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January 28, 2020

SVSU professor's book to focus on 'understudied' figure in black history in U.S.

Backed by a prestigious national fellowship, a Saginaw Valley State University educator hopes to inspire a new appreciation for a 19th century African-American activist whose influence touched many aspects of American culture during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.
Eric Gardner, an SVSU professor of English, recently was awarded a highly-competitive National Endowment for the Humanities research fellowship for the second time. The opportunity this time will allow him to complete research needed for a planned book about the life of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, an activist, orator and writer.
“Harper’s career — especially the critical period between 1861 and 1877 — remains surprisingly understudied, even though her efforts shaped African-American literature, abolitionism, suffrage and civil rights struggles, the temperance movement, the black press, and American lyceum culture,” Gardner said.
He said the book ideally will expand conversations on a broad range of subjects such as American literature and history, African-American literature, women’s literature and history, civil rights, print culture and public speech.
“Harper was amazing,” he said. “In an era dominated by discrimination against both African-Americans and women, she fashioned a public career as a black woman writer and activist that lasted for decades.”
Her work included poems, novels, speeches, and sketches that remain ripe for discussion in the fields of history and politics as well as literature, he said.
“Harper’s work has been the basis for rich discussions in a number of my courses, and students have asked tough questions that have pushed me to dig further into the archive and to think hard about what I’ve found,” Gardner said.
That archival research has allowed students in Gardner’s classes to be among the first in the nation to read rediscovered literary texts by early African-American writers, he said. It has also given Gardner opportunities to remind his students that he is also "always learning."
“Curiosity, research, and dialogue are at the core of good learning,” he said. “That’s why we have classrooms, libraries, and colleges — to help us work together to build communities of learners.”
He said the National Endowment for the Humanities funds will allow him to focus full-time on research and writing for the project in 2021.
Out of 1,220 people who applied for the fellowship nationally, Gardner was one of 99 people — or about 8 percent of all applicants — in the nation to receive it.
His status as a two-time recipient of the fellowship is an even more rare accomplishment.
Gardner’s first fellowship with the organization was awarded eight years ago to support the book that followed, titled “Black Print Unbound: The Christian Recorder, African American Literature, and Periodical Culture.” Published by Oxford University Press in 2015, the text can be purchased in a variety of formats from outlets such as Amazon. In 2017, the book received the Book Prize from the Research Society of American Periodicals.
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at
Gardner joined SVSU’s faculty in 1996. He received a Ph.D. in English from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign earlier that year.

January 24, 2020

SVSU hires new dean of Education to tackle Michigan’s growing teacher shortage and other challenges

Saginaw Valley State University has hired an experienced educator – with a passion both for preparing the next generation of teachers and developing individuals already leading classrooms – to serve as the new dean of the institution's College of Education.

James Tarr will join SVSU after more than three decades spent working as a teacher, researcher and faculty leader at the K-12 and higher education levels, including most recently at the University of Missouri.

Tarr said he was excited for the opportunity to join an institution with SVSU's strong reputation for empowering individuals in the education sector.

“As dean, I will support SVSU's outstanding faculty and staff in delivering high-quality programs, engaging with local communities, and producing scholarship that informs practice and addresses important societal challenges,” Tarr said.

“One of my favorite sayings is, ‘To teach is to touch the future.’ Today's college students are passionate about making a difference in the world, and a career in teaching is an essential way to cultivate a new and brighter future.”

Deborah Huntley, SVSU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said she was impressed by Tarr's experience as an administrator and his strong record of research and teaching.

“We are looking for a strong leader as we work to respond to the current and looming teacher shortage across Michigan, as well as other changes in the educational landscape,” Huntley said.

“Our College of Education has been growing in enrollment, and we want that momentum to build. We are confident Dr. Tarr has the qualities and experience we need, and we welcome him to SVSU.” 

Tarr served in various roles at the University of Missouri, which he joined as an assistant professor in 2000 and was promoted to associate professor in 2006. After earning his status as a professor of mathematics education in 2013, he served first as the associate director and later as chair of the university's Department of Learning, Teaching & Curriculum. In those roles, he oversaw expansion of online education; developed graduate programs; and advocated for policies that favored diversity and inclusion among students, faculty and staff.

He served in leadership roles for several University of Missouri programs exploring the influence of various math education approaches on students. Among those programs was a research initiative known as the COSMIC (Comparing Options in Secondary Mathematics: Investigating Curricula) project, which examined how different math education curriculums impacted teaching and learning in U.S. high schools.

