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February 18, 2020

SVSU Board adds women’s lacrosse as varsity sport, grants tenure to 12 faculty

The Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control approved adding women’s lacrosse as a varsity sport, competing in NCAA Division II, during the Board’s regular meeting Monday, Feb. 17.

Lacrosse is the fastest-growing college sport in the nation, according to the NCAA, and it is increasingly popular in Michigan. Over the past three years, the number of high school girls lacrosse programs in the state has increased from 120 to 180. SVSU has offered lacrosse as a club sport since 2010. 

SVSU plans to start its intercollegiate women’s lacrosse program for the 2021-22 academic year and will compete in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), which currently has 6 schools competing in the sport. With the addition of lacrosse, SVSU will offer 9 men’s sports and 11 women’s sports.

Braddock Field at SVSU will be converted from natural grass to a synthetic turf surface as part of preparations to introduce women’s lacrosse; it will continue to be the home field for SVSU’s men’s and women’s soccer teams, as well.

The Board also granted tenure to 12 faculty members, effective July 1. They are:

  • Lisa Brewer, occupational therapy
  • Jill Brown, occupational therapy
  • Maribel Colorado-Garcia, Spanish
  • Rachel Darr, kinesiology
  • Samantha Deere, kinesiology
  • Micah DelVecchio, economics
  • Poonam Dharam, computer science
  • Cynthia Hupert, nursing
  • Matthew Mitchell, social work
  • Christine Noller, health sciences
  • Chatdanai Pongpatipat, marketing
  • Tina Thornton, nursing 

In other action, the Board:

  • approved the Board’s meeting schedule for 2020-21.
  • adopted revised Board of Control bylaws.
  • appointed a nominating committee for May Board elections.
  • requested conveyance of property and accepted obligations for Curtiss Hall. The bonds for the building, constructed in 1996, have been paid in full, and the State Building Authority has transferred ownership to SVSU.

February 18, 2020

Community backs SVSU business college expansion, providing $15.6M for fundraising campaign

The business community demonstrated its strong commitment to investing in the Great Lakes Bay Region’s future during a $15.6 million fundraising campaign supporting a building expansion expected to benefit generations of Saginaw Valley State University business students and grow regional businesses.
SVSU will host a dedication ceremony Monday, Feb. 24 for the $25.4 million, 38,500-square-foot addition to SVSU’s Scott L. Carmona College of Business.
The facility soon will be utilized by students and local business partners alike, providing them access to state-of-the-art facilities and technology fit for Fortune 500 companies. The investment in the future offered by those resources inspired donations — from alumni, friends of the university, local foundations and the business community — for SVSU’s “First for Business” campaign, helping the SVSU Foundation exceed its $15 million fundraising goal by $600,000. In total, 27 gifts topped $100,000.
“SVSU prides itself on serving as a resource for the region, and businesses are counting on us to develop both a deep talent pool of professionals as well as programs that can power those companies to success,” said Don Bachand, SVSU president.
“The overwhelmingly positive response from our business community and donors shows their faith in SVSU’s ability to deliver these resources. Our SVSU family is grateful for that faith, and we are excited to strengthen our partnerships with this new resource.”
The campaign’s largest gift was offered by the Scott Carmona family. Carmona, an SVSU alumnus and owner of Bay City-based Sunrise National Distributors, Inc., said the donation was a decision made by his family, including his wife, Nancy, and their two sons, Eric and Ryan.
“We are helping students achieve what they can achieve,” Scott Carmona said. “If they can achieve that with scholarships or a better facility or with more professors — and we are in a position to help them do that — then we are going to do that. If I can do my part to help, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Among the other business leaders who contributed to the campaign was Dick Garber, president of Garber Automotive Group. Garber said his contribution was inspired in part by the community-minded values that define SVSU business students.
“They come out with the understanding of the importance of people in industry today, and how important character is, which is a fundamental value of the university that coincides and complements what Garber is all about,” he said.
“They are a big part of the future of our business. To have our local university expand their business school: that is going to be attractive to local businesses and attractive to businesses outside the area. We help the university, we help our community, we help ourselves.”
Kimberly Norris, vice president of administration at Saginaw-based Glastender, Inc., served as co-chair of SVSU’s “First for Business” campaign as well as chair of the SVSU Foundation Board of Directors.
“We have strong leadership in the Great Lakes Bay Region who pull together to support what is best for our community,” said Norris, a two-time graduate of the university.
“SVSU has established a strong relationship with businesses in our community by demonstrating the desire to partner with us — whether it be to provide qualified graduates for our job openings or serving as a resource to us through programs like the Stevens Center for Family Business. It is clear that SVSU has made a commitment to us, and in return, business leaders gladly supported the Scott L. Carmona College of Business expansion project.”
Along with the fundraising campaign, the building addition was supported by $9.8 million in funding from the State of Michigan.
The expansion will create additional space to house the academic college’s classrooms, offices and business programs. The new space will include state-of-the-art technology such as analytics labs and Bloomberg Trading terminals, which tracks stock data in real time.
Planners say the upgrades will provide students with technology used by Fortune 500 companies, deepen connections between the business community and the talent pool developed at the university, along with establishing a business degree from SVSU as an industry gold standard.
“The success of this campaign was an incredible team effort by our Foundation board and volunteers,” said Andy Bethune, executive director of the SVSU Foundation.
“Our special thanks to campaign co-chairs Morrie Stevens Sr., Bill Zehnder and Kim Norris for their leadership. We could not have done this without them.”

