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October 9, 2018

SVSU Writing Center launching ‘Write Your Future Michigan Governor’ campaign

Valley State University's Writing Center is hosting a postcard writing campaign to encourage people in the Great Lakes Bay Region to write to their future governor.

Helen Raica-Klotz, director of SVSU's Writing Center, said that the project provides community members the opportunity to address issues that are important to them.

“These postcards are a way for all of us to ensure our voices are heard by the future governor of our state,” she said.

To participate in the “Write Your Future Michigan Governor” program, community members can receive a postcard in the month of October. All postcards must be completed by November 1, and will be sent in the mail from the SVSU Writing Center in January 2019.

A number of local schools are planning to participate in the program, including Merrill High School and Handy Middle School in Bay City.

Postcards are available at SVSU's Writing Center in the Melvin J. Zahnow Library, room 250 and SVSU's Center for Community Engagement in the Melvin J. Zahnow Library, room 202A.

Interested participants can also pick up postcards at the Bay Community Writing Center at the Alice and Jack Wirt Public Library, 500 Center Ave. in Bay City or the Saginaw Community Writing Center at the Butnam-Fish Branch Library at 1716 Hancock St. in Saginaw.

Area teachers and administrators who register online before Saturday, Oct. 20 can have postcards sent to their students; the form is available at

The project is co-sponsored by the Bay and Saginaw Community Writing Centers, SVSU's Center for Community Engagement, the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region and the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture Community Arts Outpost.

For more information on SVSU's Writing Center, visit

October 9, 2018

SVSU-operated health clinic at Bay County Health Department wins statewide award for public health

A primary care health clinic operated jointly by Saginaw Valley State University and the Bay County Health Department has earned a prestigious award from the State of Michigan for its supportive regional services.

The Bay Community Health Clinic received the 2018 Michigan Department of Health & Human Services Director's Award to Local Public Health. Leaders with the health clinic will be publicly recognized Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 12:45 p.m. during the Michigan Premier Public Health Conference at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in Bay City.

“This recognition is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the inter-professional team at Bay Community Health Clinic in delivering quality health care to an underserved population,” said Kathleen Schachman, SVSU's Harvey Randall Wickes Endowed Chair in Nursing and a nurse practitioner at the clinic.

“The partnership between SVSU and Bay County Health Department has created this unique clinical training environment that enriches the educational experience of health professions students and benefits the community.”

The award annually recognizes local health departments that adopt strategies to combat leading causes of illness, injury and premature death; promote health and well-being within the community; analyze and distribute data; and build community partnerships with agencies and individuals, both inside and outside of the health care sector.

As this year's recipient of the award, the health clinic will receive $1,000 in funds that will be used for operational expenses, a plaque, and a trophy that will be showcased over the next year at three locations, including SVSU. The trophy also will spend time at the downtown Bay City offices of the Bay County municipal building as well as the Bay County Health Department facility where the health clinic operates.

Joel Strasz, the Bay County Health Department health officer, called receiving the award a big accomplishment for all the agencies that contribute to the health clinic.

“The MDHHS Director's Award is a great honor and reflects the hard work and dedication of the staff at the Bay County Health Department, the SVSU College of Health & Human Services, the Bay Arenac Behavioral Health Authority and the community organizations that we work with to make the clinic a success,” Strasz said.

“I cannot stress enough how much hard work and dedication has gone into the clinic as it serves a very important purpose in Bay County, bringing essential and complex services to those in need. This is truly an innovative and groundbreaking initiative and I am grateful to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for the recognition.”

The health clinic was established in January 2015 through a partnership between the Bay County Health Department and SVSU, which provides much of the staff and resources for the clinic. The facility largely caters to clients less likely to seek treatment at more traditional medical facilities.

Since its founding, the clinic has been staffed by faculty members with experience as medical professionals. The clinic utilizes an integrated approach - teaming professionals in nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy and social work - to address physical and mental health issues on multiple fronts. Those professionals are supported by students who provide help while receiving hands-on training.

Along with SVSU, students from Ferris State University, Michigan State University and Wayne State University also have worked at the health clinic.

The clinic provides primary care medical services for patients of all ages. Those in need of such services can contact the facility at 989-895-2035.

