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September 8, 2016

SVSU earns top certification from Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency

Saginaw Valley State University recently earned certification as a Veteran-Friendly School from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.

The “gold”-level Veteran-Friendly School status demonstrates SVSU’s commitment to offer supportive services to those affiliated with the military, said Denise Berry, director of the university’s Military Student Affairs office.

“This is the top certification you can earn in the state,” said Berry, a retired U.S. Army officer. “This says that we’re obviously doing things right.”

SVSU received the same status last year, when the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency first offered certification to higher education institutions.

Berry said SVSU’s Military Student Affairs has grown since that initial certification. Much of that growth is physical. The office’s suite tripled in size, and the number of visits increased from 1,525 during the 2014-15 academic year to 2,640 in 2015-16.

“There’s just so much more space to meet and do group work,” she said. “This location truly achieves our goal of having a one-stop shop for veterans on campus.”

SVSU’s Military Student Affairs benefits military service members, veterans and the dependents of service members and veterans. The office offers space where military-affiliated students can go for admissions, advising and orientation, to name just a few of the services.

“We help with just about everything they need,” Berry said. “If my team can’t provide a solution, we find the person on campus that can.”

For more information about SVSU’s Military Student Affairs, visit

September 1, 2016

SVSU professor set to swim Straits of Mackinac, run 64-mile race in 4-day span

If Adam Coughlin has a limit, he may meet it within the next week.

The Saginaw Valley State University associate professor of kinesiology and exercise aficionado in September is determined to take on two of the longest and most grueling competitions of his life.

The first test of his limits arrives Monday, Sept. 5, when the Flint native participates in a nearly 5-mile swimming race on the Straits of Mackinac that coincides with the 59th Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk. The second test happens four days later, on Friday, Sept. 9, when he begins a 100K (64-mile) run as part of the Run Woodstock celebration in Pinckney.

“I’m a bit of an adventure nut,” Coughlin said of his decision to enter both challenges within a 1-week span. “I like to know where my limits are. I could find out here.”

He is no stranger to competition. He signed up for his first triathlon in 2001. Enjoying the challenge and discipline involved, Coughlin over the years has demonstrated his tireless commitment to challenging his physical and mental boundaries by entering in swimming and running competitions.

Still, his longest competitive run was 50 miles and his longest swimming event was about half the length of Monday’s contest.

“I have a feeling this 64-mile race might be my limit,” Coughlin said. “I’m 6-foot, 3-inches and 200 pounds, so the running can take its toll on my body. The swimming doesn’t have that kind of effect, so I can see myself reaching further distances with that.”

His date with the Straits of Mackinac is part of a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser. About 50 people competing in the event are donating their entry fees — totaling $5,500 — to the nonprofit organization.

“It’s one of the largest swimming-based fundraisers in the world,” Coughlin said, “so it’s for a good cause.”

Water temperatures could reach low 60-degree levels, which would mark his coldest swimming event environment. Participants are required to wear wetsuits, so Coughlin doesn’t expect too much discomfort.

“I prefer a little chill,” he said. “It feels good to have some of that to cool the body heat you generate.”

Coughlin, who is both an Adrian College graduate and former member of the faculty there, said the summer has involved “the most amount of training I’ve ever done.”

Coughlin expects to finish the swim in under four hours and the run in about 15 hours.

“I feel pretty good about both races,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

August 25, 2016

SVSU students earn accolades from Enterprise internship initiative

A pair of Saginaw Valley State University students showed their commitment to excellence when they were recognized for their outstanding performance at a summer-long internship program with Enterprise Holdings, the corporation largely known for vehicle rental services.

Leslie Smith, an SVSU junior from Roseville with a double major in marketing and management, earned a $750 scholarship from Enterprise Thursday, Aug. 18, during the culmination of the internship program involving 46 college students from Michigan and northern Ohio.

“I was beyond happy to get that scholarship,” said Smith, who participated in the 2015 summer internship program, as well. “I worked really hard all summer and it really paid off. This was a great opportunity for me.”

The program is a full-time, paid internship that places participants in Enterprise Holdings locations across the region from May to August, tasking interns with business and marketing-related jobs.

George Copeland, a management major from Southfield, excelled on a team of five students recognized for Best Presentation from Enterprise during the Aug. 18 event at Ann Arbor City Club.

The team was one of 10 groups that presented on various aspects of Enterprise Holdings’ business. The Southfield native’s team presented on the company’s growth and marketing.

Both Smith and Copeland originally connected with Enterprise Holdings when representatives visited SVSU during campus employment fairs.

Thomas Barnikow, assistant director of SVSU Career Services, which organizes the employment fairs, attended the Enterprise Holdings event in Ann Arbor.

“There were students in that internship program from all over the place,” Barnikow said. “It was definitely nice to see that, not only did SVSU have representation, but that our students there did so well.”

August 15, 2016

Old meters turned into artwork for SVSU art gallery exhibition

A Saginaw Valley State University professor will display his paintings, drawings and artwork made from old meters during an exhibition Monday, Aug. 22 to Wednesday, Sept. 14 in the campus’ University Art Gallery.

Michael Mosher, professor of art/communication and multimedia, will discuss his exhibition –  titled “Meter-Reader: Voltage, Amperage, Knowledge” – Thursday, Sept. 8, at 3 p.m. in the gallery.

