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October 24, 2018

Former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara to speak at SVSU

Saginaw Valley State University is hosting a lecture by a nationally recognized attorney, who earned a reputation as one of “the nation's most aggressive and outspoken prosecutors,” according to The New York Times.

“An Evening with Preet Bharara” will feature the attorney in a moderated discussion Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms at SVSU. The event is free and open to the public. Peter Rose-Barry, SVSU's Finkbeiner Endowed Professor of Ethics, will lead the moderated discussion.

Bharara served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York court from 2009-17. He was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009. Bharara was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate later that year.

While a federal prosecutor, the office secured convictions of numerous insider trading defendants. The Civil Frauds Unit brought a number of significant civil actions alleging financial and health care fraud and collected hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements, including from Deutsche Bank, CitiMortgage, and Bank of America for fraud relating to faulty lending practices.

Under Bharara’s supervision, the office brought a series of significant and systemically revelatory public corruption cases against members of New York City and State governments. .

In 2012, Bharara was featured on the cover of TIME magazine, and appeared on its list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” He has been profiled in publications such as Bloomberg Markets, The New York Observer and Vanity Fair.

Bharara graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with an A.B. in government and with a J.D. from the Columbia Law School, where he was a member of the Columbia Law Review. He currently is a member of New York University's School of Law faculty as a distinguished scholar in residence.

Bharara's appearance at SVSU is part of the university's annual Beutler Forum as well as its 2018-19 Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists Series.

For more information on the SVSU 2018-19 Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists Series, visit

October 23, 2018

Director expects audiences to ‘laugh hysterically’ at upcoming SVSU play

“I have laughed hysterically every night of rehearsal and I know what is going to happen next.”

David Rzeszutek expects audiences to join in laughter during the upcoming Saginaw Valley State University theatre production of “The Servant of Two Masters.” He will direct the comedy that hits the stage of SVSU’s Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts Wednesday, Oct. 31 through Sunday, Nov. 4.

The play, written by Carlo Goldoni, follows the greedy character Truffaldino, who secretly serves two masters in order to keep his belly full. The tale includes mystery, murder, and a wedding that may or may not happen.

Rzeszutek, SVSU associate professor of theatre, warns viewers that this is not your “average play.”

“There will be audience interaction, participation, and possibly prizes. Imagine the comedy of Jim Carrey meeting the 'sassiness' of Kevin Hart - that's the kind of humor this play is,” he said.

Rzeszutek searched and read over 20 versions of the script before deciding on the funniest fit for SVSU's stage.

The Italian commedia dell'arte - style play (a popular theatrical form that relies on stock characters and improvisation) is set in 1746.

Josh Lloyd, a theatre major from Bay City, said this production is pure comedy.

“If anyone is in need of a laugh or just a good time, come see this show,” said Lloyd, who plays the character of Pantalone.

Another Bay City native and theatre major, Brianne Dolney, plays the part of Beatrice. Dolney said that this play is not like any other she has experienced at SVSU.

“The set is a very unique set. I have never worked with anything like it before.” Dolney said. “We actually build the set as we perform. The play starts with two boxes that we eventually turn into buildings like houses and hotels. It's minimalistic yet purposeful, but all around very unique.”

The show will run at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday in SVSU's Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. Tickets cost $13 for the public and $10 for students and attendees over the age of 60.

For more information, visit

October 22, 2018

SVSU hosts groundbreaking ceremony to kick off construction of building expansion for business college

Saginaw Valley State University welcomed campus, community and business leaders to celebrate a $25 million construction project that will enhance business research and education, while also supporting the region's business community through state-of-the-art educational resources and strengthened partnerships with local entrepreneurs.

The groundbreaking ceremony for a planned 38,500-square-foot building expansion to house SVSU's Scott L. Carmona College of Business & Management began at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 22. The event was held near the entrance of SVSU's Groening Commons, next to where the addition will be built.

“This building project will provide resources to advance teaching and learning in our business disciplines, and it further reinforces our commitment to graduate outstanding business professionals for the leading employers in our region and our state,” said Donald Bachand, SVSU president.

“We would like to thank the state legislators who supported the nearly $10 million in state funding we received for this project, as well as the many alumni and friends who have given generously to create these new opportunities for students, faculty, staff and the business community.”

Bachand joined several speakers for the event. Others included Andrew Bethune, executive director of The SVSU Foundation; Anthony Bowrin, dean of the Scott L. Carmona College of Business & Management; John Kaczynski, SVSU director of Governmental Affairs; Morrison Stevens Sr., chairman of Stevens Worldwide Van Lines and a chair of the fundraising campaign supporting the expansion project; and Jenée Velasquez, executive director of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation as well as chair of the SVSU Board of Control.