February 18, 2020

SVSU student-musicians to showcase talents at Wednesday concert

Musical talent and skill will be on display in Saginaw Valley State University’s Rhea Miller Recital Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. during a recital featuring SVSU music majors.
This event is free and open to the public.
Five music majors will perform six musical pieces using vocals and a variety of instruments including trumpet, piano, guitar and euphonium.
Performing the song “Conversation” by Clare Grundman will be students Alessandra Dronch, of Fremont, on trumpet; and Jeremy Weaver, of Reese, on piano. Grundman has composed scores for film, radio, and television as well as several compositions for chamber ensemble and orchestra.
Seth Bearden, a baritone from Fife Lake, will be singing “Wick” from the 1991 Broadway musical, “The Secret Garden.”
Chelsey Diedrich, a mezzo soprano from Saginaw, will be singing “I Hate Men” from the 1948 Broadway musical, “Kiss Me, Kate.” Diedrich will be accompanied by Cheryl Cheger-Timmon on piano.
Jared Conner, of Otisville, on guitar will be performing a musical piece originally written for violin by 18th-century German composer Johann Sebastian Bach.
Conner will also be playing guitar for a performance of “Lágrima” by 19th-century Spanish composer Francisco Tárrega.
Mason Szagesh, of Vassar, will be playing the euphonium during a performance of “Exit the Foundry.”
For more information about the Wednesday recital, call SVSU's Department of Music at (989) 964-4159 or visit