October 5, 2018

SVSU-based youth leadership program welcomes next class of high school participants

A year-long leadership development program for local high school students will kick off its 14th year at Saginaw Valley State University with front-row seats to a theatrical performance by one of Detroit’s most highly-regarded cultural treasures.


The SVSU-based Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute will welcome its new class of participants — 90 students from 32 high schools across mid-Michigan are signed up this year — during a day of fun and informative events scheduled at SVSU Friday, Oct. 5.


One of the event's highlights includes a performance by members of Mosaic Youth Theatre, an internationally-touring troupe of actors and singers from Detroit. The group will perform the play, “Speak Up For Yourself,” which addresses stereotypes and biases while promoting diversity.


The Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute ceremony kicks off at 8:15 a.m.  and closes at 1:15 p.m. in SVSU’s Curtiss Hall banquet rooms. A lineup of SVSU students, faculty, staff and administrators will address the high school participants throughout the day. The Mosaic Youth Theatre performance is planned from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in SVSU’s Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.


Mamie T. Thorns, SVSU’s special assistant to the president for Diversity Programs, has served as the institute’s coordinator since its founding. The new class of participants will carry on the tradition of leadership and excellence demonstrated by the program's 935 graduates, she said.


“Our mission is to provide an opportunity for high school student leaders — from diverse racial, cultural and socioeconomically diverse communities — to gain valuable leadership training and acquire new skills that will help them lead in any community improvement projects,” she said.


Begun in 2005 as the Saginaw County Youth Leadership Institute, the initiative expanded in 2011 to include Bay and Midland counties.


The Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute, overseen by SVSU’s Office of Diversity Programs, provides leadership development experience for youths focused on issues relating to diversity and leadership. Participants are paired with 12 SVSU student mentors as well as 16 corporate and community volunteers to participate in training sessions led by professional facilitators and presenters.


Each year, the institute identifies a community partner or cause to support. In past years, participants have provided relief for residents affected by the Flint water crisis, and worked with nonprofits such as United Way, Girl Scouts of the USA, First Ward Community Center in Saginaw, Hope House Maternity Shelter in Midland, and Mid-Michigan Children's Museum in Saginaw. At times, participants reached far outside the region to help individuals in need. In 2011, program participants supported the Ghana-based Royal Seed Orphanage.


For more information about The Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute, call SVSU's Office of Diversity Programs at (989) 964-4068.

October 3, 2018

SVSU's Wind Ensemble to host first concert of season

Saginaw Valley State University's Wind Ensemble will be performing its first concert of the 2018-19 season Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall.


The performance is free and open to the public.


The ensemble is directed by Norman Wika, SVSU assistant professor of music. Wika also directs SVSU's Cardinal Marching Band. He performs with the Tulsa Symphony and the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra.


Thursday's concert features clarinetist Gary June, an adjunct faculty member at SVSU.


The program will feature music with a Halloween theme from contemporary composers Scott McAllister and Thomas Miller. Musical pieces include "Off to Transylvania," "Dawn and the Vampire" and "The Death March and the Book."


For more information on SVSU's music program, call (989) 964-4159 or visit

October 3, 2018

Passion for public speaking leads to victory for SVSU forensics team


Students on the Saginaw Valley State University forensics team have extraordinary enthusiasm for public speaking, and it showed during the latest Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League tournament, where SVSU claimed a first place finish.
Despite fielding five students in their first collegiate competition – out of seven overall – SVSU saw six students place in their respective categories and qualify for the National Forensics Association Championship Tournament to be held in Santa Ana, California next April.
In individual competition, Darious Henry, a communication major from Chesterfield, led the way for SVSU, winning the dramatic interpretation category.
The other SVSU students to place were:
                     Courtney Perrou, a communication major from Pinconning, who earned a second place finish in the prose category.
                     Kennedy Bachman, a communication major from Grand Blanc, who received a third place finish in the dramatic interpretation category.
                     Gina Kearly, a communication major from Midland, who placed third in the prose category.
                     Monae Hawthorne, a criminal justice major from Detroit, who earned a third place finish in the informative speaking category.
                     Ashley Murdock, a communication major from Oxford, who received a fourth place finish in the impromptu speaking category.
SVSU hosted eight other Michigan colleges and universities for the MISL Mini Forensics Tournament and Workshop Saturday, Sept. 29. 
The SVSU forensics team is next scheduled to compete at Oakland University Saturday, Dec. 8. The team is advised by Amy Pierce, SVSU associate professor of communication and Ryan Rigda, SVSU lecturer of communication.


