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October 3, 2014

SVSU named Military Friendly for 4th straight year

Saginaw Valley State University’s commitment to veterans and military personnel has been recognized by being named to the Military Friendly® list of schools for the fourth consecutive year. Selected by Victory Media, the list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America's military service members, veterans, spouses and dependents as students, and ensure their success on campus.

“We are proud of SVSU's continued inclusion on this list and fully expect to keep improving as the University’s already immense support of our department grows even stronger,” said Denise Berry, director of Military Student Affairs at SVSU.

The Military Friendly® Schools designation and list by Victory Media is in its sixth year. Military Friendly provides service members and veterans data-driven ratings about post-military education and career opportunities.

The methodology for making the list has changed the student veteran landscape to one more transparent and has played a significant role in recording and advancing best practices to support military students across the country. The survey captures over 50 leading practices in supporting military students and is free of charge to more than 8,000 schools approved for Post-9/11 GI Bill funding.

“We have worked very hard to provide the types of programs and services our military students need and deserve,” Berry said.

For more information about SVSU's commitment to attracting and supporting military students, visit SVSU's Military Student Affairs website at

The Military Friendly® Schools media and website, found at, features the list, interactive tools and search functionality to help military students find the best school to suit their unique needs and preferences.  

Victory Media is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business founded in 2001. Victory's free, data-driven, Military Friendly ® lists can be found online. Victory's lists are also published in G.I. Jobs, Military Spouse, Vetrepreneur magazines, republished in national and local periodicals and are frequently cited on national and local TV stations.

October 3, 2014

SVSU’s Carolyn Wierda to discuss worldwide education trends in annual Rush Lecture

The delivery of education near and far will be examined by Carolyn Wierda when she gives the 2014 Rush Lecture at Saginaw Valley State University Thursday, Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. in Founders Hall. An executive-in-residence and interim associate dean in the College of Education, Wierda’s talk is titled, “From Other Hemispheres to Our Home: National, State and Local K-12 Educational Trends.”

As co-director of SVSU’s Gerstacker Fellowship, a leadership development program for K-12 educators, Wierda has traveled to visit classrooms in China, Finland and elsewhere. This fall, she is leading a project that will bring 24 education students from China’s Shanghai Normal University – which prepares 85 percent of teachers for that city of 24 million – to campus. They will participate in a week-long exchange with SVSU education faculty, and will be paired with teachers from the Saginaw Township and Swan Valley school districts for field experience.

Prior to SVSU, Wierda enjoyed a distinguished career in K-12 education.  Following five years as a classroom teacher in Ohio and Michigan, she served as an elementary school principal for a combined 11 years in Merrill and Saginaw Township schools before moving into other administrative roles.  

After serving as an assistant superintendent for Saginaw Township and Bay City Public Schools, Wierda concluded her K-12 career as superintendent in Bay City, a post she held for five years. She currently serves as chair of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance’s education council and is one of three leaders for its STEM Impact Initiative.

Wierda completed a bachelor’s degree at Bucknell University, a master’s degree at Michigan State University, and additional graduate course work at SVSU.

The Rush Lectureship recognizes and rewards SVSU faculty and staff who, by their creation or development of significant scholarly or artistic work, have distinguished themselves and brought recognition to the University.

Thomas and Hilda Rush of Midland created the Rush Endowment as part of SVSU's Campaign for Distinction.  Thomas Rush served on the Board of Control from 1991 to 2000.  A retired orthopedic surgeon who served in several leadership roles as a physician in Midland, he also was a member of the SVSU Foundation Board of Directors.

Hilda Rush has had a long and distinguished career as a professional office and business manager in the health care field.  She was a founding member of the Midland Practice Managers' Association and the Michigan Orthopaedic Group Management Association.

October 3, 2014

SVSU Theatre Presents ‘Grapes of Wrath’

Saginaw Valley State University will produce the play, “The Grapes of Wrath,” to celebrate the novel’s 75th anniversary.

The play won a 1990 Tony Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award. It follows the Joad family in their journey from the dust bowl of Oklahoma. Almost 40 SVSU students from a variety of majors make up the cast.

After losing their farm, Ma Joad and ex-convict Tom Joad lead their family to California to look for work. The Joads deal with death and deprivation along the way and are disappointed by the realities of the Great Depression upon reaching their destination. The show exhibits the essential goodness and strength that reside in the hearts and minds of the "common man."