As an educator, Tarr also demonstrated a passion for studying the influence of math education. He authored 65 scholarly papers and presentations that appeared in professional journals, books and academic conferences. He also served as chairperson of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics research committee from 2012-13.

Prior to joining the University of Missouri, he worked as an educator at Illinois State University, Middle Tennessee State University and as a visiting scholar at the University of Minnesota. Earlier, he gained experience in the K-12 system as a middle school and high school math teacher in Lincoln, Nebraska and St. Paul, Minnesota from 1987-1993.

Tarr received a Ph.D. in mathematics education from Illinois State University in 1997. He earned a master's degree in educational psychology and measurement from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1993; and both a bachelor's degree in mathematical sciences as well as a teaching license in math from University of Iowa in 1986 and 1987, respectively. He will join SVSU on July 1.

January 22, 2020

SVSU moot court finishes 'best year' in program's well-decorated history

The hard work and dedication of Saginaw Valley State University students culminated in the “best year ever” for the institution’s esteemed moot court program — ranked No. 17 in the U.S. — during the group’s national tournament over the weekend.
Six SVSU students were among the 160 individuals who qualified to compete in the American Moot Court Association national tournament Jan. 17-18 at Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The group collected the highest number of accolades in the program’s 10-year history at the nationals, including a fourth-place finish in one of the competition’s categories.
"This was our best year ever,” said Julie Keil, the program’s co-adviser and an associate professor of political science.
Acting as teams of two attorneys, students competing in the moot court tournament are tasked with arguing both sides of hypothetical legal cases based on real-life courtroom battles. The competition was judged based on the clarity of the students' argument, their public speaking skills, their ability to answer questions, and how well they know the law and the case.
The team of SVSU students Lindsey Mead and Justin Weller earned a fourth-place finish in the category of appellate brief writing at the national tournament. The contest involved students writing and submitting appellate briefs without the assistance of advisers.
“Justin Weller spent hours polishing the brief and formatting it to the exacting standards of the competition,” Keil said. “His hard work paid off.”
Mead also earned high praise in one of the competitions that honors individual students. She earned a 17th-place finish in the oration category, which recognizes students’ verbal argument abilities. It marked the second time she placed among the nation’s top 20 in the category at the nationals.
In the overall competition, the duo advanced deeper into the tournament than their SVSU peers. They eventually were eliminated in the round of 49.
The weekend tournament marked the third consecutive year Mead qualified for the nationals. No other students in SVSU’s moot court history had qualified more than twice. Among the few in program history who qualified twice was Weller, who served as Mead’s partner in 2019 as well.
All six SVSU students in the 2020 tournament contributed to the moot court program’s collection of accolades. In the nationals, competitors advance deeper into the tournament rounds by earning ballots, which are awarded by judges. Participants can earn up to two ballots per round. Mead and Weller received four ballots while the other two SVSU teams earned two ballots each. The eight ballots collected marks the highest total earned by SVSU in 10 consecutive appearances at the nationals.
Mead is an English major from Saginaw. Weller is a political science major from Bay City. 
The other SVSU teams featured students Justine Brabaw and Erik Byron; and Ashley French and Joshua High.
French is a political science major from Bay City. High is an accounting major from Traverse City. Brabaw is a political science major from Breckenridge. Byron is a political science major from Birch Run.
Keil gave credit to the team’s co-adviser Amy Hendrickson and supporting coaches that include SVSU moot court alumni as well as Robert Dunn, a Bay City attorney who volunteered to help the program. Hendrickson is an SVSU associate professor of law.
“All of our coaches contributed to the success of the teams,” Keil said.
The American Moot Court Association will release its latest rankings later this winter, she said. Keil is hopeful the program’s performance in the nationals will keep SVSU ranked high among the competition. The rankings are calculated based upon each program’s performance in the national championship over a three-year period. SVSU’s record number of ballots collected this year could lift the program’s status as the No. 17-ranked team, depending on how other universities shift within the rankings.
A list of the top 25-ranked teams is available online here:

January 21, 2020

SVSU Career Services to host over 100 employers at January job fair

Saginaw Valley State University will host its annual Summer Job and Internship Fair on Tuesday, Jan. 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the second floor banquet hall rooms of SVSU’s Curtiss Hall. More than 100 employers are expected to seek prospective workers in a variety of industries.
The event is free and open to the public.
Tom Barnikow, interim associate director of Career Services, said he expects the companies will be in search of “enthusiastic” workers hoping to develop through the experiential learning typically gained from the jobs offered at this particular job fair. Barnikow said, while college students typically are hired as a result of the Summer Job and Internship Fair, the public will be welcomed to attend as well.
Barnikow also encouraged all attendees to prepare for the event by:
  • Researching the list of companies who will be in attendance
  • Highlighting the top eight to 10 companies they would like to visit
  • Practicing a 30-second “elevator pitch” that best represents the attendee’s personal background, skills, and employment history
  • Printing 15 to 20 résumés
With a diverse selection of employers attending the event, Barnikow said he hopes all qualified candidates will seek employment opportunities at the Summer Job and Internship fair. Seven of over 100 employers expected in attendance include the Bavarian Inn Lodge & Restaurant, Consumers Energy, Covenant Healthcare, Independent Bank, Dow, Nexteer Automotive, and Walmart.
SVSU’s Career Services office reported that, in the last two years of SVSU job fairs, 81% of attendees that spoke with at least one company were interviewed after the job fair, and 59% of attendees that spoke with at least one company were eventually offered a job.
For more information, go to A complete list of attending employers is available there.

January 21, 2020

SVSU theatre students shine at regional competition

A group of 17 Saginaw Valley State University students and theatre faculty members took their passion for theater to the annual Kennedy Center American College Theatre Region III Festival (KCACTF) Jan. 7-12 in Madison, Wisconsin.
The event included colleges and universities from Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin participating in workshops and competitions. Numerous SVSU students walked away with awards, internship offers, valuable networks established with industry leaders as well as advice on improving their performances and theater craft.
At her first regional conference, student Jaden O’Berry won a lighting design competition for her work on the fall 2017 SVSU production of “She Kills Monsters.” The theatre major from Flint also received second place in the Tech Olympics. In Tech Olympics, five events such as lights, sound, knots, wardrobe, and scenery/carpentry are judged on time with reductions for errors and omissions.
For the second year in a row, Joshua Lloyd, a communication major from Bay City, was a recipient of the Irene Ryan Scholarship, worth up to $500. Out of 270 auditionees, Lloyd — with the help of his partner in the competition, Clayton Singer, a psychology major from Frankenmuth — advanced to the final 16 auditionees in the region.
“Attending this conference has always been a highlight of my year and has graced me with fond memories to last a lifetime,” Lloyd said. “Without it, I would not be who I am today.”
Rhiannon Hall, a theatre major from Bay City, was the recipient of the Regional Dramaturgy Award for her work on the fall 2019 SVSU production of “Proof.” Hall’s materials will be reviewed and four dramaturges from the nation will be invited to Washington D.C. to participate at the national level for the Kennedy Center.
Jessica Hurley, a theatre major from Essexvile, interviewed with seven theater companies and received valuable feedback on how to better market her work. Hurley already possesses experience in producing shows. In summer 2019, Hurley received a grant from SVSU’s Undergraduate Research Program to produce performances of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” under Rebel Theatre Co., a theatre ensemble she founded with a mission statement promising to “enact social awareness and change.”
“Besides receiving great responses and advice regarding my work, I also gained more confidence in myself, my beliefs and my ability to express those,” Hurley said. “This festival also allowed both myself and others to expand our professional network within the field.”
Abby Burgess, a theatre major from Commerce, auditioned at the Next Step auditions and received callback auditions at several theaters. Melanie Frasca, a theatre major from Waterford, also auditioned for eight theatrical companies through the Next Step auditions. The Next Steps program allows students to audition and interview at the festival with casting directors and artistic representatives of theatre companies, potential summer employers and graduate schools in the region.
Natasha Nash, a December 2019 graduate, also participated in the festival.
“The overall experience of KCACTF has further increased my drive to be a part of this industry and has aided in my pathway for which direction I want to take,” Nash said.
SVSU students participated in workshops taught by professional artists and faculty from five different states.
The following is a complete list of SVSU students who attended the festival:
  • Abby Burgess, a theatre major from Commerce
  • Joshua Lloyd, a communication major from Bay City
  • Jessica Hurley, a theatre major from Essexvile
  • Melanie Frasca, a theatre major from Waterford
  • Conner Wieland, a theatre major from Essexvile
  • Holly Houck, an international studies major from Saginaw
  • Erica Close, a theatre major from Essexvile
  • Jaden O’Berry, a theatre major from Flint
  • Rhiannon Hall, a theatre major from Bay City
  • Lucas Inman, a theatre major from Saginaw
  • Natasha Nash, a theatre major from Saginaw
  • Jared Kaufman, a communication and theatre education major from Bay City
  • Alexandra “Lexie” Schultz, a music major from Saginaw
  • Hannah Ducolon, an elementary education major from Bay City
  • Indigo Dudley, a music major from Saginaw
  • Olivia Greanias, a theatre major from Saginaw
  • Clayton Singer, a psychology major from Frankenmuth
KCACTF is a national theater program involving college students across the nation dedicated to improving the quality of theater. The festival honors excellence of overall production and presents student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships in the categories of playwriting, acting, criticism, directing, and design.