The namesake of the College of Business & Management, Scott Carmona, also spoke at the groundbreaking. In May, the SVSU alumnus and his family pledged the lead gift for the project's fundraising campaign.

“SVSU equipped me with many of the tools in life that I used to build a successful career in business along with the steadfast support of my wife, Nancy,” said Carmona, the owner of Sunrise National Distributors Inc. and a member of SVSU's Board of Control.

“It is our hope that this newly constructed and renovated building will be an inspiration for the many business students to remain engaged with this wonderful community and to share their time, talent and treasures. Because at SVSU, success is not acquired for its own sake, but for the sake of the people and the places that once lifted you up.”

The expansion project will create additional space to house the academic college's classrooms, faculty offices and business programs. Those elements are spread across SVSU's campus today.

The new space also will include state-of-the-art technology such as analytics labs and a Bloomberg Trading Room, which tracks stock data in real time. Planners say the upgrades will provide hands-on learning opportunities for students while also encouraging members of the business community to visit campus and engage with students.

"The opportunities and technologies that will be available when this facility opens in 2020 will be spectacular and will prepare and empower students for many years to come," Carmona said.

The $25 million project is funded in part by a $9.8 million commitment from the State of Michigan. The SVSU Foundation is leading a $15 million fundraising campaign to support the expansion project.

Following the Monday groundbreaking ceremony, a reception will be hosted in SVSU's Curtiss Hall second floor banquet rooms. The banquet rooms also will serve as an alternative site of the groundbreaking ceremony in the event of poor weather conditions.

October 19, 2018

SVSU students have high expectations for “Battle of the Valleys” fundraising competition

Cheyenne Wilton is inspired to help her peers. She is familiar with the studies showing suicide as a leading cause of death among her college-aged peers. Suicide rates are on the rise nationwide.

It's a trend she and her classmates at Saginaw Valley State University hope to play a role in reversing when they engage in a week-long, community-minded fundraising competition to benefit suicide awareness and prevention.

“It's really important that we are trained and looking for the signs and that we know how to help and what to do in those situations,” said Wilton, chair of SVSU's Battle of the Valleys fundraiser.

During the annual fundraising competition, students at SVSU and Grand Valley State University capitalize on the schools' football rivalry to see who can raise the most money for each institution's respective selected charity partner. Students will raise the funds during a series of activities scheduled Sunday to Friday, Oct. 21-26.

For SVSU, the student-led effort will support the Barb Smith Suicide and Response Network. The Saginaw-based nonprofit works to prevent suicide, educate communities and provide no-cost, 24/7 aftercare for those affected when prevention is not possible. Students lead a variety of events and activities on campus and in the community throughout the week to generate donations.

The fundraising total will be announced at halftime of the SVSU vs. GVSU football game hosted Saturday, Oct. 27, at Harvey Randall Wickes Memorial Stadium.

Wilton, a creative writing major from Ortonville, and other students coordinating the week-long initiative hope to raise $40,000 this year.

Caitlin Coulter, president of the SVSU Student Association, was the chair of last year's Battle of the Valleys effort at SVSU, which netted $32,000 for The Mustard Seed Shelter in Saginaw. The biology major from Clio remains actively involved.

Coulter said she expects a great deal of student interest for this year's competition in part because the football matchup with GVSU that caps off the week will be played at SVSU.

“The whole campus gets involved, and it's great,” Coulter said. “We have been planning since last May. This year especially we have had a lot of alumni involvement and a lot of interest in donating or participating, so that's exciting.”

Battle of the Valleys began in 2003, and over the past 15 years, the contest has generated $601,282 in charitable donations between the two universities. SVSU has contributed $389,444 of that total.

Donations can be made at campus fundraising events or through a donation link on SVSU's Battle of the Valleys website at between noon on Oct. 21 and midnight Oct. 26.

October 19, 2018

Groundbreaking ceremony for building expansion to house SVSU business college

Campus and community leaders will gather Monday for a groundbreaking ceremony before construction begins on a $25 million building expansion project at Saginaw Valley State University. The 38,500-square-foot expansion, announced earlier this year, will house SVSU's Scott L. Carmona College of Business & Management when construction is expected to finish in January 2020.

The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 22 at 11:30 a.m. near the entrance to Groening Commons. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will move indoors to the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms.

The expansion project will create additional space to house the academic college's classrooms, faculty offices and business programs. The new space also will include state-of-the-art technology such as analytics labs and a Bloomberg Trading Room, which tracks stock data in real time. Planners say the upgrades will provide hands-on learning opportunities for students while also encouraging members of the business community to visit campus and engage with students.


