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October 12, 2017

SVSU receives top certification from Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency

Saginaw Valley State University has earned certification as a Veteran-Friendly School from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency for the third consecutive year.

This certification is the highest award a Michigan university can earn on the state level, said Bethany Alford, SVSU director of Military Student Affairs.

While SVSU has received the award in the past, the university continues to expand the services it provides to military-affiliated students.

"We just started a new program that will really personalize the help we give our students," Alford said. "We have hired four veteran students to work for this office as peer academic and career advisors."

These positions provide specific, one-on-one advisement to SVSU's military-connected students from their peers who have been through the process themselves.

The SVSU Military Student Affairs Office reaches over 300 military-connected students across campus, helping them achieve success in the classroom as well as the community.

"We offer help all the way from a student's initial admission in the university, helping them choose their classes and acclimate to college life, all the way to graduation and everything in between," Alford said.

This award reflects SVSU's Military Student Affairs office dedication to ensuring their military-affiliated students are equipped with the tools necessary to succeed in higher education and in the surrounding community. 

This is the first year SVSU met all seven criteria established for the certification:

                     identification of current student veterans,

                     a veteran-specific website,

                     active student-operated organization,

                     a veteran-centric career services/advising,

                     on-campus coordinator/staff point of contact,

                     evaluation/awards based on prior military experience,

                     and evaluation of veteran academic retention and graduation rates.

"It's our duty to serve those who have served," Alford said.

For more information about SVSU's Military Student Affairs office, visit

October 11, 2017

SVSU job fair to feature record 140 employers

Saginaw Valley State University will host a record total of at least 140 employers during its annual Fall University-Wide Employment & Networking Fair. The event - free and open to the public - is scheduled Friday, Oct. 13 from noon to 3 p.m. in SVSU's Curtiss Hall. 

“Our job seeker attendance has been up, and the positive word-of-mouth from recruiters leads to more interest,” said Mike Major, SVSU director of Career Services. “It could also be a sign that the economy is doing well.”

The fair will give prospective employees the opportunity to meet and network with employers representing both regional and national businesses and organizations. Volunteer opportunities also will be available. In addition, the event offers an opportunity for attendees to strengthen communication and interviewing skills as they interact with potential employers.

"Employers report the No. 1 skill lacking in new hires is 'interpersonal communication,' regardless of industry," Major said. "Employers want to meet candidates face-to-face and witness their ability to communicate. It's easier for them to judge this important skill at an employment fair rather than trying to read a résumé."

The event is sponsored by Chemical Bank, Independent Bank, Magliner, MidMichigan Health, Morley Companies, Nexteer Automotive, Quicken Loans, Saginaw Bay Underwriters, Walmart.  Among the additional companies and organizations scheduled to attend are American Red Cross, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), The Dow Chemical Company, Saginaw Spirit, Stardust Lanes and United Way of Saginaw County.

A complete list of employers is available online at

The fair will also offer attendees free professional portrait opportunities, courtesy of Dynamic Focus Photography.

October 9, 2017

SVSU alumnus and STEM partner honored as Teacher of the Year by Carrollton Public Schools

Craig Coopersmith, a two-time Saginaw Valley State University alumnus and an adjunct instructor of chemistry, has been named Carrollton High School's Teacher of the Year for the 2017-18 school year. Coopersmith will be honored with a plaque as well as funding for classroom supplies.

Tim Wilson, superintendent of Carrollton Public Schools, chose Coopersmith for the honor.

“In the classroom, he creates unique learning experiences for his students,” Wilson said.

“He also creates many hands-on projects — both inside and outside the classroom — that engage students deeply in the learning process. He has revived our greenhouse and students are excited about it. He's enthusiastic about teaching and his enthusiasm is contagious. He cares for kids and he helps them to succeed. He is respected by both students and staff for his dedication to teaching and helping our students learn about science.”

Coopersmith completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SVSU; he also completed the Dow Corning Foundation/SVSU Community STEM Partnership program. He first participated in the program during the 2015-16 academic year, when he and his students studied how pollutants enter the region’s watershed.

Coopersmith has a unique way of connecting with and motivating his students to get involved. When interviewed about his involvement in the watershed project as part of the Dow Corning Foundation initiative, he explained that he wants each student to take ownership of their work on the projects they are involved in.