January 16, 2020

'It's a group project now;' SVSU support drives moot court program to another record year

Despite facing competition growing exponentially in size and talent, hard-driven student work ethic and a campus' support will help Saginaw Valley State University’s national tournament-bound moot court program cap off one of its most successful years ever this weekend.
“When our program started 10 years ago, we were competing against 180 teams across the country; this year, there are 467 teams and more top-level schools involved,” said Julie Keil, the founder and co-adviser of the SVSU moot court team currently ranked No. 17 nationally.
“This year, teams from elite schools such as Yale, Rutgers, Cornell and the University of Chicago have competed in moot court, for instance. In the face of that, what our program has accomplished is outstanding.”
What the program has accomplished this year: Three teams of SVSU students — each team consists of two students — will compete at the 80-team American Moot Court Association national tournament scheduled Friday and Saturday, Jan. 17-18, at Baton Rouge-based Southern University Law Center. The tournament involves teams arguing both sides of hypothetical legal cases based on real-life courtroom battles. The competition is judged based on the clarity of the students' argument, their public speaking skills, their ability to answer questions, and how well they know the law and the case.
SVSU’s moot court program has never missed a national championship qualification since Keil founded the group in 2010. This is the fourth time six students — a record number from SVSU — qualified for a national tourney. Students qualify for the nationals based on their performances during regional competitions in the fall.
The qualifying teams this year include the tandems of Justine Brabaw and Erik Byron; Ashley French and Joshua High; and Lindsey Mead and Justin Weller.
The teams’ preparation for this moment began all the way back in May 2019 when the American Moot Court Association announced details of this competitive season’s case files.
The moot court teams are formed over the summer months. The students in the fall semester then enroll in a moot court course led by Keil, an SVSU associate professor of political justice. They also meet regularly with Keil and her co-adviser, Amy Hendrickson. The group participates in a number of competitions in the fall across the nation, including the regional tournaments.
“There’s a huge time commitment from our students,” Keil said.
She was quick to also credit the SVSU community’s support for the program’s standing as one of the nation’s best.
Keil said Hendrickson’s participation as co-adviser beginning about five years ago provided a substantial boost to the program’s quality. The two former attorneys split time mentoring participants. Keil typically develops the younger students while Hendrickson works with the veterans of the group.
“It really has made all the difference,” Keil said of the support provided by Hendrickson, an SVSU associate professor of law. “Our skill sets really complement each other. She gets paid nothing for this, which shows her dedication.”
It also helps that moot court alumni return to campus to provide coaching for their successors, especially considering the growing number of students signing up to compete, Keil said. This year, 20 students participated in SVSU moot court.
She said campus administrators and colleagues also deserve credit for the program’s ongoing success.
As SVSU moot court continued to send students to the nationals each year, the resulting growth in on-campus awareness inspired more and more fellow faculty members to serve as de facto talent scouts. Her colleagues have recommended a number of the program’s top-performing students in recent years.
SVSU administrators also helped Keil sustain the program’s momentum by creating — and increasing — a budget that allows her to send students to more competitions across the country.
“It’s a group project now,” Keil said.
Among this year’s participants, Mead and Weller are competing in their second consecutive national tournament. They advanced to the round of 32 last year. Mead also qualified for the 2018 nationals. She is an English major from Saginaw. Weller is a political science major from Bay City.
French is a political science major from Bay City. High is an accounting major from Traverse City. Brabaw is a political science major from Breckenridge. Byron is a political science major from Birch Run.