October 2, 2018

SVSU to host mental health expert for annual O'Neill Lecture

Saginaw Valley State University is hosting a lecture by a renowned psychiatrist and researcher who specializes in depression and bipolar illness. Nassir Ghaemi will present “Psychiatric Profiles in Leadership” for SVSU’s annual James E. O'Neill Memorial Lecture Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall Banquet Rooms.

Originally born in Tehran, Iran, Dr. Ghaemi immigrated to the U.S. when he was five. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in history from George Mason University, a master's degree in philosophy from Tufts University, a master's degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health and a medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University.

Ghaemi is the author of “A First-Rate Madness,” among other books, and he is the editor of the monthly newsletter “The Psychiatry Letter.” His research on depression and manic-depressive illness has been published in  200 scientific articles and over 50 scientific book chapters.

Ghaemi currently serves as a professor of psychiatry at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, a clinical lecturer at Harvard Medical School and he teaches at the Cambridge Health Alliance. He also works for the Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he leads clinical psychiatry research on discovery and early development of new drugs.

The James E. O’Neill Jr. Memorial Lecture Series was established in 2003 to honor the late Saginaw educator, legislator and community servant. Co-sponsored by SVSU and the Field Neurosciences Institute of Saginaw, the series is intended to dynamically reflect O’Neill’s passion for excellence in government, education and the neurosciences, and to provide opportunities for people to learn about public service from individuals who have unselfishly contributed to the betterment of the human condition.

Ghaemi’s visit to SVSU is part of the 2018-19 Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists Series, a program at SVSU established through an endowment from The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation to enrich our region’s cultural and intellectual opportunities.

September 25, 2018

SVSU hosting event to prevent traumatic injuries, plus blood drive and flu vaccinations

Saginaw Valley State University is hosting several events to educate individuals on how to respond in emergency situations by heightening awareness on how to respond when someone is in life-threatening danger.

Sessions are planned Wednesday, Sept. 26 from noon to 6 p.m. at SVSU's Health and Human Services building and the Thompson Student Activities Room in the Student Center.

Life Net and Covenant Healthcare representatives will be present to present “Stop the Bleed,” a national initiative to help save lives when a person has experienced a traumatic injury. Mobile Medical Response and Kochville Township Fire Department representatives will also be at the event to discuss their role in disaster management and triage.

Along with the learning activities, Michigan Blood representatives will be on campus hosting a blood drive and Covenant Healthcare and SVSU Nursing will be offering flu vaccinations from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For the vaccinations, it is recommended to pay in advance at the Campus Financial Services Center, but participants can pay in cash the day of the event.

Attendees who donate blood and attend the "Stop the Bleed" one-hour certification session can enter to win a $25 gift card to Chili's or Panera Bread.

There will be SVSU nursing student volunteers to direct participants to particular events or to provide information on where an event is being held.

September 25, 2018

SVSU selects Michigan author Hendrik Meijer for Gross Literature Award

Saginaw Valley State University has awarded the 2018-2019 Stuart D. and Vernice M. Gross Award for Literature to Hendrik Meijer for his book “Arthur Vandenberg: The Man in the Middle of the American Century,” published by the University of Chicago Press.  The award is part of SVSU's community-minded commitment to recognize exceptional writing within Michigan.

The book describes the career of Arthur H. Vandenberg, whose ascent from influential Grand Rapids newspaper editor to long-serving U.S. Senator from Michigan made him a participant in some of the most important domestic and foreign policy decisions of the 20th century. 

Initially opposed to the New Deal and to involvement with the European allies at the start of World War II, Vandenberg understood the momentous changes taking place and became a leader in the Senate for bipartisan cooperation and consensus.  Formed by his early years in Michigan and returning frequently to the state, he also played a significant role on the world stage.  Vandenberg was instrumental in the formation of the Marshall Plan, the United Nations, and NATO, institutions which guided U.S. foreign policy for decades. 