"I think the best way to teach them science is to let them experience it," Coopersmith said.

Practicing what he preaches, Coopersmith has served as a teacher in SVSU’s Dow Science and Sustainability Education Center Summer Research Program for four years. The program focuses on collaborative partnerships between high school students, teachers, SVSU students and faculty. The projects are chosen based on needs in the community.

Coopersmith said his K-12 students have gained academic advantages through other resources available at SVSU, including the Arnold and Gertrude Boutell Greenhouse, and Saginaw Bay Environmental Science Institute, along with the university’s scholarship opportunities and STEM-based camps. 

“My students have benefitted greatly through these experiential learning opportunities,” he said.

For more information about programs in science, technology, engineering and math at SVSU, visit


October 6, 2017

SVSU hosts kick off for Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute, Friday, Oct. 6, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Curtiss Hall

Saginaw Valley State University will host 91 students from 30 regional high schools Friday, Oct. 6 for the Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute. Students from across the region will learn from each other, SVSU mentors, and invited guests over the course of the program.

Today’s session include a performance by the Mosaic Youth Theatre company from Detroit.

The institute is an academic year-long community outreach program facilitated by SVSU’s Office of Diversity Programs. It provides a leadership development experience for youth focused on issues related to the intersection of diversity and leadership.

This youth leadership institute is the only one of its kind in the Great Lakes Bay Region and the only initiative of its type developed by a Michigan university. 

Sponsors for the institute include:

•                     the Bay Area Community Foundation

•                     the Bridge Center for Racial Harmony

•                     The Dow Chemical Company

•                     Isabella Bank

•                     the Midland Community Foundation

•                     Nexteer Automotive

•                     the Saginaw Community Foundation

•                     Team One Credit Union

October 4, 2017

SVSU’s first all-female cast to stage WWII drama, 'Decision Height'

Saginaw Valley State University will soar into new territory this October with the theatre department's first production with an all-female cast, "Decision Height."
Set in World War II, the play follows a group of women who form a bond of sisterhood while serving together in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), a wing of the United States Army Air Forces.
The main character, Virginia Hascall – played by Brianne Dolney, an SVSU political science major from Bay City – joins WASP and meets kindred spirits who also left their homes in pursuit of helping the world defeat the Axis powers. During the course of the drama, the team learns much about each other - and themselves - as they learn how to fly an airplane.
Ric Roberts, SVSU professor of theatre, is directing the empowering play.
"We wanted to not only highlight the actresses in our program, but we also wanted to highlight a young new female playwright, Meredith Dayna Levy," Roberts said of his motivation for bringing "Decision Height" to SVSU. 
The play revolves heavily around the theme of the bonds formed between women. This theme has carried over into the actresses’ rehearsals and off-time, said Alicia Russell, a business major from Marlette. She plays the role of Rosalie Hartson.
"It's so much fun being in an all-female cast, especially when you have this particular group of ladies," Russell said. "The rehearsal conversations are a little different than a normal show. Since we're all girls, we talk freely about some things we might not always discuss when guys are present."
SVSU's tech, sound, and lighting teams have come together to create the illusion on stage of a WWII-era warplane. The behind-the-scenes crew will utilize video clips and pictures, sound effects, costumes, and theatrical lighting to help this show take flight, Roberts said. 
"Decision Height's" showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, Oct. 4-7, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, in SVSU's Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. Tickets are $13 for the general public and $10 for students or attendees 60 and older.

October 3, 2017

SVSU to host lecture on free will

Saginaw Valley State University will welcome a guest speaker and professor who will speak on the topic of "Free Will and Neuroscience." The presentation will take place Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. in SVSU's Ott Auditorium.

An expert in his field, Alfred Mele, the William H. and Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University, comes to SVSU as part of SVSU’s annual Beutler Forum on Ethics and Practice, and Visiting Scholars and Artists Series.

While teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses at Florida State, Mele has authored 11 books and more than 200 articles covering a range of topics including free will, motivation, self-deception and more. His most recent publications include "Free: Why Science Hasn't Disproved Free Will," and "A Dialogue on Free Will and Science," both published in 2014. He has also edited several books.