January 15, 2020

Leaders in education honored as part of SVSU's 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. celebration

Three community leaders will be recognized for their advocacy for diversity and education during the 11th annual Great Lakes Bay Regional Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Saginaw Valley State University later this month.

Dave Stickles and Carolyn Wierda as well as the late Charles L. McNair were selected as the 2020 recipients of the Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Awards, given annually to leaders in the Great Lakes Bay Region who best embody the cultural ideals of Dr. King.

Stickles and Wierda will accept their awards while a family friend will accept McNair’s award on his behalf during the Great Lakes Bay Regional Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration scheduled Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. in SVSU’s Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.

The event is free and open to the public. Ruth D. Jones, who is a leader with NASA and a trailblazer in her industry, will deliver the keynote address at the event.

The three Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Award recipients will receive a $1,000 award for a charitable organization of their choice. Each recipient is honored for work performed in Bay, Midland and Saginaw counties, respectively.

McNair will be recognized as the Saginaw County recipient of the award. McNair, who died in December 2019 at the age of 85, is remembered by members of the community as a beloved educator, mentor, and friend. He worked over 50 years in education as a teacher, counselor, principal and father figure to students and educators alike. He served in a number of roles for the Saginaw Public School District. He also contributed to communities outside of the classroom. For over 30 years, he helped organize the Saginaw African Cultural Festival, which is one of the longest-running festivals celebrating African culture in the United States.

Stickles will be recognized as the Midland County recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Award. After retiring from Dow Corning Corp. in 2005 after 32 years, Stickles continued channeling his passion for STEM in part by helping to organize the annual Midland-based Sci-Fest event, which offers hands-on science activities and demonstrations for the community. He has served on the board of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America Michigan Chapter since 2000 in several roles including vice president. Stickles also has volunteered with Midland Special Olympics as an assistant basketball and softball coach. He has volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region in Midland for 34 years.

Wierda will be recognized as the Bay County recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Award. She serves as SVSU's special assistant to the president for STEM Initiatives. Before joining SVSU, she led a distinguished career in K-12 education as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. She worked as superintendent for the Bay City Public Schools district from 2003-09. Her contributions to education included her work creating the Great Lakes Bay College and Career Resource Center in 2008. Since then, more than 1,000 first-generation college students have received financial support for their education in part because of the center's support.

The Great Lakes Bay Regional Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration event also will include the presentation of regional scholarship awards by the Bay Area, Midland Area and Saginaw community foundations to high school seniors who embody Martin Luther King Jr.'s ideals.

The event is sponsored in part by the Bay Area, Midland Area and Saginaw community foundations; Delta College; Dow; the King-Chavez-Parks Initiative; local NAACP chapters; and Nexteer Automotive.

For more information about the event, contact the SVSU Office of Diversity Programs at (989) 964-4068 or visit

January 15, 2020

'Images from China' featured in SVSU art gallery exhibition

As part of an exchange program with Shenyang Aerospace University in China, Saginaw Valley State University is hosting an art exhibition featuring paintings and lacquerware that explores culture and memory, among other themes.

The artwork of Shenyang Aerospace University professors Li Shaohong and Liu Wei is on display now at the SVSU University Art Gallery, located on the first floor of SVSU’s Arbury Fine Arts Center. The exhibition, titled "Images from China," ends Friday, Feb. 7.

The community is invited to the exhibition’s reception Thursday, Jan. 16, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the gallery.

Since 2012, Shaohang has been featured in solo exhibitions at galleries in the U.S. and China. His paintings focus in part on childhood dreams and memories as well as history and cultural traditions. 

Wei specializes in lacquerware, which are objects — such as containers and tableware — decorated with intricate designs. Through his art, Wei attempts to make connections between the northern and southern Chinese cultures while focusing on the concept of fate.

Shenyang Aerospace University has an articulation agreement with the SVSU art department in graphic design, allowing Chinese students the opportunity to spend two years at SVSU. As part of this agreement, the two professors were chosen to share their artwork at SVSU.

The University Art Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The gallery is closed Monday, Jan. 20, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

For more information about the "Images from China " exhibition, visit

January 13, 2020

National thought leaders to speak during regional health conference at SVSU

Two thought leaders and change agents will headline a regional health conference at Saginaw Valley State University Friday, Jan. 24. This eleventh annual conference, titled “The Region's Health and Health Care Systems: Communities Achieving Excellence and Moving Upstream,” will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This conference will bring two world-renowned speakers to the Great Lakes Bay Region, Dr. Rishi Manchanda and Dr. Brian C. Castrucci, who will highlight their innovative discoveries and implementation strategies within public health and upstream health care.

