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February 24, 2017

SVSU forensics team places second in competition

A Saginaw Valley State University student’s performance helped propel the institution’s forensics team to a second-place finish at the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League Novice States Tournament Feb. 18 at Northwood University.

The top SVSU performer was Gina Kearly, who earned Top Speaker honors and placed first overall in the Programmed Oral Interpretation category. In order to be considered for Top Speaker, students must compete in several events in categories including public address, limited preparation, and oral interpretation.

SVSU’s individual performance results include the following:

  • Codi Aymer, a communication major from Midland, placed fourth in the dramatic interpretation category.
  • Jrew Brickel, a criminal justice major from Midland, placed fourth in the impromptu category.
  • Cody Bromberg, a communication major from Essexville, placed seventh in the impromptu category.
  • Gylian Castle, a communication major from Standish, placed second in the persuasion category.
  • Andrea Garner, a secondary education major from Westland, placed seventh in the dramatic interpretation category.
  • Tiler Jewell, a creative writing major from Bay City, placed fourth in the persuasion category.
  • Kearly, a communication and theatre double major from Midland, in addition to Top Speaker, placed first in the programmed oral interpretation category, third in the rhetorical criticism category, fifth in the dramatic interpretation category, and sixth in the impromptu category.
  • Adia Rodgers, a medical laboratory science major from Saginaw, placed third in the persuasion category.

The SVSU forensics team is advised by Amy Pierce, associate professor of communication.

For more information regarding the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League Novice States Tournament, visit


February 24, 2017

SVSU professor to speak on post-Civil War black families and black print

Eric Gardner, professor of English at Saginaw Valley State University, will speak Tuesday, March 7 at noon at the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History as part of its “Lunch and Learn” series. The talk will explore post-Civil War memories of slavery and race and the role of black print culture.

This event, part of a presentation series established by the museum in order to bring community members together over discussion of historical topics relating to the Saginaw County area, is titled “‘Information Wanted’: Black Press, Black Families, and American Memory.”

After receiving a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for the 2012-13 academic year, Gardner began writing his book, “Black Print Unbound: ‘The Christian Recorder,’ African American Literature, and Periodical Culture.” The book closely examines weekly newspapers of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the Civil War era.

Gardner has also authored a book titled “Unexpected Places: Relocating Nineteenth-Century African American Literature,” which won the 2010 Research Society for American Periodicals Book Prize and was named an “Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries.  His works have also appeared in prominent literary journals such as American Literary History, Legacy, and African American Review.

This Lunch and Learn event will begin at noon and the event is free after paid admission to the museum which is $1 for adults and 50 cents for children. Guests are permitted to bring their own lunch but some refreshments will be provided. For more information, call the Castle Museum at (989)752-2861. 

February 22, 2017

SVSU honored by Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce for community engagement

Saginaw Valley State University received the Corporate Community Service Award from the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce Saturday, Feb. 11.

The award is given to organizations that have made notable contributions to the quality of life in Saginaw County through involvement in community programs, partnerships with community and public sector groups, philanthropic efforts, and a well-documented commitment to corporate citizenship.

SVSU was nominated for the award by The Dow Chemical Company for strong community engagement efforts including the continued success of Battle of the Valleys to support local nonprofit agencies; the Business, Art, Theater and Sociology Revive Urban Communities (BATS) Program's contributions to the City of Saginaw; the introduction of The Dow-SVSU Mobile Research Lab to area K-12 schools; the creation of the Saginaw Urban and Civic Partnership Scholarship; and the ongoing partnerships with organizations such as The United Way of Saginaw County, The Saginaw Community Foundation, and Habitat for Humanity.

SVSU President Don Bachand formally accepted the award at the chamber’s annual Chairman’s Ball.

For more information on the award, please visit

February 22, 2017

SVSU to provide additional scholarship support for Bay Commitment students

Saginaw Valley State University will expand its commitment to supporting students and increasing educational attainment in the Great Lakes Bay Region by providing new scholarships for Bay County students who are Bay Commitment scholarship recipients.