February 13, 2020

SVSU theatre production about 1918 train disaster explores love, loss, and hope

A cheerful eulogy exploring the nature of performance, self and tragedy will be the focus of the upcoming Saginaw Valley State University production of “Roustabout: The Great Circus Train Wreck!”
Performances will run Wednesday through Saturday, Feb. 19-22, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 23, at 3 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.
“Roustabout” tells the story of the 1918 crash that injured and killed members of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, at the time one of the largest circuses in the country. The show combines historical events and fiction to resurrect the stories of circus performers who met their fate when an American military train plowed through a circus train outside of Chicago in 1918.
David Rzeszutek, associate professor of theatre, will direct the play. He most recently served in the same role in the SVSU productions of "Proof" last year and "The Servant of Two Masters" in 2018.
Rzeszutek said audiences at "Roustabout" should expect a show they have not seen the likes of at SVSU.
“It is a dark, jarring comedy that is essentially about love, loss, and hope,” he said. “There will be times that the audience will not know what is going on, but if they play along and go for the ride, it all comes together in the end.”
Along with Rzeszutek's direction, the production received inspiration from another industry professional. In January, 38 SVSU students engaged in a “movement workshop” with Jay Torrence, the playwright of “Roustabout.” Movement workshops are designed to help actors explore physical methods such as stage blocking, weight and space to communicate character to the audience. 
“One of Jay's main points about this show is to honor the performers and for the actors to be vulnerable,” Rzeszutek said of the lessons learned during Torrence's visit.
The SVSU production’s lighting design was created by Jaden O'Berry, a theatre major from Flint who won a lighting design competition at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Region III Festival in January.
Tickets for “Roustabout: The Great Circus Train Wreck!” are available to purchase online for $15 at

February 12, 2020

'Taste of Soul' festival brings SVSU, community together through food, music

With a mouth-watering menu of “soul food,” Saginaw Valley State University will host its 12th annual “Taste of Soul” food festival Wednesday, Feb. 19, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Marketplace at Doan cafeteria on campus.
“Soul food” staples such as ribs, fried okra, candied yams, and potato salad will be available, along with fan favorites such as Southern pound cake and pecan tarts offered by Mamie Thorns, SVSU's special assistant to the president for Diversity Programs.
As a special annual event, the SVSU Office of Diversity Programs — in collaboration with SVSU's Marketplace at Doan and University Communications — bring together various traditional “soul food” recipes prepared by SVSU faculty and staff, SVSU Dining Services, and local chefs from the Great Lakes Bay Region.
An all-you-can-eat ticket for admission to “A Taste of Soul” costs $9.75. The public is welcomed to attend.
“Come and enjoy a soulful, relaxing, fun-filled event,” Thorns said.
This year, the Black History Month event’s theme is “Celebrating Another Decade in a Soul Food Way.”
The festival will feature culinary guests, the Men and Women of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, who will be preparing entrees and desserts. Founded in 1867, it is the oldest African-American church in Saginaw.
Rev. Dennis Laffoon, pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church, and Jordan Edwards, will provide jazz music during the event.
For more information about “A Taste of Soul," call SVSU's Office of Diversity Programs office at (989) 964-4068.
The following foods will be available at the event:
  • Baked chicken
  • Banana pudding
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Candied yams
  • Catfish
  • Coca-Cola Cake
  • Collard greens
  • Corn bread
  • Fried cabbage and bacon
  • Fried chicken wings
  • Fried corn
  • Fried okra
  • Gumbo and white rice
  • Jay’s baked beans
  • Lemon meringue cake
  • Mac and cheese
  • Marbled fudge cake
  • Peach cobbler
  • Pecan tarts
  • Potato salad
  • Red beans and rice
  • Red velvet cake
  • Ribs
  • Rolls
  • Salad bar
  • Smothered pork chops
  • Southern pound cake
  • Southern green beans
  • Sweet potato pie
  • Sweet tea
  • Yellow pound cake


February 11, 2020

After earning more national recognition, SVSU-produced literary art magazine to share latest edition at Saginaw event Thursday

