September 20, 2018
With her commitment to community service and willingness to help others, the late Bobby Ann Robinson made a lasting positive impression on colleagues who worked alongside the educator at Saginaw Valley State University.
Her family and SVSU honored that legacy Monday, Sept. 17 by naming a space on campus after the Saginaw native and onetime SVSU educator with the dedication of The Dr. Bobby Ann Robinson Presentation Hall, located in SVSU's Groening Commons.
“She would never refuse a call to serve,” said Donald Bachand, SVSU's president. “I knew I could always count on her because she never gave a second thought to helping others. She had a passion for her students and her university.”
Robinson, an adjunct faculty member in SVSU's Department of English from 1998-2010, was remembered fondly by friends and family during a dedication ceremony outside the presentation hall now featuring her name emblazoned in silver lettering above the entrance. The naming recognition was part of a gift commitment from her sister, Ruby Robinson, an SVSU alumna.
“SVSU is like a family to us,” Robinson said. “I wanted to honor Bobby's memory here.”
The gift from Ruby Robinson will support the SVSU First For Business campaign, which was recently initiated to support construction of a 38,500-square-foot expansion to house the university's Scott L. Carmona College of Business & Management.
“We are grateful to Ruby for her generous support of SVSU and deeply appreciate that she has chosen SVSU to honor her sister's legacy” said Andrew J. Bethune, executive director of the SVSU Foundation.
Bobby Ann Robinson's influence on the community reached beyond her work at SVSU. She also worked for the former Buena Vista School District in Saginaw County as a teacher and administrator. She served as executive director of the Saginaw-Bay Substance Abuse Services Commission. Robinson also was a member of the NAACP as well as Zonta International, a global organization empowering women through service and advocacy.
Robinson, who visited dozens of nations in her lifetime, shared her love for traveling as the owner and operator of Robinson's Family Travel until her death in 2015 at the age of 75.
She was a lover of poetry "who thought everyone should be a writer," her sister said.
Family and friends at Monday's ceremony recalled Robinson's inspiring mantra for her students: “Go for it. Take a chance. Keep on flying.”