Established in 2008 by the Bay Area Community foundation, the Bay Commitment Scholarship seeks to encourage first-generation college students in Bay County to pursue and complete postsecondary education. The program provides $2,000 scholarships for 100 Bay County high school graduates each year during their first year attending Delta College or SVSU; it has awarded over $1.6 million in total scholarships since its inception.

Beginning with the 2017-18 academic year, SVSU will provide renewable $1,000 scholarships for Bay Commitment students in their second, third and fourth years attending SVSU.

SVSU also is establishing a mentoring program for Bay Commitment Scholars to support them during their educational experience and encourage timely completion of a degree.

“We know first-generation students have unique needs and often require personalized support to succeed in college, and that even students who are doing well academically can still face challenges financially,” said Deb Huntley, provost and vice president for academic affairs at SVSU.

“We want to help these local, hard-working students complete degrees, and ideally pursue a career in our Great Lakes Bay Region. We are committed to doing what we can to increase educational attainment throughout our region, because a well-educated citizenry and workforce benefits us all.”

Eileen Curtis, president and CEO of the Bay Area Community Foundation, said the new scholarship dollars will be appreciated by students, families and the community.

“We are excited to partner with SVSU on this significant opportunity for our Bay Commitment scholarship recipients,” she said. “SVSU is a leader in higher education. Their support of Bay County students demonstrates their dedication to the people of Bay County and the entire Great Lakes Bay Region.”

Last year, SVSU introduced the Saginaw Urban and Civic Partnership Scholarship to provide financial support to students who reside in the Saginaw Promise Zone.

For more information on scholarship opportunities at SVSU, visit For more information on the Bay Commitment Scholarship, visit

February 21, 2017

SVSU Board approves Master of Social Work program, campus updates

The Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control approved adding a Master of Social Work degree program to the curriculum during the Board’s regular meeting Monday, Feb. 20.

SVSU expects about 20 students to enroll in the new graduate program when it begins in the 2017 fall semester, and ultimately expects the program to welcome 80 new students each year.

SVSU has one of the largest undergraduate social work programs in Michigan with 440 students majoring in the field this year. In 2015, 94 percent of SVSU social work students passed the international licensing exam on their first try, compared to a 71 percent overall pass rate for everyone who took the same exam in the United States and Canada.

In recent years, roughly 60 percent of SVSU students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work went on to enroll in a Mater of Social Work program at other institutions. SVSU plans to market the new program to its social work graduates, as well as those graduating in programs such as sociology, psychology, criminal justice and health sciences.

The Board also approved two capital projects. The Board authorized spending up to $800,000 for maintenance and various improvements to M.J. Brandimore House, a campus residence hall. The Board also authorized spending up to $525,000 for repair and resurfacing of several campus parking lots and roadways.

In other action, the Board:
•    Appointed a nominating committee for May board elections.
•    Approved granting emeritus status to Ron Trepkowski, who retired in 2016 after serving on University Police for 36 years, including more than a decade as police chief.
•    Approved granting tenure to 18 faculty: Arundhati Bagchi Misra, mathematics; Jennifer Chaytor, chemistry; Kyle Cissell, chemistry; Adam Coughlin, kinesiology; Denise Dedman, social work; Warren Fincher, sociology; Stacie Krupp, accounting; John Lowry, kinesiology; James McEvoy, biology; Rhett Mohler, geography; Rajani Muraleedharan, electrical and computer engineering; Shiva Nadavulakere, management and marketing; Christopher Nakamura, physics; Annamalai Pandian, mechanical engineering; Timothy Rowlands, criminal justice; Rebecca Schlaff, kinesiology; Jason Scott, biology; Yu Zou, electrical and computer engineering.

February 17, 2017

Pianist Trepanier to perform at SVSU

MiJung Trepanier will perform a piano recital Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall at Saginaw Valley State University. The event is free and open to the public.