A Saginaw Valley State University-produced literary art magazine, Still Life, was 2-for-2 for its first two issues when it came to earning top recognition from American Scholastic Press Association judges. Now producers of the magazine — which features creative writing and imagery submitted by Bay and Saginaw county residents — are planning a public release party for its the third issue this week.
For its second issue, Still Life recently was announced as one of 114 publications nationally to receive a first-place designation in the magazine category for the American Scholastic Press Association's annual contest. Still Life received the same distinction for its first issue, published in 2017.
“As a writer, you want to know that you’re being heard and that your stories are being told,” said Chris Giroux, the SVSU associate professor of English who serves as the faculty editor of the magazine along with Hideki Kihata, SVSU professor of art, and Helen-Raica Klotz, director of the SVSU Writing Center.
“This award shows that others believe what our writers are saying is meaningful,” Giroux said.
For the third — and latest — issue of Still Life, the publication staff will host a release party Thursday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. at the Saginaw Art Museum, 1126 N. Michigan in Saginaw. The release party also will feature an open mic night for poetry.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Still Life magazine is a publication dedicated to providing Bay and Saginaw county community members an opportunity to share their creativity. The publication — produced yearly by the SVSU Writing Center — features poetry, other creative writing pieces and photography. The publication is intended to capture the essence of the region's people, places and relationships, producers say.
Copies of Still Life can be found at Bay City’s Alice and Jack Wirt Library, Saginaw’s Butman-Fish Branch Library, and SVSU’s Writing Center. The publication also is available digitally at
Originally supported by a grant from the SVSU Center for Academic Innovation, Still Life is generously funded by Saginaw neurologist and author Debasish Mridha.
Although the Still Life submission deadline is July 15 of each year, the publication accepts submissions year-round. 


February 10, 2020

SVSU plans job fair featuring manufacturing and information technology industries

On Wednesday, Feb. 12, Saginaw Valley State University will host its annual Manufacturing and Information Technology Job Fair from noon to 2 p.m. in the first floor hallway of Pioneer Hall.
This employment fair — along with the other seven employment fairs hosted by SVSU's Career Services office — is free and open to the public.
This event is sponsored by Amigo Mobility International, Consumers Energy, Hemlock Semiconductor, Magline and Nexteer Automotive. Over 30 companies are registered to attend including Chemical Bank, Frankenmuth Insurance, MidMichigan Health, Morley and Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans.
Employers are looking to fill internships, co-ops and full-time positions, organizers say.
Thomas Barnikow, SVSU’s interim associate director of Career Services, offered two tips for individuals planning to attend Wednesday:
“No. 1: Prepare your 30-second 'elevator pitch' to deliver to employers when they ask you to tell them about who you are,” Barnikow said.
“No. 2: Research the organizations that will be at the event ahead of time. Employers will ask you what you know about their company and why you are interested in working for them.”
A list of employers expected to attend is available online at
Professional attire is recommended for all attendees.

February 10, 2020

Award-winning author to examine links between border regimes, literature during SVSU talk

An award-winning author will connect the politics of border regimes with contemporary world literature as part of a presentation at Saginaw Valley State University next week.
Angela Naimou, an associate professor of English at Clemson University, will make her presentation Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 4 p.m. in SVSU’s Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
The presentation, titled “Distressed Futures: Border Regimes and Global Forms of World Literature,” will explore the links between the use — and abuse — of time by border regimes and conceptions of time in literary texts from nations including the U.S. and Mexico. The literary texts explored during the talk will include Sara Uribe’s “Antígona González” from 2012 and Hassan Blasim’s “The Nightmares of Carlos Fuentes” from 2014.
Naimou herself is an author. Her book from 2015, “Salvage Work: U.S. and Caribbean Literatures Amid the Debris of Legal Personhood,” won the 2016 Book Prize from the Association for the Study of Arts of the Present. The text also earned her a 2015 Honorable Mention for the William Sanders Scarborough Award from the Modern Language Association.
Naimou currently is writing a book on contemporary literature and international migration policies. She also is serving as co-editor of a critical journal, “Diaspora and Literary Studies,” for Cambridge University Press.
Naimou received a Ph.D. as well as a master’s degree in English from Cornell University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan.
Naimou’s appearance is part of SVSU’s Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists Series.
The lecture also is part of SVSU's Barstow Excellence in Teaching Humanities Seminar, which was created to promote excellence in teaching and recognize scholarship in the humanities. The seminar was established through a gift from The Barstow Foundation, which supports education, health and human services agencies and humanitarian causes with emphasis on the greater Midland area.