“I think the story is extremely relevant for today's audience and will strike a chord with them,” said David Rzeszutek, director of the play and an SVSU assistant professor of theatre.

John Steinbeck published the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel in 1939. The story was adapted for Broadway by Frank Galati in 1990, starring Gary Sinise. The 1940 film was directed by John Ford and starred Henry Fonda.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15 through Saturday, Oct. 18; a matinee is planned for 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19. All shows are held in SVSU’s Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. Tickets cost $13 for the general public and $10 for senior citizens and students.

For more information or to order tickets, contact the Box Office at (989) 964-4261 or visit

October 2, 2014

SVSU gives science award to Vassar student with plans to own family farm

Saginaw Valley State University sophomore and Vassar native Landon Zwerk recently received the school’s S.K. Yun Science Award, given annually to one or more SVSU students showing enthusiasm for studying natural science.

“I knew it would be cool to win, but I didn’t understand the magnitude of it until I received the award,” said Zwerk, who earned a $500 check as part of the accomplishment.

Holly Little, SVSU lecturer of biology, nominated Zwerk for his work on an assignment given during her fall 2013 plants and civilization course. Zwerk was tasked with presenting a report on the journey of a crop from its roots in the soil to its role economically, nutritionally and culturally.

Little, in her nomination letter, described Zwerk’s efforts as “beyond my expectation.” His report centered on how sugar is extracted from sugar beets. The assignment led him to tour a Michigan Sugar plant for research.

Zwerk, a management major, was familiar with the crop before his assignment. His father and two other relatives own Vassar-based Zwerk & Sons Farms, a 7,000-acre operation that farms sugar beats, wheat, corn and beans.

Zwerk has worked multiple jobs at the family establishment. “I like going to work every day,” he said of his outside-of-school activity. “There’s always something to do there, even in the winter.”

While Zwerk describes himself as “the lowest guy on the totem pole right now,” one day he plans to own the family business. He would become the fourth generation in his family to manage the company.

Zwerk expects his SVSU education will help him achieve that goal. The S.K. Yun Science Award and its $500 check, meanwhile, will help him pay for tuition, books and other fees associated with that education.

The S.K. Yun Science Award is named in memory of S.K. Yun, an SVSU physics professor from 1969 until his death in 1994. Yun was known for his research in theoretical high-energy physics.

“I was very grateful,” Zwerk said about receiving the award. “It was an honor to represent the Yun family and the university.”

October 2, 2014

Consumers Energy Donation Promotes STEM Education to SVSU Students

Saginaw Valley State University has received a gift from the Consumers Energy Foundation to support academic programs with an emphasis on adding engineering talent to the STEM pipeline. Consumers officials presented the check to SVSU Friday, Sept. 26.

“Our Promise is to care for the Michigan communities we serve,” said Dennis Dobbs, vice president of generation engineering and services for Consumers Energy. “That starts with having a ready workforce with the skills and talents needed to deliver on our Promise. Our partnership with SVSU will assure that the talent pipeline remains full and can connect the dots between high school students interested in a STEM curriculum with SVSU and ultimately Consumers Energy.”

The $25,000 donation will fund the Consumers Energy Engineering Talent Development Program at SVSU. The initiative is intended to develop a pipeline of electrical engineers to meet the region's energy industry needs. It will involve recruiting potential engineering students out of high school, promoting energy design projects by SVSU students, and connecting those students with opportunities at Consumers Energy over two years.

“We are committed to preparing highly qualified graduates to meet the needs of employers in the Great Lakes Bay Region and throughout Michigan,” said SVSU President Donald Bachand. “We are highly appreciative of this gift from Consumers Energy, as it will assist our students as they pursue degrees in our very demanding engineering programs.”

Consumers Energy also contributed $25,000 to support the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum at SVSU. Both gifts are part of SVSU's “Talent. Opportunity. Promise” fundraising campaign; for more information, visit

The Consumers Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Consumers Energy. It provides funding for a variety of areas including education, community, civic and cultural development, social services, the environment, and emerging issues. For more information, visit

October 1, 2014

SVSU pianist joined by clarinetist in concert

Saginaw Valley State University’s Carl Angelo, artist in piano and organ, will perform a piano recital Wednesday, Oct. 8 in SVSU's Rhea Miller Recital Hall. He will be joined by clarinetist Kip Franklin for the concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Winner of the 1987 American Guild of Organists Young Artist Competition in Indianapolis, Angelo has worked as a soloist and collaborative musician on piano and organ across the United States.