Trepanier is an independent performer, teacher, and lecturer. She is an accomplished artist and has performed in over four countries, including Bolivia, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United States.

Trepanier has performed solo recitals at the Grove Music Festival, The Global Children Foundation in Steinway Hall, and the opening night at the Michigan Music Teacher Annual Convention. In addition, she played with the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra in a performance that was acclaimed by the critics.

The concert will feature selections from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, including sonatas by Scarlatti, Chopin and Beethoven.

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

February 17, 2017

SVSU senior soprano to perform with pianist in concert

Saginaw Valley State University will present a senior recital performance featuring student soprano Heather Seaton, who will be joined in concert by pianist Jason Maurer.

The recital, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall, is free and open to the public.

The performance includes selections from the 17th century to present, featuring artists such as English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, German composer Johannes Brahms, and modern American composer Ben Moore.

Seaton, a music education major, is a member of both the SVSU Concert Choir and Cardinal Singers. Seaton also is a choral scholar at St. John’s Episcopal Church, participates in the Saginaw Choral Society, and co-directs the youth choir at Major Chords for Minors.

Maurer, a staff accompanist at SVSU, joins vocal music majors for their studio lessons, recitals and juries. He serves as an organist and pianist at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Saginaw and Christ Lutheran Church in Reese.

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

February 16, 2017

SVSU to host FIRST in Michigan statewide high school robotics competition

Saginaw Valley State University will welcome nearly 5,000 high school students from across Michigan for the statewide FIRST Robotics competition Wednesday, April 12 through Saturday, April 15. Including professional mentors and family members, an estimated 7,500 people will descend on the Great Lakes Bay Region for the competition, which is designed to inspire students to pursue careers in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math.

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“We are dedicated to growing the next generation of passionate STEM individuals,” said Gail Alpert, president of FIRST in Michigan. “The robot is the vehicle we use to help them understand fields from mechanical engineering to computer science to business.”

SVSU President Donald Bachand said hosting the FIRST Robotics competition is a good fit for SVSU academically.

“We have highly determined students and faculty throughout our STEM disciplines, and they are winning national awards year after year,” he said. “This provides our students and faculty with an opportunity to volunteer for the event and support these high school students. It also allows us to introduce our academic programs to a motivated group of young people, including our specialized research and competitive opportunities that have received millions of dollars in private support over the past few years.”

The competition will feature 160 high school teams, which average 30 students and four professional mentors per team. Practice sessions and robot repairs will take place in SVSU’s field house, while competition events will be held in O’Neill Arena of the Ryder Center. Both facilities are part of SVSU’s athletic complex.

The Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, which provided assistance to allow SVSU to host the event, estimates the competition will result in direct spending of $1.2 million in the region. The event previously was held in Grand Rapids, but outgrew the facility as student participation has increased.

“SVSU presents us with more space and an absolutely beautiful facility,” Alpert said.

FIRST Robotics teams that qualify for the state finals will arrive Wednesday, April 12 for inspection. The qualifying rounds of competition will take place throughout the day Thursday, April 13 and Friday, April 14 with 40 teams in four separate divisions. A total of 32 teams will advance to the playoff rounds Saturday, April 15 with the champion crowned that afternoon.

In each round, three teams compete using autonomous and remote-controlled robots piloted by students, battling to earn points during a two-minute round.

“It’s almost like an internship, because students are partnering with industry mentors,” Alpert said. “Our students learn through hands-on experience and  problem solving. You don’t get that in a lot of other high school competitions.”

Leading regional employers such as The Dow Chemical Company and Nexteer Automotive are among the companies actively involved with FIRST Robotics, and a significant number of schools in the region field teams, including a first-year team from the Great Lakes Bay Early College at SVSU. For more information about FIRST in Michigan, visit

About FIRST in Michigan: The FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of a varsity sport with hands-on training in science and technology to help high school students discover how rewarding a career in engineering or technology can be. Remote-controlled robots, piloted by students and cheered on by thousands of screaming fans, go head-to-head in short games on the floor of a sports arena, battling it out to earn points during a two-minute round.

