SVSU Alumni Awards


Alumni Celebration
October 30, 2020
Curtiss Banquet Halls

5:30 pm Reception
6:15 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m. Award Presentations

The Alumni Celebration recognizes SVSU alumni whose personal and professional achievements have positively affected their community and strongly reflect the values of Saginaw Valley State University. Join us as we honor these alumni who represent the Cardinal Difference. 

Nominations for 2020 Alumni Awards will open May 15th, 2020. Check back in May to nominate an SVSU alum that reflects the values of SVSU.

2019 Alumni Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumni Recipients

SET Recipient

Jill Dralle, 1993, BS

Jill Dralle received her Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from SVSU in 1993. Dralle began her career in 1994 as a plant industrial engineer and has held a variety of assignments since, including industrial engineering manager, value stream manager, lean change agent, plant operations manager, plant manufacturing manager and operational excellence director for North America. She is now Nexteer’s Chief Operating Officer of Saginaw Operations, North America Division. In this role, Dralle is responsible for managing the profit and loss for three business units, including six manufacturing plants and over 3,500 employees. Her responsibilities include overseeing daily business activities, improving overall business functions, managing budgets, developing strategic plans and communicating business goals.

Dralle is a results-driven leader who enjoys seeing her team and the business grow. She is dedicated to creating another 100 years of thriving business for Nexteer. Dralle is committed to community and development. She is a founding member and executive chair of the Nexteer Women’s Club, is an Investment in Excellence professional development certified facilitator and a member of the women’s professional organization InForum. As a graduate of SVSU, a resident of Essexville and current Saginaw Community Foundation Board Member, she takes great pride in the expansion and development of the Great Lakes Bay Region and Nexteer’s role as an employer of choice.


CBM Recipient

Greg Wischmeyer, 1984, B.B.A. 

Greg Wischmeyer graduated from SVSU in 1984 with his Bachelor of Business Administration. He first began his career by serving our country in the U.S. Army, where he received an honorable discharge as an E5 Sergeant. Wischmeyer then pursued an education in business at Delta College and SVSU. Greg has worked in the financial service industry for 40 years. After working many years in the corporate banking industry, Wischmeyer decided to take on a new challenge and began working in with credit unions, beginning as the VP of Lending for Frankenmuth Credit Union. In 2010, Wischmeyer went on to become the president and CEO of Neighborhood Mortgage Solutions, which provides mortgage services to credit unions in 21 states.

Wischmeyer is a key contributor to his community, both professionally and personally, as well. He has been involved in the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce for the past 12 years and is a member of the Michigan Credit Union League Mid-Michigan Chapter. He continues to give back to SVSU's School of Business through yearly donations for business scholarships to assist other students in pursuing their dreams.

Additionally, Wischmeyer is an elder at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bay City and has been a “Big Brother” to the same “Little Brother” through Big Brothers Big Sisters of America for 40 years. Greg has been married for 40 years to his wife Cheryl, also an alum of SVSU, and has two daughters.


HHS Recipient

Mary Kay Smith, 1985, B.S.N.

Dr. Mary Kay Smith is the director of the Learning and Assessment Center (LAC) at Michigan State University. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from SVSU in 1985. Smith also earned her Master's in Nursing Education and a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Michigan State University.

Smith brings all her clinical experience - 19 years in the emergency department, 3 years in ICU/CCU, and 10 years in clinical education - to her current role. She feels that the LAC, like the simulation lab at SVSU, bridges the classroom and clinical experience for future healthcare professionals and helps them learn to work together to improve safer, quality care.

Smith is the immediate past Chair of Accreditation for the International Society of Simulation in Healthcare (SSH), the accrediting body for simulation programs worldwide. She is also a member of the SSH Directors Committee. She is the Quality Assurance Chair for the American Heart Association Great Lakes Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee. Smith holds memberships in the International Society for Simulation in Healthcare, Association for Standardized Patients Educators and the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. Her research focuses on the administration of simulation programs, validation of simulation methods and interprofessional education. She presents at national and international conferences, is a consultant for simulation programs and is known for her innovative work with multiple simulation methodologies in healthcare education. Smith has been an especially important resource to SVSU faculty and staff as the university progresses toward accreditation status for the simulation lab.


COE Recipient

Jean LaClair, 1990, B.A. 

Jean LaClair obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in education from SVSU in 1990. LaClair played volleyball all four years she spent here at the university and attributes her interest in athletics to her time spent with the volleyball team and in the training room. Today, LaClair is a dedicated educator at Bronson Community Schools, where she acts as the school’s assistant principal, athletic director and head volleyball coach. She is one of the most successful volleyball coaches in Michigan, ranking 5th in the state for all-time career wins. Her teams have been state champions 5 times and a state runner-up once.

As both an athletic administrator and a volleyball coach, LaClair has won numerous awards and is very involved in the community. LaClair has served on the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association executive board for 22 years, of which she served as president for 8. She serves on many committees and host tournaments for the Michigan High School Athletic Association. LaClair is also a 20-year member of Rotary International.