Meijer graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in literature and worked as a reporter and editor before joining Meijer, Inc., where he is executive chairman. 

Meijer will visit SVSU in the early months of 2019, when he will accept the award as well as visit classes on campus.  He will also receive a $1,000 prize.

Established by the late Stuart D. Gross and his wife, Vernice, the Gross Award for Literature is administered by SVSU.  It is granted to published works in regional history or historical fiction/drama. Preference is given to Michigan subject matter or strong Michigan connections on the part of the author.

Winners are selected by a panel of judges from SVSU's faculty and staff.  Judges this year were Ashley Blinstrub, research and assessment librarian; M. Patricia Cavanaugh, professor of English; Jules Gehrke, associate professor of history; Carlos Ramet, associate dean of the College of Arts & Behavioral Sciences; and Michelle Strasz, research & online course support librarian.

Employed for many years as a journalist with The Saginaw News, Gross joined the SVSU staff in the school's early years and served in a variety of public affairs roles.  He was recognized as a regional historian and published several books.  Among his writings are, “Saginaw: A History of the Land and City,” “When Timber was King,” and “Where There is a Will.” Following his retirement from SVSU, Gross wrote and produced a play, “Let's Have Lunch Sometime.”  He died in 1996; Mrs. Gross in 2001.

September 25, 2018

Pianist, violinist to perform at SVSU concert Friday

Two world-renowned artists will bring the classical sounds of Beethoven, Ravel, Sheng, and Saint-Saens to the ears of an audience at Saginaw Valley State University this week.


Pianist Wendy Chu will be accompanied by violinist Fangye Sun during a performance Friday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in SVSU’s Rhea Miller Recital Hall.


Chu has performed in Taiwan, Austria, and Canada, and has been featured on PBS. The recording artist has worked closely with many other talented artists.


Sun, a native of China, has been recognized as a talented violinist since her childhood, including winning the gold medal at the Gao Hua Chinese Youth Violin Competition at the age of 11.


Chu and Sun are also dedicated educators. Chu resides in Saginaw where she teaches from her private studio as well as SVSU. Sun works as an assistant professor of violin at Central Michigan University and spends her summers teaching at the Bay View Music Festival.


Chu is a veteran of the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. Click here to watch her performance at SVSU in 2017:


Admission to Friday's concert is free and open to the public. Please contact SVSU's Department of Music at (989) 964-4159 or for more information.

September 24, 2018

Panel discussion at SVSU to engage in 'proactive conversation' over free speech, Confederate flag

Saginaw Valley State University will host a panel of educators and students examining the Confederate flag's history and society's ongoing conversation about its symbolism in modern America.

The event – sponsored by SVSU, the Saginaw Community Foundation and the Saginaw Intermediate School District – is scheduled from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.

Joni Boye-Beaman, an SVSU professor of sociology and the panel moderator, said the discussion is necessary in part because of an incident earlier this year. In April, Confederate flag-bearing vehicles parked outside Bay City Western High School for several days, leading administrators to cancel classes for one day.

“The purpose of the panel discussion is to try to be proactive in terms of having a conversation about what the flag symbolizes to different groups, and why it is important to understand the different meanings attached to it,” Boye-Beaman said.

“We want to talk about how you balance free speech with potentially-intimidating speech and how to start those kinds of conversations with high school students. The goal is to help frame a discussion so that we don't have incidents like what happened at the school again.”

Kenneth Jolly, SVSU professor of history, will open the discussion with a brief presentation about the history of the Confederate flag. Paul Teed, SVSU professor of history, will be among the panelists. SVSU student Grace Kendziorski, a political science major from Auburn, will join the panel along with Raymond Barber, a political science major from University of Detroit Mercy. Other panelists include Ericka Taylor, director of early education at the Saginaw Intermediate School District, and Carolyn Wierda, interim superintendent for Saginaw Township Community Schools.

The panel discussion is the first of four planned events aimed at developing the skills and knowledge necessary to foster successful and effective dialogue that leads to social justice and equity in communities.

For more information on the event, contact the SVSU Office of Diversity Programs at (989) 964-4068.

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