I don’t know about you, but I definitely found myself upbeat and encouraged as I departed Ryder Center following Saturday’s Commencement ceremony. I thought our invited speaker, David Kepler of Dow, delivered a message important to our graduates, and all eight members of our Board of Control were in attendance. My thanks to all of them for sharing this important occasion with our graduates. I’d also like to extend my personal appreciation to all the faculty and staff who attended one or both ceremonies and supported our graduates and their families. It means a great deal to our students. I was also pleased to see nearly 400 of you at the holiday luncheon last Friday despite no “prize” announcement from me.
The luncheon and both ceremonies were handled most professionally and provided a positive experience for our faculty, staff, students and guests. I know this requires a lot of effort and attention from a number of you across campus both in advance of and during these events. Your efforts are truly appreciated.
While the campus prepares for an extended holiday break, many of our students are still engaged in important learning activities. We have more than 20 students currently studying abroad in India on a trip led by Kaustav Misra, assistant professor of economics. Meanwhile Provost Deb Huntley is meeting with several of our educational partners in that part of the world. In addition, we have more than 50 students participating in Alternative Breaks, performing service projects in New York City, rural Kentucky, Tucson, Ariz., Salt Lake City and Miami. All of these students will learn a great deal from these experiences and our campus community will be the richer for it.
The students participating in the Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute invited me to join in their holiday celebration with children at the First Ward Community Center in Saginaw. I accepted. SVSU students are joined by 96 high school students from throughout the region for the year-long program, and this year, they have been volunteering at First Ward, working in their after school programs. They will present gifts to their younger counterparts during a holiday celebration Wednesday. The Institute is very beneficial to our region, helping young people to break down barriers and better understand one another. Mamie Thorns, special assistant to the president for diversity programs, and her staff do a fine job organizing it each year.
Many of our best students choose SVSU because of a personal connection. As you prepare to celebrate the holiday season with your friends and family, you may cross paths with someone who is considering college or going through the college selection process. If so, I hope you’ll share your perspective on the benefits of an SVSU education and use our Refer-a-Cardinal program. Our Admissions staff would love to speak with them.
Finally, Liana and I extend our best holiday wishes to you and your family. We hope you enjoy a peaceful and enjoyable season with those important to you, and we look forward to seeing you refreshed and renewed in the new year. As a reminder of the diverse and extraordinary talents of our students, please enjoy this SVSU holiday video featuring the vocals of Madalyn McHugh, a music major from Caro, and a few familiar faces of faculty, staff and students.