ABS Recipient

Ricky Brown, 1985, B.A.

After graduating with his Bachelor of Arts from SVSU in 1985, Ricky Brown held administrative positions for the Flint Community Schools and Interlochen Arts Academy. In 1989, Brown began his graduate studies at Central Michigan University, where he earned his Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Administration and Community Leadership, which ultimately lead him to obtain a position at Kettering University. In his current position as Director of Multicultural Student Initiatives, Brown has had the opportunity to travel all over the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and the Caribbean Islands to retain African American, Hispanic and Native American students in the STEM fields.

Brown was selected by his colleagues to receive Kettering’s first-ever Pillar of Excellence Award, the highest honor a staff member can receive. He has also received numerous other awards, including the 2016 Pre-College Director of the Year Award presented by the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates, which is given to the top pre-college STEM program director in the country. Brown also works with the Genesee Intermediate School District and the Genesee County Juvenile Court System as their CHILL (Civility Helps Individuals Live Longer) Facilitator, teaching young people conflict resolution, anger management and social problem-solving. He has served on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint as the Vice President, Kingdom Academy as the President and Linden Charter Academy as the Treasurer. Brown was inducted into SVSU Athletic Hall of Fame three times for Track & Field (2011, 2013 and 2015). 

Brown credits his time on SVSU's Track team with teaching him how to communicate with a diverse group of individuals and to collaborate as a team. His experiences with role models during his time on campus like Doug Hansen, Billy Dexter, Jim Dwyer and Michael Feeny helped prepare him to be a role model to those he mentors today.


Young Alumni Recipients

Emily Short, 2016, B.S.

Emily Short earned her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from SVSU in 2016. As a student, Short was involved in the university’s Saginaw Bay Environmental Science Institute, which gave her the opportunity to conduct and present research at multiple conferences, most notably the American Chemical Society National Meeting. Research topics focused primarily on Saginaw Bay and its watershed. Additionally, she was involved in various community outreach events. This includes her involvement as a co-coordinator in harvesting an orchard for the East Side Soup Kitchen in Saginaw and an outreach project for Major Chords for Minors through Foundation Scholars.

Short is now a project manager at Spicer Group, Inc. in Lansing, MI and uses her chemistry background to specialize in projects related to water resources and quality. Her projects range from stormwater management to bathymetric surveys. Short has worked on projects across the state and has presented at the 2019 Winter Drain Conference and the 2019 MWEA Watershed Summit.

While a student at SVSU, Short also competed in cross country and track where she served as a team captain for three years and was a four-time All-American. When she is not inspecting storm drains or putting together a sampling plan, she continues to pursue her enjoyment of competitive running by racing for the Playmakers Elite/New Balance Running Club, based in Okemos, MI. She has competed on a national level at three United States Track and Field Cross Country Club National Championship meets since joining the team in June 2016.


Darrin Flowers, 2007, B.A.

Darrin Flowers graduated from SVSU with his Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice in 2007. Today, he is a 7th and 8th grade social studies instructor at University of Detroit Jesuit. Flowers is dedicated to the students at University of Detroit Jesuit, where he is also a moderator of the Black Awareness Society of Education (B.A.S.E.), 7th and 8th grade track coach and high school bowling coach. Through B.A.S.E., he is afforded the opportunity to mentor young men and help them develop college readiness skills. Every year Flowers helps organize and plan a college tour where students visit both Jesuit universities and historically black colleges and universities. As a coach, Flowers has won a Catholic Youth Organization Track Championship, Catholic High School League Bowling Championship, won a Division 1 State Championship (2014), was voted Division 1 Coach of the Year (2015-16) and coached the Division 1 Bowler of the Year in 2017.

Flowers volunteers his time in various community service activities with Focus Hope, Belle Isle State Park, Cass Community and Blight Busters of Detroit.


Veteran Alumni Recipient

Tony Goble, 1989, B.A. 

After lettering in baseball and graduating from SVSU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice, Tony Goble enlisted in the Airborne Infantry in 1991. Tony is still serving and has reached the highest level of technical and tactical expertise as a Chief Warrant Officer Five and serves as Command Chief Warrant Officer. In 1993, Goble completed Special Force Qualification Course and was then assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Goble has served in numerous positions throughout the group and regiment during his career, including Detachment Commander, Company, Battalion, and Group Operations Warrant, Group Force Modernization Officer and as the Special Forces Warrant Officer Proponent Manager at the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Some of Goble's significant awards include the Bronze Star Medal (5 awards), Meritorious Service Medal (3 awards), Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal (3 awards), Good Conduct Medal (3 awards), National Defense Medal with two Campaign Stars and various other unit and personal decorations.

Goble has achieved the highest rank for an enlisted soldier – Command Chief Warrant Officer 5. He has spent over 25 years working as a Green Beret and has deployed nine times in support of the Global War on Terror to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.



All Alumni Awards

View all past alumni award recipients.