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February 23, 2018

SVSU soprano to perform senior recital

Saginaw Valley State University student vocalist Rachael Parr, a music major from Pinckney, will perform a soprano recital Thursday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Parr will sing musical selections are from the 17th to 20th centuries. Notable pieces include "Ave Maria in E," by French composer Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, and "The Sound of Music," by American composer Richard Rodgers.

Parr expects to graduate in May. She plans to continue her academic career by pursuing a master's degree in liturgical music.

Pianist Amanda Stamper will provide musical accompaniment. She completed a bachelor's degree in music at SVSU and a master's degree in music at Illinois State University.

For more information about the recital, please contact the SVSU Department of Music at or (989) 964-4159.

February 23, 2018

SVSU professor of nursing earns prestigious Fulbright award to study health care in Ireland

‌Sally Decker, professor of nursing at Saginaw Valley State University, has been selected as a Fulbright Scholar to support her teaching and research in Ireland.

Decker will work with inter-professional teams at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. She also will also teach health education courses and work with faculty members on simulation.

"I am looking forward to working with health care providers in Ireland," she said. "I hope I can share some of what I have learned as I work with the inter-professional teams at the Royal College of Surgeons."

Decker plans to design and create an interactive workshop on simulation with faculty members, work with students in groups or individually related to the pedagogy of education in healthcare, and help create, facilitate and evaluate an inter-professional simulation with students and faculty members.

Decker is familiar with educational settings overseas. She has led SVSU students on study abroad experiences in England, Australia and Nepal. Those experiences focused on the differences in health care in different nations and cultures.

"These experiences — in addition to my personal travel experiences — have increased my sensitivity to cultural competence and the need to review evidence with consideration for the context from which it was created," she said. "Context relates to cultural, environmental, genetics, and health care system differences."

Her interest in the topic started when she served as a member of the Army Nurse Corps.

"The system of health care and specifics of interventions in the military setting — followed by the transition to civilian health care — created a striking awareness for me of the importance of contextual understanding and teamwork," she said.

Decker has presented on research related to educational pedagogy at international venues. In June 2017, she presented on the use of visual metaphor in concept-based education at the International Congress of Nurses in Barcelona.

Decker has received SVSU's highest faculty honors, winning the Landee Award for Teaching Excellence in 2002 and the Warrick Award for Excellence in Research in 1991. She completed a Ph.D. at the University of Michigan.

The Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Each year, this international educational program of the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs awards about 8,000 grants for research, study, and teaching opportunities in over 160 countries.

February 21, 2018

SVSU forensics team continues strong season, takes second place in the state

Saginaw Valley State University's competitive public speaking team placed second overall in the 2018 Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League Novice States Tournament.

SVSU students were among those from seven Michigan colleges and universities who competed in various public speaking categories at Hillsdale College Saturday, Feb. 17.

Coached by Amy Pierce, associate professor of communication, SVSU's current team has shown determination in preparing for their tournaments. The group is almost entirely comprised of novice competitors, meaning they have performed in fewer than six tournaments.

Three SVSU students won their respective events, and all seven SVSU students involved in this competition placed in the top of their respective categories.

Kelley Gray, a communication major from Sandusky, won the programmed oral interpretation category. Darious Henry, a communication major from Chesterfield Township, won first place in the prose category. Tiler Jewel, a creative writing major from Essexville, placed first in the informative category. Gray also placed fourth in the impromptu category, and Jewel also placed fifth in the persuasion category.

Other SVSU students who placed in their events include:

  • Jenna Brown, a secondary education major from Saginaw, who won second place in the prose category.
  • Jill Castle, a communication major from Standish, who earned a third-place finish in the after dinner speaking category.
  • Jeremy Flood, a communication major from Freeland, who placed fourth in the extemporaneous speaking category.
  • Jayla Gaskins, a communication major from Detroit, who finished second in both the dramatic interpretation and programmed oral interpretation categories.

