Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) is the newest of Michigan’s state universities and is situated on a 782-acre campus in the Great Lakes Bay Region within a triangle formed by Saginaw, Bay City, and Midland. SVSU was originally chartered as a private institution to meet the higher education needs of east-central Michigan; there were no four-year institutions of higher learning in the region, and committed community leaders saw a need for a liberal arts college in an area with a population base of 500,000 people. This grassroots investment has remained consistent throughout SVSU’S history, as the University and the region remain intertwined in both goals and leadership. As Saginaw Valley College, the institution admitted its first class of 119 students in 1964, became state-assisted in 1965 during a period of national expansion of institutions of higher learning, and held its first commencement in 1966. The name was changed from Saginaw Valley College to Saginaw Valley State College in 1975 and to Saginaw Valley State University in 1987. The earliest students were primarily non-traditional commuter students. However, the student profile has shifted steadily, especially over the past decade, to a more traditional student base, with significant numbers of students living on campus or nearby. From its beginnings the University has experienced steady growth, not only in its student body, faculty, and staff, but also in the programs it offers, as well as its physical facilities and infrastructure. SVSU has evolved into a distinctive comprehensive regional university that fulfills the goals of its founders by providing higher educational opportunities for the citizens of the region, the state, and, to a more limited extent, beyond. While many things about Saginaw Valley State University have changed in its 50 year history, its primary mission — to provide access to high quality academic programs, to provide opportunities for success in personal and intellectual development, and to serve the region as an intellectual and cultural center — has remained constant.