Between 2010 and 2013, Mele acted as the director of the Big Questions in Free Will Project in which scientists and philosophers aimed to improve understanding of free will in three areas: science, philosophy and theology.

Mele is currently the director of the Philosophy and Science of Self-Control Project which began in 2014. The project provides incentives and opportunities for collaborative philosophical and scientific research on self-control.


October 2, 2017

SVSU students win ‘Battle,’ lift spirits for Saginaw homeless shelter's occupants, director

Saginaw Valley State University students continued their tradition of improving their surrounding community by raising $32,115 in the annual “Battle of the Valleys” fundraising competition. The funds will help the Mustard Seed Shelter double the occupancy of its Saginaw facility that moves women and children from homelessness to self-sufficiency.

The rich bonds of friendship forged during the campaign, however, could not be measured in dollars, the nonprofit's director said.

"Our world is in good hands with the leadership of these students," said Amy Bartels Roe, the Mustard Seed Shelter's director since 2014. "I'm overwhelmed and truly thankful for the care and concern of these students for the homeless, and their ability to have fun while raising money for an important cause."

The $32,115 was raised during the annual fundraising competition between SVSU and Grand Valley State University. Each year, each institution selects a nonprofit partner, then spends one week collecting donations for those respective organizations.

This year's Battle of the Valleys week began Sunday, Sept. 24 at SVSU with a kickoff celebration - featuring food and games - attended by some of the women and children housed at The Mustard Seed Shelter.

"I was touched by how the students welcomed our guests," Bartels Roe said. "This was about so much more than the check."

Caitlin Coulter, the SVSU student who serves as philanthropy chairperson for the SVSU Student Association, felt that same immediate connection between her peers and the Mustard Seed Shelter guests.

"It was very heartwarming to see them come out and have fun," said Coulter, a pre-medicine major from Clio. "Their children were playing on a Slip 'N Slide and having such a blast with us."

That interaction continued throughout the week between SVSU students and The Mustard Seed Shelter during fundraising outings at Buffalo Wild Wings and Stardust Lanes in Saginaw Township.

The competition concluded Saturday, Sept. 30 when the final tallies were announced during halftime of the football game between SVSU and GVSU at Lubbers Stadium in Allendale. SVSU students won the contest for the tenth consecutive year.

"It was great to see the sheer excitement of the students when it was announced," Bartels Roe said.

 The funds will support a 3,500-square-foot expansion to the Mustard Seed Shelter facility in Saginaw. The growth will double the existing structure's 12-person capacity, Bartels Roe said. She expects to break ground on the addition in the spring.

Coulter said Battle of the Valleys exceeded her expectations. She and fellow student leaders began organizing the week-long initiative four months ago, with the goal of exceeding the $26,000 raised during the 2016 Battle of the Valleys campaign benefiting Hidden Harvest, which helps the hungry in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

"I'm very proud of everyone who helped this year," Coulter said. "It's bittersweet that the week is done."

GVSU students collected $17,017 for their charity partner, Laker Children's Fund, which contributes to organizations that promote health and wellness for children.

Between SVSU and GVSU, the universities have raised a combined total of $601,282 since the competition started in 2003. SVSU has contributed $389,444 of that total.

The university raising the largest sum of money during each Battle of the Valleys competition claims ownership of a 3-foot-tall trophy known as "Victoria" until at least the next year's rematch. Victoria has remained at SVSU since 2008. Of the 15 Battle of the Valleys competitions, SVSU students outraised GVSU during 12 of those years.

October 2, 2017

SVSU and Pulse 3 Foundation hope to host 500 for CPR Blitz at Saturday’s football game

Saginaw Valley State University’s College of Health and Human Services, the Pulse 3 Foundation in Saginaw, and Blue Cross Blue Shield will partner to provide lifesaving training Saturday, Oct. 7. Using the slogan “500 in 5,” they hope to train 500 people how to perform hands-only CPR training the SVSU home football game that day.

Trained SVSU students and other volunteers will be stationed in a tent outside Wickes Memorial Stadium, leading 5-minute training sessions beginning at 1 p.m., two hours prior to the game's kickoff, and lasting throughout the game.

Beth Roe, SVSU professor of nursing, said CPR training is important.