By virtue of their success at the fall Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League tournament, three SVSU students already have qualified to compete in the National Forensic Association National Championship tournament scheduled April 19-23 at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Castle and Jewel will be joined by Jrew Brickel, a criminal justice major from Midland.

SVSU’s forensics team will continue their season in March, when they will travel to Eastern Michigan University for the next Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League States Tournament.

February 21, 2018

SVSU hires former Dow executive to boost business and entrepreneurship programs

Saginaw Valley State University has welcomed an accomplished business executive to strengthen SVSU’s College of Business & Management.

David Bell has joined SVSU as the associate director for entrepreneurship, experiential learning and continuing education. In this role, he will seek to enhance academic programs, grow new opportunities in entrepreneurship, and enrich the regional business community.

“David will enhance our ability to effectively position our Dow Entrepreneurship Institute as a hub of the entrepreneurial support system in the Great Lakes Bay Region,” said Tony Bowrin, dean of SVSU’s College of Business and Management. “He also will provide business development leadership for our customized training programs with business, industry, government and not-for-profit organizations.

Funded by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, SVSU’s Dow Entrepreneurship Institute stimulates the creation of new business ventures, serves as a resource for research activities aimed at business innovation, and provides internship opportunities with area businesses for students.

In addition, Bell will aid in the design and implementation of experiential learning opportunities at SVSU, while developing and managing non-credit programs and courses. He also will help create customized training programs for business, industry, government and nonprofit organizations.

Bell previously served as The Dow Chemical Company's associate commercial director from 2003-15, where his responsibilities included leading exploration and analysis efforts to create new business opportunities for the Midland-based company. He joined Dow in 1979 as a chemist.

Bell completed a bachelor’s degree at Pennsylvania State University and an M.B.A. at Michigan State University.

February 21, 2018

Amosa Duo to perform recital at SVSU

The Amosa Duo will be performing a recital this week at Saginaw Valley State University. The Amosa Duo features clarinetist Gary June and pianist Chia-Ying Chan.

The recital will take place Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The performance is free and open to the public.

The musical selections include pieces from the 19th century to present day. The featured selections were composed by musicians such as Franz Schubert of Austria, Robert Schumann of Germany, Magnus Lindberg of Finland, and Mieczyslaw Weinberg of Russia.

June, an adjunct faculty member at SVSU, completed his Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He currently performs with the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra and previously worked with the Sioux City Symphony and the West Michigan Symphony.

Chan, a native of Taiwan, has performed across the world in countries including Spain, Russia and Italy. She is a soloist who has performed with symphonies such as the Kostroma Symphony Orchestra. Chan won several high honors in international competitions. She recently performed at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall.

The duo has been performing under the name Amosa Duo since 2016. The name is created from the names of two locations, America and Formosa. Formosa is the former name of Taiwan.

For more information about the recital at SVSU, please contact the SVSU Department of Music at or (989) 964-4159.

February 20, 2018

SVSU Board approves renovations tied to College of Business expansion project

The Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control approved spending up to $2.9 million to make renovations to Curtiss Hall and related facilities during the Board’s regular meeting Monday, Feb. 19. The construction projects are tied to the forthcoming building expansion and improvements for SVSU’s College of Business and Management.

The renovation cost is included in the overall $25 million project to construct a 38,500 square foot building addition for SVSU’s College of Business and Management. SVSU received construction authorization and a commitment of $9.8 million by the State of Michigan that was signed into law Thursday, Dec. 28. Work is expected to begin later this year.

The Board also authorized spending up to $575,000 to resurface parking lot D, immediately east of Zahnow Library, and make other parking improvements during the upcoming summer months.