Angelo is the organist at First Presbyterian Church of Flint. He has performed with soloists and chamber ensembles, including a 2-piano concert with Saginaw pianist Catherine McMichael and as guest pianist with the Valley Winds woodwind quintet. Angelo has also appeared with violin virtuoso Elizabeth Pitcairn and with opera tenor Paul Spensor. Angelo has accompanied choruses featuring conductor Vance George, director emeritus of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus; and Craig Jessop, former director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

For more information, please contact the SVSU Department of Music at or (989) 964-4159.

October 1, 2014

SVSU Hosts Gilbertson Hall Building-Naming Ceremony

SVSU Hosts Gilbertson Hall Building-Naming Ceremony

Saginaw Valley State University will host a building-naming ceremony for Eric. R. Gilbertson Hall Monday, Oct. 13 at 10 a.m., as the facility previously known as the Regional Education Center is formally re-named.

The building serves as an example of the dramatic growth seen at SVSU during Gilbertson's presidency.  It opened in August 2003, having cost $28 million to construct the 130,000 square foot facility.

The ceremony will include remarks by Gilbertson’s two children, Sara and Seth, who both are SVSU graduates. Other speakers include Jerome Yantz, who has served on SVSU’s Board of Control since 2001; In-Soo Lee, president of the University of Suwon in South Korea, and Chuan Lee, president of Ming Chuan University in Taiwan; Elyse Ledy, a 2013 graduate of SVSU; and Donald Bachand, president of SVSU. Jeff Martin, chair of the Board of Control will serve as master of ceremonies.

When Gilbertson arrived in 1989, SVSU's enrollment stood at 5,915 students; it increased to 10,245 at the time he retired.  The number of students living on campus rose more than fourfold, from 616 residents in 1996 to more than 2,700 in recent years.

SVSU's physical campus saw perhaps the most dramatic transformation under Gilbertson's leadership, tripling in size to more than 1.5 million square feet of building space. In addition to student housing, major new construction projects during his tenure included Curtiss Hall and the Performing Arts Center in 1996, the Doan Science East building in 2001, the Student Center and Fitness Center in 2003, and the Health and Human Services building in 2010. In addition, Zahnow Library and Pioneer Hall saw major expansions.

Private fundraising advanced under Gilbertson, as well; the market value of SVSU's endowment increased more than twenty-fold and currently stands at nearly $77 million.

Following a sabbatical, Gilbertson returned this fall as an executive-in-residence to teach courses in leadership and administration, and in constitutional law; he also serves as an advisor to SVSU’s moot court program.

The ceremony is open to the public. A reception will follow. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP online at

A number of parking restrictions will be in place throughout the day of the ceremony, Monday, Oct. 13.  A tent will be erected over parking lot G-1, so no parking will be available in that lot.  Some parking will be available for faculty, staff, students and visitors in parking lots G-2, G-3 and H. University Police will be present at the entrances to the parking lots to direct traffic. Should those lots become full, overflow will be directed to the J parking lots.

October 1, 2014

Technology Update for October

By Jennifer Paradise

It's October!

Hopefully you've gotten into the swing of things for Fall semester. As a follow-up to August's Technology Update, we have some new information about two systems on campus. ClearPass, the system for managing devices on the wireless, has been in use for a few weeks now. Also PaperCut, the print management and wireless printing service, is now available as well.

If you're interested in either product, or want additional information, follow the links below.

ClearPass, | ClearPass Registration Guide


If you have questions about either system, contact the IT Support Center at x4225,, or stop in and see us in Curtiss 150.

September 30, 2014

SVSU convenes K-12 exchange program between China, local schools

Saginaw Valley State University, three local K-12 school districts and a high school in China are orchestrating a student and teacher exchange program in hopes of learning from each other's educational systems.

Eight students, four teachers and the principal from Chongqing's Friends High School are visiting the Great Lakes Bay Region before departing Oct. 4.

The Chinese delegation arrived Sept. 22, when the visitors were paired with host families from the participating K-12 schools.