About SVSU:  Saginaw Valley State University is a comprehensive university with more than 90 programs of study for its more than 9,000 students. Located on a suburban campus in Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region, SVSU is committed to a supportive and empowering environment for students, faculty and staff. SVSU is establishing itself as a leader in STEM education for the Great Lakes Bay Region, partnering with businesses, foundations and school districts to improve students’ performance in math and science at the middle school, high school and university levels.

February 16, 2017

SVSU Theatre to stage modern play ‘Really Really’

The Saginaw Valley State University Theatre Department will stage its production of Paul Downs Colaizzo's “Really Really” Wednesday, Feb. 23 through Sunday, Feb. 26 in SVSU's Malcolm Field Theatre of Performing Arts.

The play is set on a 21st century college campus, when a group of "Generation Me" college students attend a wild party called 'The Annual Tunnel of Love' where no phones or cameras are allowed. The morning after, the annual bash is filled with gossip, self-interest, and lies. The young adults are put in situations where the ways to get ahead are to betray each other, make stuff up, and cut moral corners.

“It is a play where students can really relate and see themselves and their friends,” said David Rzeszutek, SVSU associate professor of theatre, who is directing the play.  

The play includes mature subject matter, similar to an R-rated movie, and Rzesutek's goal is to send an important message to the community.

“This production is extremely modern and controversial,” he said, “and its purpose is to mainly educate the students in the taboo topics that are brought up during the play, including alcohol abuse and sexual assault.”

Rzesutek was worried that older audiences would not enjoy the play due to its extremely modern atmosphere.

“It scared me beyond belief. I was terrified that older audiences would not like it,” he said.

To his surprise, his adult peers also related to the characters and could see themselves in similar situations during their college experience.

“When people leave the theatre, people will still talk about it. It is definitely a conversation starter.”

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22 through Saturday, Feb. 25; there will be a matinee performance at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26. Tickets are $13 for general admission, and $10 for students and seniors. For more information please contact the SVSU box office at (989) 964-4261.

The production is the first of two plays planned for the winter semester at SVSU. “Assassins” by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman is scheduled to be staged in early April.

February 13, 2017

SVSU President Bachand offers statement on the passing of Ted Braun

Hugo E. “Ted” Braun of Saginaw passed away Wednesday, Feb. 8 at age 84. Saginaw Valley State University President Donald Bachand offered these thoughts:

“We at SVSU mourn the passing of one of our most loyal and committed friends, and one of the Saginaw community’s finest ambassadors, Ted Braun. We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife, Ruth, and their children and family.

“Ted’s rich and lasting legacy is evident throughout our university, and it is inseparable from that of his wife and partner of 62 years. Individually and collectively, he and Ruth have been deeply committed servant leaders, and we at SVSU will be forever fortunate that they chose to devote themselves to advancing our institution.

“Ted served on the SVSU Board of Control for eight years (1981-89) and was succeeded by Ruth, who served for 16 years (1991-2007). For nearly half of our university’s history, a Braun shaped the most important decisions we made.

“Ted and Ruth have shown extraordinary support for SVSU and the greater Saginaw community through their advocacy, their philanthropy, and their humble but steadfast resolve to work for the greater good. The Braun Fellowship, which provides financial support to SVSU faculty and staff for scholarly endeavors, and the Braun Writing Awards, which honor SVSU students for exemplary writing, are two shining examples of how they empower people within our university community.

“Ted also served many years as president of the board for the Harvey Randall Wickes Foundation, which long has been among SVSU’s chief benefactors, providing funding for three endowed chairs and numerous campus building projects.

“On behalf of SVSU, I extend our condolences to Ted’s family and friends, and I express our gratitude for the innumerable ways in which Ted has enriched our institution and those whom we serve.”

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