Fifteen SVSU faculty members were granted tenure by the Board, effective July 1:

                     Prashanth Anekal, assistant professor of management

                     Meghan Baruth, assistant professor of health sciences

                     William Calvin Borden, assistant professor of biology

                     Brittany Collins, assistant professor of communication

                     Veronika Drake, assistant professor of English

                     Rosina Hassoun, assistant professor of sociology

                     Amy Hendrickson, assistant professor of law

                     Julie Keil, assistant professor of political science

                     Natalia Knoblock, assistant professor of English

                     Scott Kowalewski, assistant professor of rhetoric & professional writing

                     Elizabeth Pierce, assistant professor of accounting

                     Kandaker Abir Rahman, assistant professor of computer science

                     Conor Shaw-Draves, assistant professor of English

                     Isaac Stephens, assistant professor of history

                     Adam Warhausen, assistant professor of chemistry


In other business, the Board:

                     Appointed members Scott Carmona, JoAnn Crary, Dennis Durco and John Kunitzer to serve on the nominating committee to recommend Board officers for 2018-19.

                     Appointed Joe Biskner to serve on SVSU’s Board of Fellows, a community advisory board.

February 20, 2018

SVSU students rally to raise funds for cancer fighters, survivors, caregivers

The fight against cancer is personal for Jessica Hacker, and she is inspired to help others in their personal battles.

“I have had family members and close friends battle cancer,” Hacker said. “Some have won that battle; others have lost. This has been my motivation behind getting involved with Relay for Life.”

Saginaw Valley State University will host its annual Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society Friday, Feb. 23 from 2 p.m. to midnight in SVSU's O'Neill Arena. Hacker, a Kawkawlin native who graduated in December with a degree in psychology, is among the chief organizers.

The event attracts hundreds of SVSU students, faculty and staff; as well as former and current cancer patients; their caregivers; and members of the community offering their support. Covenant HealthCare and Garber Automotive Group are among the businesses in the Great Lakes Bay Region sponsoring SVSU’s Relay for Life.

Hacker and her fellow SVSU student volunteers hope to raise at least $38,000.

“A lot of the money helps fund various programs aimed to help cancer patients and survivors, including programs that offer free hair and make-up services to those currently undergoing chemotherapy,” Hacker said. “It also goes towards Road for Recovery, which provides transportation to and from doctors and chemo appointments.”

Friday's events at SVSU start with an opening ceremony that honors everyone affected by cancer. Then, during the Survivor/Caregiver Walk, participants will circle the outer perimeter of the arena and cheer on the cancer survivors and caregivers for their courage and strength as they walk around the track.

The night will also include fund-raising performances and activities by various student organizations, as well as a silent auction. 

One of the most emotional aspects of the event will be the Luminaria Ceremony, a powerful demonstration that offers comfort and hope to everyone affected by this disease. During the ceremony, luminarias – candles that represent individuals touched by cancer – will be lit.

Relay for Life events nationwide are the main source of fundraising for the American Cancer Society.

For more information about the 2018 Relay for Life at SVSU, visit

February 16, 2018

A murderous comedy takes the stage at SVSU

Comedy and murder do not always go hand-in-hand, but for playwright Rob Urbinati, this unusual combination weaves the fabric of his play "Death by Design."  Audiences in the Great Lakes Bay Region will be able to see his play on stage at Saginaw Valley State University Wednesday, Feb. 21 through Sunday, Feb. 25.

Set in 1932, this comedy follows the lives of Edward Bennett, a playwright, and his wife Sorel Bennett, an actress. After a disastrous opening night in London, the couple flee to an English country manor in Cookham. However, unexpected guests start arriving at the manor, and one, mysteriously, ends up dead.

Abigail Burgess, a theatre major at SVSU from Commerce Township, will play Bridgit, the feisty Irish maid who sets out to find the murderer.

Even though the play is set around a murder, Burgess reassures attendees that the show will be anything but scary.

"Normally a topic such as murder would not be humorous, but the script lends itself so well to fun physical and vocal humor that I think the audience will get as much of a laugh out the ridiculousness of it as we have," Burgess said.

Burgess also said the set will transport the audience to England in 1932. From the backdrop to the furniture, she credited the scenic crew for nailing the ambiance of an old English mansion. 

"I am so excited to get to work with such a talented group people both on stage and off," Burgess said. "Be it the cast or the amazing directorial or tech crew, everyone has made this experience so fun and rewarding."

