June 16, 2022
Three Saginaw Valley State University faculty and staff members were honored at the 2022 Heart of the City awards banquet in Saginaw for their service to the Great Lakes Bay region.
Deborah Huntley, provost and vice-president of academic affairs, received the Outstanding Leadership Award recognizing those who demonstrate a commitment to bettering the Great Lakes Bay Region through leadership and community service.
As provost, Huntley serves as SVSU’s chief academic officer and is responsible for curriculum development and implementation for all undergraduate and graduate programs. Huntley serves on the board of directors for the SVSU Foundation and Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, as well as United Way of Saginaw County and the Ascension Field Neuroscience Institute.
Ava Lewis, professor of nursing, received the Impact Turnaround Award. This award is given to individuals who have contributed to positive change within the community by partnering with others to address public issues.
Lewis has actively organized service opportunities for nursing students at SVSU and has been a member of the university’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. She also serves on the board of directors for the Saginaw County Health Department and is a nurse practitioner working with HIV/AIDS programs in Saginaw.
LaCreta Clark, professor of educational leadership and services and chair of the department, received the ministry of the year award. This award is presented to those who have bettered the Great Lakes Bay Region through ministry and community service.
In addition to teaching, Clark serves in a variety of leadership positions at SVSU, including the College of Education Diversity Taskforce, the university’s Title IX Committee and General Education Committee. Clark is an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and has served as vice-president of Saginaw African American Pastors.
The Heart of the City awards banquet began in 2017 and is held annually to recognize efforts of community service and volunteerism throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region.
The banquet is organized by the Michigan Banner, an independent news organization that reports on multicultural affairs within the Great Lakes Bay Region and surrounding areas. The publication is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.
“We understand the vitality and growth of a community depends greatly on its individuals and organizations,” said Jerome Buckley, founder and publisher of the Michigan Banner. “It gives us great pleasure to celebrate 20 years of service by recognizing the people who have demonstrated excellence in leadership through deep local understanding and outstanding initiative.”
This year’s banquet was held on June 9 at Horizons Conference Center in Saginaw.
Huntley has served as SVSU’s provost since 2014. Prior to this, she held the positions of dean of the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology and professor of chemistry. She is a recipient of the Earl L. Warrick Award for Excellence in Research. Huntley holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Cornell University.
Lewis has taught at SVSU since 1994. She is a recipient of the Roosevelt Ruffin Diversity Award, Ruben Daniels Community Service Award and the Terry Ishihara Co-Curricular Involvement Award. Lewis holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University. She obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from SVSU.
Clark has taught at SVSU since 2002. In 2017, she received the Terry Ishihara Co-Curricular Involvement Award. Clark holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Dayton.