October 18, 2018

SVSU receives research grant aimed at reducing Saginaw Bay Watershed contamination

Saginaw Valley State University has received additional resources to study environmental conditions in the Saginaw Bay Watershed and improve public health for people living in and visiting communities in the watershed. SVSU faculty, staff and students are performing research aimed at identifying and reducing contamination in regional waterways.

SVSU recently received a $200,000 grant from the Office of Great Lakes, which is a division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, to perform molecular source tracking in the watershed. The research involves tracing the origin of fecal contamination found in the environment to determine whether it originated from humans, cows or other sources.

“This information can potentially be used to eliminate the contamination before it even occurs, which could result in fewer beach closings and safer recreational water,” said Tami Sivy, SVSU professor of chemistry.

Sivy and other SVSU researchers have studied water quality in the Saginaw Bay Watershed for several years. She said finding the answers will involve examining DNA markers extracted from bacteria in water samples.

SVSU is home to one of only two laboratories at higher education institutions in Michigan capable of performing such research.

“The Saginaw Bay Watershed has proven to be a bit difficult to do some types of water quality analysis, so they wanted someone to do this who was committed and familiar with the region,” Sivy said. 

The study began in August and is expected to extend into February 2019. SVSU faculty and students will test hundreds of water samples collected during summer 2018.

The project is a continuation of earlier SVSU-led research projects examining bacterial contamination in Michigan waterways. The previous research was supported in part by partners including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and is a collaboration with health departments from Bay, Huron and Iosco counties.

October 18, 2018

SVSU students empowered to grow as leaders through Roberts Fellowship

Ten Saginaw Valley State University students are engaged in a year-long leadership development initiative following their selection for the highly competitive Roberts Fellowship.

The program annually challenges SVSU students in both academic course work and extracurricular activities designed to enhance their potential as future political, economic and civic leaders. The program culminates in a trip to Asia to provide the Fellows with an international perspective on leadership. The class recently selected for the program will travel to Asia in May 2019.

This year's class was selected in part for demonstrating outstanding scholarship and leadership potential during their time at SVSU.

The complete lineup of Roberts Fellows for 2018-19 includes:

  • Emily Beardsley, a biochemistry major from Bay City
  • Aranya Biswas, an economics major from Bangladesh
  • Matthew Chappel, a secondary education major from Marlette
  • Jessica Hurley, a psychology and theatre double major from Bay City
  • Emma Kirsch, an early childhood and elementary education double major from Saginaw
  • Lindsey Mead, an English major from Saginaw
  • Kellie Rankey, a creative writing major from Saginaw
  • Miles Shane, a health science major from Southgate
  • Taylor Stockton, a business management major from Hale
  • Andrew Vivian, an electrical engineering major from Richmond

To qualify, students must have completed between 48 and 100 credit hours with a minimum grade point average of 3.40 and pass a rigorous selection process. Students are chosen based upon their academic accomplishment, a record of university and community service and other evidence of leadership potential.

Students selected to be Roberts Fellows are required to complete a three-credit leadership seminar in the fall and winter semesters, within one or more academic departments. During the year, the Fellows will also meet for informal seminars and discussions with various political, business and civic leaders from throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region. Julie Foss, associate professor of modern foreign languages, and Brian Thomas, director of global engagement and presidential liaison to Ming Chuan University, serve as the group's faculty advisers.

Established in 1999, the program is named in honor of Donna Roberts of Midland, who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to SVSU through her personal generosity and prior service on the Board of Control and the Board of Fellows. A respected attorney, business leader and philanthropist, Roberts retired from the Dow Chemical Company, where she was Secretary and Assistant General Counsel. She is an honorary director of the SVSU Foundation Board.


October 17, 2018

Local nonprofit to benefit from SVSU students ‘battle’ to support suicide prevention

Saginaw Valley State University students are committed to supporting community causes, and next week they will be raising funds to help a Saginaw-based nonprofit expand its prevention and training efforts to help people recognize and respond to signs of suicidal thoughts.

During the annual Battle of the Valleys fundraising competition, students at SVSU and Grand Valley State University capitalize on the schools’ football rivalry to see who can raise the most money for charity. This year, SVSU students will raise funds to benefit the Barb Smith Suicide and Response Network through a variety of events and activities Sunday, Oct. 21, through Friday, Oct. 26. 

The Saginaw-based nonprofit works tirelessly to prevent suicide, educate communities and provide no-cost, 24/7 aftercare for those affected when prevention is not possible, said Barb Smith, the organization's founder and executive director.

“Suicide is the leading cause of death for college and university students between 18 and 24,” Smith said. “If we think about what puts someone at risk, we're talking sleep deprivation, possibly alcohol and other substances, anxiety and not a lot of support.”

