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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.