The show will run at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday in SVSU's Malcom 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

February 16, 2018

Saxophonist Ebersole to perform at SVSU

Saxophonist Seth Ebersole will perform a recital at Saginaw Valley State University Thursday, Feb. 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The performance is free and open to the public. 

All of the musical selections are from the 20th and 21st centuries. Two of the selections are composed by Ebersole, with the remaining selections composed by Horace Silver. Both musicians are American jazz composers.

Ebersole graduated from both Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University and Michigan State University's College of Music. He currently teaches music lessons, along with composing and performing.

Ebersole will be accompanied by trumpeter Walter Cano, pianist Franchesca Romere, bassist Kazuki Takemur, and percussionist Luther Allison.

For more information about the recital, please contact the SVSU Department of Music at or (989) 964-4159.

February 16, 2018

SVSU sponsors a community celebration of the arts, Saginaw, and A Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet

Poetry readings, musical performances, and prize ceremonies are just a taste of what is to come during the Theodore Roethke Poetry and Arts Festival, a triennial celebration of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning poet from Saginaw. Sponsored by Saginaw Valley State University, the festival venues will stretch across the Great Lakes Bay Region from March 23-28.

"We're very excited to offer a range of rich events to celebrate the arts in our area and to promote the work of Theodore Roethke, Saginaw's native son," said Helen Raica-Klotz, director of the Writing Center at SVSU and chair of the 2018 Festival.

All events listed below are free and open to the public, funded in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

  • A poetry slam will take place Friday, March 23 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum at SVSU. This event is open to all ages.  Guitar and violin duo, CaseyLane, will perform live. The poetry slam's top three winners will receive cash prizes. Light refreshments will be provided.
  • Tours of the Roethke House will be held Saturday, March 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Theodore Roethke Home Museum, 1805 Gratiot in Saginaw. This guided tour will take attendees through the childhood home of Theodore Roethke. Then, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., the River Junction Poets will reader some of their original work and discuss the influence Roethke had on the region's longest standing poetry group.
  • The "Ted (Roethke) Talk and Tasting" will take place on Saturday, March 24 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Creative 306, 1517 Bayliss in Midland. Mike Kolleth, vice-president of Friends of Theodore Roethke, will offer a brief history of the late poet. Writer Jeff VandeZande will read from his novel, "American Poet," which features scenes from Saginaw and the Roethke home. Wine tasting will accompany both presentations.
  • SVSU's Cardinal Singers will perform "The Waking: Vocal Settings of Theodore Roethke" on Sunday, March 25 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the St. Lorenz Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1030 Tuscola in Frankenmuth and again on Monday, March 26 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Rhea Miller Recital Hall at SVSU. The choir will present the poems of Roethke set to music. Kevin Simons, associate professor of music at SVSU, will direct the choir.
  • The Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize will be awarded Tuesday, March 27 at 7 p.m. in SVSU’s Rhea Miller Recital Hall. This distinguished prize has been awarded since 1968. Recipient Douglas Kearney will read selections from the collection of poems, "Buck Studies," which won him this award, as well as sign books following the event. Kearney will also perform selections of his poetry on Monday, March 26 from 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at Counter Culture, 620 Gratiot in Saginaw and again on Tuesday, March 27 from 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wirt Library, 500 Center in Bay City.
  • The Michigan Jazz Trail Big Band will perform jazz music from Roethke's time period - the mid-20th century - on Wednesday, March 28 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the State Theatre, 913 Washington Ave. in Bay City. The 19-piece jazz orchestra will be led by local jazz musician, Jeff Hall. Shorts Brewery of Bellaire, Michigan will be 'on tap' to serve a selection of their beers at this event.

Throughout the month of March, the Zahnow Library at SVSU will feature a Roethke Display in the Roberta Allen Reading Room, located on the fourth floor of the library. In addition, both the Saginaw Community Writing Center and the Bay Community Writing Center will hold a "Write Like Roethke" poetry contest inspired by lines from Roethke's poems during the month of March.

For more information about the Roethke Festival or any of the events listed here, visit, or contact Raica-Klotz at 989-964-6062.

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