“More than 350,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest each year in the U.S.,” she said. “Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time, and CPR can double or triple survival rates."

The first 100 participants will receive a free SVSU T-shirt.

October 2, 2017

Unique ‘Piano Windtet’ from Germany to perform in concert at SVSU

A group to believed to be the only "Piano Windtet" of its kind (piano, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn) will perform in concert at Saginaw Valley State University Sunday, Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall as part of SVSU’s Rhea Miller Concert Series.

Featuring four wind soloists from German orchestras and one pianist, the members of Ensemble 4.1 devote themselves to chamber music for this unusual combination of instruments.

Since forming in 2013, the group has given concerts in Germany and overseas, some of them organized by the Goethe Institute and by German embassies abroad. Their special communicative power and their intoxicating atmosphere on stage have been repeatedly praised by critics.

In addition to the masterpieces for this original instrumentation by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven, the ensemble is devoted to discovering rarely played compositions from the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. Composers such as Walter Gieseking, Theodor Verhey, Herrmann Zilcher, and David Stephen are again being performed for an enthusiastic public.

The musicians of Ensemble 4.1 are:

  • Alexander Glücksmann, who began playing the clarinet at the age of nine. In 2003 he was appointed principal clarinet of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra.  
  • Thomas Hoppe, piano, who has won numerous prizes and awards including the German Music Competition in 2004, the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition in 2007, selection as BBC New Generation Artists in 2009 and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Special Ensemble Fellowship in 2012.
  • Christoph Knitt, who gained his first experience as an orchestral musician as principal bassoon in the State Youth Orchestra of Saxony-Anhalt. Since 2006 he has been principal bassoon at the Potsdam Chamber Academy.
  • Fritz Pahlmann, who was and is a regular guest as principal horn at the State Opera in Munich, the Munich Philharmonic and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, as well as other orchestras. He has been engaged as principal horn for the Staatskapelle Weimar Orchestra since 2007.
  • Jörg Schneider, who was made principal oboe in the RIAS-Youth Orchestra Berlin, and has been associate principal oboe for the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra since 2007.  He is a winner of international chamber music competitions in Osaka, Marseille and Schwerin and a is scholarship holder of the German Music Competition.

The Rhea Miller Concert Series is made possible by a generous gift from Rhea E. Miller, a longtime friend of SVSU. Her gift, administered by the Miller Trust for Music Education, has provided the university with the opportunity to offer outstanding performances by nationally and internationally acclaimed musical artists at no cost to the audience since 1993. For more information, call (989) 964-4159 or email


September 29, 2017

SVSU to host piano recital featuring Beethoven and Tchaikovsky

Two pianists will bring the music of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky to Saginaw Valley State University's Rhea Miller Recital Hall Friday, Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m.

The piano recital will feature Wendy Chu, a piano accompanist at SVSU, and MiJung Trepanier, an adjunct faculty member at the university; each has performed across the world. They will perform classical music including Beethoven's "Egmont Overture" and "Variations on a Theme of Beethoven, op 35" as well as Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite, op 71a."

Wendy Chu, originally from Taiwan, received her Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance from Michigan State University. She has performed in recitals across the world, including Taiwan, Canada, Austria, and the U.S.; she also has been featured on PBS. Chu also serves as the vice president of the Midland Music Teachers Association. When she is not teaching at SVSU, she teaches in her home piano studio and The Rhine Center for Musical Arts in Rochester Hills.

Midland-based pianist MiJung Trepanier shines on stage and in the classroom. Like Chu, she has performed all over the world, including Asia, Latin America, and across the U.S. Trepanier is an active educator, giving lectures at multiple conferences such as Michigan Music Teacher Association, Herter Music Center, and Bay Music Teacher Association. Her private studio attracts students of all ages. She has taught at SVSU, Alma College, and Southern Utah University.

Special guests Barbara DuRussel and Diana Kurin will join the performers during "Egmont Overture." DuRussel has been teaching piano since 1964. She also enjoys accompanying and working on church music. Kurin has been teaching piano in Midland since 2006. Kurin serves as the current president of the Midland Music Teachers Association and is a co-chair for KeyboardFest 2018 in Kalamazoo.

Admission for this recital is free. Please contact SVSU at (989) 964-4159 or for more information.

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