February 10, 2020

Grants boost small business-supporting state agency housed in SVSU campus

After recently opening a regional branch on Saginaw Valley State University’s campus, a small business-supporting state agency will receive a boost of its own thanks to $196,000 in grant funding from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.
The 2-year grant will support the 15 counties serviced by Michigan Small Business Development Center from its SVSU-based branch office.
The new office also recently received a $25,000 grant from the Kochville Township Downtown Development Authority as well as a $20,000 grant from Northeast Michigan Council of Governments.
“We’re grateful to the Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow Foundation for their generous support,” said J.D. Collins, state director of Michigan Small Business Development Center.
“This is the type of generosity that fuels public-private partnerships and drives regional economic development. The support we receive from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, Kochville Township Downtown Development Authority and Northeast Michigan Council of Governments enables our team to provide high-quality, no-cost business consulting services.”
The support will aid Michigan Small Business Development Center in services that include consulting, training and market research.
Beginning in November, SVSU became home to both the Northeast Michigan and Great Lakes Bay regional offices for the Michigan Small Business Development Center, which provides consulting, training and secondary market research for small businesses. The Great Lakes Bay Region-based office previously was located at Delta College.
While operations already have begun at its SVSU headquarters, the Michigan Small Business Development Center staff there will move into the building expansion at the university’s Scott L. Carmona College of Business facility later in the winter academic semester. A $25 million, 38,500-square foot expansion was created in part to support regional business-boosting agencies such as the Michigan Small Business Development Center.
The SVSU-based Michigan Small Business Development Center office serves small businesses in the counties of Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Bay, Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Midland, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon and Saginaw.
In those counties, the Michigan Small Business Development Center in 2018 helped 40 new businesses start, helped create or retain 338 jobs, and generated $5.9 million in new capital investment for small business. In total, 590 small businesses were served by the agency in those 15 counties.
For more information about the Michigan Small Business Development Center office at SVSU, please call (989) 964-4908 or email
About the Michigan Small Business Development Center: The Michigan Small Business Development Center provides consulting, business education, market research and technology commercialization to new and existing businesses throughout Michigan’s 83 counties. Services are available through the support of the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may access the services of their nearest Michigan Small Business Development Center office by visiting

February 7, 2020

SVSU Recognizes National School Counselor Week

As part of National School Counselor Week, we are recognizing some of our stellar SVSU alumni. Samantha Brunnschweiler is a 2005 Cardinal alumna who inspires and empowers her students at Haslett High School. She earned her B.A. in Special Education from SVSU and then went on to earn her M.A. in School Counseling from CMU. “SVSU’s holistic education program allowed me to gain experiences K-12, which helped to shape the direction that led me to school counseling,” she said.

Her dedication to fostering student success and development fuels her passion for counseling. “One of the many things I enjoy about the school counseling realm is that each day presents itself with a different way to impact students. While a school counselor doesn’t see students on a regular basis like a classroom teacher, the opportunity to celebrate the small successes that can go unnoticed is second to none,” she said.

Brunnschweiler remains connected with her alma mater and continues the legacy of Red Pride. “As a school counselor, my district continues to partner with SVSU. We are grateful for the admission representatives that take the time to help our students,” she said. As a former SVSU student-athlete on the women’s tennis team, her engagement with Cardinal athletics has come full circle as well. Brunnschweiler and her husband coach Haslett’s tennis teams, and one of their former players is a standout 2019 graduate of the current SVSU tennis team.

The ability to help students grow and the challenge of finding the best way to support each individual student keeps Brunnschweiler inspired in her career. “Working as a school counselor requires great flexibility in thinking and approach. There are countless solutions for any given question in this field; however, the challenge is finding which combination of solutions provides the greatest amount of academic and socioeconomic support for a student,” she said. This week we celebrate the hard work and commitment of our dedicated school counselors, especially alumni like Brunnschweiler.  

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