Dr. Manchanda is a physician, author, and health care leader who currently serves as the President and CEO of HealthBegins. With this mission-driven consulting and technology firm, Dr. Manchanda has dedicated his career to helping health care and community partners improve the care and social factors of health for vulnerable populations.

On an international stage, Dr. Manchanda's 2013 TEDbook, “The Upstream Doctors,” has become recommended reading in medical schools and universities worldwide. In this book he introduced the “Upstreamists,” a new model of health care workers who improve care and equity by addressing the entire scope of patients' health-related social needs. In addition, his TED talk on the subject has reached over 1.8 million views.  

Dr. Manchanda currently serves on the board of the Beyond Flexner Alliance, on the California Future Health Workforce Commission, and was a member of the HHS Health Care Payment Learning & Action Network's Primary Care Payment Model Work Group. As a pillar in his community, he also served as the director of social medicine for a network of community health centers in south central Los Angeles, was the lead physician for homeless veterans at the Greater Los Angeles VA hospital, and was the first chief medical officer for a self-insured employer with a large rural immigrant workforce.

Dr. Castrucci, is the President and CEO of the deBeaumont Foundation, as well as an award-winning epidemiologist with 10 years of experience working in state and local health departments. The deBeaumont Foundation brings together research and practice by advancing policy, building partnerships, and strengthening the public health system. These objectives are accomplished under Dr. Castrucci's leadership through projects that include CityHealth, the BUILD Health Challenge, and the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey.

As a scholar, Dr. Castrucci has published more than 70 health care articles, with his most current work focusing on the public health needs of large cities, the need for better data systems, and public health system improvements. One of his recent articles, Meeting Individual Social Needs Falls Short of Addressing Social Determinants of Health, was featured by Health Affairs as the second-most read health affairs blog post of 2019. Dr. Castrucci also serves as an editor and contributing author to “The Practical Playbook. Public Health. Primary Care. Together,” published by Oxford University Press in 2015.

This regional health care conference is sponsored by the Mid Central Michigan Area Health Education Center, Dow, the Hospital Council of East Central Michigan, the Michigan Health Improvement Alliance, and SVSU.

The event will be held in the Ott Auditorium of Gilbertson Hall at SVSU. Registration is now open with a cost of $75 per person or $25 for students. The conference will also be simulcast at Central Michigan University and Kirtland Health Sciences Center in Grayling. Registration information is available online at

January 13, 2020

Gov. Whitmer to speak to Great Lakes Bay Economic Club at SVSU in advance of her ‘State of the State’ address

Governor Gretchen Whitmer will speak to the Great Lakes Bay Economic Club about her vision for the future of Michigan during a special meeting of the club Friday, Jan. 17 at Saginaw Valley State University. Her talk will come less than two weeks before she delivers her State of the State address on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

Gov. Whitmer is expected to provide a preview of portions of her State of the State address. Her priorities include working to ensure every Michigander has an excellent public education and a path to a good-paying job, every community has clean, safe drinking water, and everyone can drive to work or drop their kids at school safely, without blowing a tire or cracking a windshield.

Entering her second year in office, Gov. Whitmer has signed executive directives to clean up Michigan’s drinking water, end discrimination in state government based on sexual orientation and gender identity, secure equal pay for equal work, and expand opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses.

Prior to being elected governor, Whitmer served in the Michigan House of Representatives and the State Senate, where she served as the Senate Democratic Leader. 

Her visit to SVSU comes just weeks before the university is expected to publicly open its 38,500 square foot building addition for the Scott L. Carmona College of Business; the construction project received $9.8 million in state funding. A public dedication is planned for late February.

Registration for the Jan. 17 luncheon will begin at 11:30; lunch will be served at noon in SVSU’s Curtiss Hall banquet rooms. The program with Gov. Whitmer is scheduled from 12:20 to 1 p.m. More information is available at

Founded in 1978 the Great Lakes Bay Economic Club encourages the exchange of ideas on economics, business, and policy on a wide range of economic issues affecting the Great Lakes Bay Region. The club achieves this by having meetings with high-profile speakers that initiate members to interact and network allowing the cultivation and collaboration of economic knowledge.

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