Bay City Public Schools, specifically Western Middle and Western High School, have served as the hosts during the visit of the Chinese delegation.

On Oct. 18, a return visit connected to the partnership between SVSU and the Nan'an District's schools in Chongqing, China is planned. This exchange will involve three teachers and two administrators from Bay City Western Middle and High School along with eight Western High School students; four elementary school teachers from the Frankenmuth School District; and two teachers from Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District’s Career Center. The visit to Chongqing will be for a 2-week program.

Robert Maurovich, co-director of SVSU's Gerstacker Fellowship Program along with Carolyn Wierda, said the idea for a 2-year exchange program was born during a 2012 visit to China by the university's Gerstacker Fellowship, a K-12 teacher and administrator leadership development initiative.

“The idea is this exchange program could be a transforming experience for the students and teachers as they learn about a culture and educational system on the other side of the world,” said Maurovich, who will join the delegation visiting China in October.

When the Gerstacker Fellowship Program Fellows visited Friends High School, they learned it is a high-achieving institution with over a 100-year history serving 4,000 students in grades 6 to 12.

Before the group departs, the delegation from China will have toured SVSU, K-12 classrooms across the region, as well as local industries including Dow Corning Corp. Their 2-week itinerary also involves visiting Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, the Bay City State Recreation Area, the Dow Gardens, as well as a Saginaw Spirit hockey game.

Maurovich said a similar exchange experience is planned for the schools in 2015.

“SVSU's role has been as the convener, to bring everyone to the table and see how we can make this happen,” Maurovich said. “We have the expertise and know what it takes to put together a trip like this.”

Maurovich said the initiative could provide a template for future exchange programs.

“We hope to parlay this so that more school districts will have the opportunity to do this later on,” he said.

September 23, 2014

SVSU alum earns competitive scholarship while attending University of Louisville dentistry school

A Saginaw Valley State University graduate has received a highly competitive scholarship that will cover $200,000 to $300,000 of her costs in dental school.

Logan Schuiteman, who earned her SVSU bachelor’s degree in biology in May, now is enrolled at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. There, she plans to graduate with a doctor of dental medicine degree in 2018.

A Rogers City native, Schuiteman learned in September that she was awarded the National Health Service Corps scholarship, which will pay for at least two years’ worth of the costs associated with tuition, books, uniforms and equipment. The program also includes a monthly stipend to help cover living expenses. Schuiteman said she might also apply for a third year of support from the scholarship.

In return, she will “repay” the program by working in the dental field at an under-served community for the same number of years that the scholarship covers her expenses.

Schuiteman called the scholarship “a blessing.”

“I felt an overwhelming feeling of relief that I’m not going to be so much in debt when I graduate,” Schuiteman said of learning she was a recipient.

Only a select few earn the scholarships. In 2013, 180 of 1,739 applicants received the support. The National Health Service Corps has yet to finish awarding its 2014 recipients.

Heidi Lang, SVSU’s pre-health professions advisor, called Schuiteman’s accomplishment “significant.”

“That (scholarship) is not something they routinely give out,” Lang said. “I’m not speechless she got it though. I’m speechless because I’m so excited for her.”

Schuiteman, a 2010 Rogers City High School graduate, said she knew early on in her SVSU education that she wanted to pursue dentistry.

“I wanted a job where I help people and still have time to have a family,” she said. “I was really drawn to the idea that I could be my own boss and set my own hours. You don’t usually get to do that in the medical field.”

She said her direction professionally was solidified while at SVSU, where the close 1-on-1 relationships with professors and instructors played a key role in her preparation for the next stage of her education.

“I knew I could go to them for help in my studies,” Schuiteman said. “They really knew me and knew my work ethic. That really came through in the strong letters of recommendation they provided, too.”

Schuiteman received acceptance letters from five dentistry schools before making her selection earlier this year.

“When it came down to applying to schools, I really wanted to stay in the Midwest, so Louisville was a reach for me,” she said. “After touring all the schools, Louisville was the choice. It’s a beautiful school with a great clinical review, and great in terms of research if I wanted to go in that direction.”

Whichever direction Schuiteman may take, one of her advocates at SVSU is confident the student will find success.

“She’s made a great mark everywhere she’s gone,” Lang said.

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