Forensics Tournament, hosted by Eastern Michigan University. Three of our students walked away with awards. Gina Kearly, a communications and theatre double major from Midland, won the top novice award in the Impromptu Speaking category along with both the top novice and second-place overall award for the Rhetorical Criticism category. Erik Breidinger, a communications major from Auburn, earned fourth place in After Dinner Speaking. Gylian Castle, a communications major from Standish, won both the top novice and fifth-place award for the Oratory category. Our students continue to display how their work ethic and determination, paired with effective faculty guidance, produces impressive results.

Great Colleges survey distributed

Great Colleges to Work For logo

About 30 percent of you who were randomly chosen to take part in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Great Colleges to Work For survey have completed it. Thank you. I know the survey arrived in inboxes at the tail end of spring break, making the timing less than ideal. If you recall receiving the survey (ModernThink is the sender) but have not yet completed it, please consider doing so. It will take 15 to 20 minutes of your time, and your confidential responses are of great value to understanding what we do well and where we can improve. Your responses a year ago showed that this is a great place to work, and I’m hopeful we are able to retain that distinction. The deadline to complete the survey is Friday, April 7.

Admit Discovery Day

A table at the admissions open house.

My thanks to all of you who are taking part in this Saturday’s Admit Discovery Day. We expect some 250 prospective students who have been admitted to SVSU to visit campus, along with their families. All our academic departments will be represented by faculty, and our student services offices will be present, too, giving students and parents an opportunity to get their specific academic questions answered. Our colleagues in Admissions have done a fine job organizing the event. My thanks to all who are participating and doing their part to convince these young people to join us in the fall.

An inspiring story

John Kaczynski, director of governmental affairs, with his family and his brother Joe, who has been competing at the Special Olympics World Games in Austria this week.

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It is not often one of our colleagues appears on national television, but that will be the case tonight (Thursday) when John Kaczynski, director of governmental affairs, will appear on ESPN2 between 6 and 7 p.m., along with his brother Joe, who has been competing at the Special Olympics World Games in Austria this week. (Spoiler alert: Joe already has won a gold medal in cross country skiing.) Each of them inspires the other and has shown extraordinary perseverance, as John has battled through cancer and Joe refuses to let autism slow him down. Here is the online ESPN story.

Celebrating a milestone with our partners and friends

Ming Chuan University celebrating their 60-year anniversary Thursday

John isn’t the only Cardinal overseas. As you read this, I have arrived in Taiwan, where I will be attending the 60-year anniversary ceremony at our sister institution, Ming Chuan University. You may recall we hosted a ceremony for the occasion on campus recently, as well. The relationship between our universities spans decades, and I am honored to be invited to celebrate this milestone with them, as we continue to work to increase international understanding and seek enriching opportunities for our students and faculty.

Good luck to Early College FIRST Robotics

Great Lakes Bay Early College Robotics Team collaborate with Provost Deb Huntley and SET Dean Frank Hall.

As we prepare to host the statewide FIRST Robotics competition in three weeks, we extend our best wishes to the first-year robotics team of students in the Great Lakes Bay Early College program on campus. They compete in a regional event Friday and Saturday, and with a good showing, could qualify for the state finals. Paired with two other teams, they will race against the clock to build steam pressure in a boiler and place gears on an airship to prepare its rotors for flight. Coached by SVSU alumnus Jeremy Jones, the team of 15 dedicated students received a pep talk Thursday from Deb Huntley, provost, and Frank Hall, dean of our College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

An empowering visitor

Sonia Jackson Myles leads an inspirational discussion with a group of women.

Our Office of Diversity Programs scheduled a presentation from Sonia Jackson Myles this week. A Saginaw native, she is the founder, president and CEO of The Sister Accord Movement. On Tuesday, she delivered an empowering message for women, encouraging them to strive to overcome self-doubt and self-imposed obstacles. Her message has inspired people across the globe, and I am appreciative that she brought this message to our students.

Checking out the Human Library

A volunteer participates as a book sitting at a table to tell their story.

Tuesday was full of inspiring events on campus. I hope some of you were able to attend the Human Library event, organized by students and Sharrin Frances, assistant professor of English. For those not familiar with it, a “human library” is an event where people at a library engage with other human beings, as opposed to books. It is a gathering that allows attendees to learn about people with different life experiences than their own. Some of our human “books” told stories about single-parenting an autistic child, maneuvering through the U.S. citizenship process, surviving brain cancer, recovering from drug addiction, and rebuilding one's life after homelessness. We all win when we look past stereotypes and actually take the time to listen – really listen – to people with different experiences than our own.

Weekend contests ahead

Some of our Cardinal Athletics teams are back in action this week.  Our 13-5 women’s tennis team has a home match at the Greater Midland Tennis Center at noon Friday against Lawrence Tech. Meanwhile, due to the forecast of inclement weather, our baseball and softball teams have had their schedules altered for the weekend. Baseball will play a pair of doubleheaders against Ohio Dominican at 1 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. The 11-6 softball team travels to Walsh University to play the Lake Erie Storm in a doubleheader Friday at 11 a.m. The Cardinals then will stay in North Canton, Ohio to play the home team Walsh Cavaliers Saturday at 3 p.m. Go Cards!