Smith founded the nonprofit 30 years ago, and over the next three decades, grew it into a meaningful and effective nonprofit in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

“We started 30 years ago as a grassroots organization and focused mostly on the aftercare of suicide,” Smith said. “Since then, we've really moved forward – and quite quickly in the last couple years – to focus equally, if not more, on prevention efforts.”

Last year, SVSU students raised more than $32,000 for the Mustard Seed Shelter in Saginaw. With the funds raised through the 2018 Battle of the Valleys, Smith plans to expand the organization's evidence-based suicide awareness training sessions in the community and on college campuses.

“We can keep training, but we need the staff to support those efforts,” Smith said. “It would be really nice to have a general fund that we can use to help coordinate large events throughout the year … to offer different trainers who come in and host special events to continue training at all levels.”

Smith said she hopes these training sessions will enable more students to recognize and to help when their peers are in crisis, both in college and as they enter the workforce.

Battle of the Valleys began in 2003, and over the past 15 years, the contest has generated $601,282 in charitable donations between the two universities. Donations can be made at campus fundraising events or through a donation link on SVSU's Battle of the Valleys website at between noon on Oct. 21 and midnight on Oct. 26.

October 17, 2018

SVSU staff member selected as educational ambassador for trip to Sudan

A Saginaw Valley State University staff member will pursue her passion for intercultural education when she serves as one of 51 educational ambassadors selected for a trip to the nation of Sudan later this month.

The weeklong visit won't be the first trek to the northeastern Africa for Kate Scott, associate director for SVSU's Office of International and Advanced Studies and director of the English Language Program. She spent three years in Sudan as a third-grade teacher shortly after graduating from SVSU as an elementary education major in 2007.

“It's funny because a lot of my students from back then are college-aged students now,” she said. “I'd love to bring a few of them back to become SVSU students.”

Scott will depart Wednesday, Oct. 24. The purpose of the trip – organized by the Institute of International Education, a New York City-based nonprofit –  is to form relationships and exchange ideas between higher education representatives in the Sudan and United States. SVSU will be one of 32 U.S. higher education institutions represented in the group. The group plans to visit 10 Sudanese universities.

Scott said she hopes to establish networks that eventually lead to faculty exchange programs as well as student recruitment from Sudan.

“My heart beats for creating intercultural exchanges through education,” Scott said.

She will travel to Khartoum, the nation's capital. Plenty has changed for the country since she departed it in May 2010. Civil unrest led to the country splitting in two in 2011. The new country, South Sudan, continues to experience conflict between the established government and a rebel group.

Scott said she feels secure about her planned trip back to Khartoum, where she hopes to reunite with a former teaching assistant and as many of her former students as she can.

Her first stint there was a great experience, she said, despite desert temperatures that regularly soared above 110 degrees in her classroom, which had no air conditioning.

“Sudanese people are very hospitable and laid back,” Scott said. “Time is fluid for them and they are almost never in a hurry. They would bend over backwards to make sure you had what you needed.”

It was an experience that has inspired her to continue working in international education and has prepared her to better understand and navigate cultural complexities. When she returned to the United States, she was hired by SVSU as a teacher in the English Language Program, which featured a large Saudi Arabian population at the time.

Scott's recently-assumed role of associate director for the Office of International and Advanced Studies led to her applying for this opportunity.

“This is such a fabulous opportunity to create connections in a place where, historically, we haven't been able to,” she said. “I'm looking forward to it.”

October 16, 2018

SVSU students elect 2018 Homecoming queen, king

Saginaw Valley State University students elected Kayla Flintoft and Tyler Boylen as the 2018 Homecoming queen and king, respectively.

Flintoft and Boylen were crowned Saturday, Oct. 13 during a halftime ceremony at SVSU's home football game against Northern Michigan University.

Flintoft is a biology and secondary education major from Caro. She is involved in SVSU's Outdoor Adventures program and works for Residential Life. Flintoft also is member of the university’s Foundation Scholars Program.

Boylen is a supply chain management and marketing double major from Gladwin. He works at SVSU's Residential Life and Campus Recreation offices, and serves as a campus tour guide.

Alongside Flintoft and Boylen, eight other students were selected to serve on the Homecoming Court earlier in the month.

The students joining them on the 2018 Homecoming Court were as follows:

  • Kyle Baxter, a nursing major from Mayville
  • McKenna Daniel, a marketing major from Clio
  • Jake Deloge, a nursing major from Lapeer
  • Hannah Doederlein, a health science major from Carleton
  • Indigo Dudley, a music and communication double major from Saginaw
  • Alan Gutierrez, an exercise science major from Zeeland
  • Emma Kirsch, an early childhood and elementary education double major from Clinton Township
  • Dylan Langlois, an exercise science major from Reed City

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