Mosher’s artworks were completed during a 2014 sabbatical. The material makes use of the artist’s inherited collection of mid-20th century, pre-digital voltmeters and ammeters in the exhibition’s paintings, drawings, sculptural installations, photographs and copy-machine prints.

Mosher moved back to Michigan from California's Silicon Valley in 2000 because his father, Raymond F. Mosher, needed attention. The elder Mosher died that same November, having lived out his days in the Ann Arbor house he purchased in 1957 when he was appointed as a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Michigan. In Raymond Mosher’s basement and storage shed were old meters, which his university discarded when the equipment was replaced with digital meters in the 1970s, his son said. The elder Mosher offered a loading dock manager $5 each trip to fill the trunk of his Buick with the meters.

After Michael Mosher inherited his father’s belongings — including the meters — he resolved to make art and use the equipment as a subject matter for a variety of media. To view some of these works, visit or

August 2, 2016

SVSU leaders heading to Atlanta hoping for national awards

Saginaw Valley State University student leaders hope a big presence translates into big awards at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Network Convention in Atlanta this week.

In March, then-senior Kimberly Salwey won the Outstanding Student Leader award and SVSU’s Forever Red student organization won the Outstanding Student Organization award from CASE District V, which encompasses Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Both Salwey and Forever Red are eligible for the same awards, respectively, at the national level for CASE, which features eight districts. The recipients will be announced at the annual convention during an awards ceremony Saturday, Aug. 6.

Salwey, who graduated from SVSU in May; 11 Forever Red students; and Bryan Crainer, Forever Red’s advisor, will attend the event.

“Everyone is very excited,” said Crainer, SVSU’s associate dean of student life and leadership program. “This is going to be a great experience.”

Crainer and as many as four members of Forever Red each year have attended previous CASE conventions. This year, 13 SVSU representatives are traveling to Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center, departing Wednesday, Aug. 3.

“We’re going big this year,” he said. “Our delegation is going to be comparable to larger universities there.”

Forever Red was created in 2011 to promote SVSU school spirit, support student scholarships through fundraising and connect students with alumni. During the previous academic year, about 130 students were members of the organization.

Salwey served as president of Forever Red before graduating in May. The East Tawas native recently began working as a travel expert with the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau.

July 21, 2016

Cardinal on the high seas:

SVSU student blogs as she sails in Viking ship from Bay City to Chicago

‌Saginaw Valley State University junior Carly Peil this week is sailing the high seas  — or at least the Great Lakes.‌
The Auburn native who works in Bay City befriended the crew of the Draken Harald Hårfagre when the Viking vessel arrived last week as part of the Bay City Tall Ships Celebration. Before the ship set sail early Wednesday morning, July 20, her new friends invited Peil to join them as they travel the Great Lakes toward Chicago’s Navy Pier, a destination along the Tall Ships Challenge route. She accepted the invitation, stowing an SVSU flag along with her gear for the trip.
Peil, who is new to sailing, plans to detail her Viking adventure in a blog provided below. Check back here regularly to follow the Storify stream provided below as she posts regular updates before the ship docks in Chicago this weekend.
The graphic design major is an SVSU President’s Scholarship recipient who studied abroad in Prague in 2014 and is planning to study abroad in Italy during the Winter 2017 semester.

July 20, 2016

SVSU receives grants in support of new cross country fitness trail

Saginaw Valley State University has received multiple grants and donations to support the construction of the SVSU Cross Country Fitness Trail, which will serve SVSU students and runners throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region.

The trail will feature an NCAA sanctioned 5-kilometer grass course with interval loops for 6-kilometer, 8-kilometer and 10-kilometer runs that will be constructed on the north side of SVSU's campus. Its proximity to the existing asphalt trail that circles campus will make the SVSU Cross Country Fitness Trail one of the most spectator-friendly courses in the Midwest.

“The trail will be a great addition and will allow us to host meets on campus, which will be terrific for our runners and those who support them,” said Rod Cowan, SVSU head track & field and cross country coach. “We train hard, often early in the morning, and now we will have a top-notch course for our student-athletes, too.  It’s just a great asset for our program. I would like to thank everybody who has contributed to making this concept a reality.”
SVSU has received more than 40 grants, gifts and pledges to support the project, including:
•    $25,000 from the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy via funds provided by the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network
•    $15,000 from the Kantzler Foundation
•    $12,500 from the Russell H. & Maxine E. Smith Charitable Foundation
•    $5,000 from the Bay Area Runners Club
•    $5,000 from Catholic Federal Credit Union
•    $5,000 from the Midland Area Community Foundation
•    $5,000 from Raymond Bartels, an SVSU alumnus (1991, M.B.A.)
•    $5,000 from Ken Roznowski, an SVSU alumnus (1990, B.B.A.)

SVSU estimates the trail will benefit more the 30,000 people per year including SVSU students, faculty and staff, as well as residents of Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region. Preliminary construction is underway and the project is scheduled to be completed by spring 2017. It is expected to cost around $100,000.

In addition to serving SVSU’s men’s and women’s cross country teams, the trail is expected to serve as a regional location for many area competitions, as several high schools have contacted SVSU to express interest in such a trail. SVSU intends for its new trail to provide a safe cross country fitness trail for all students to train and compete.

In addition to the benefits for cross country runners, the trail also will serve as a community resource to provide access for recreation in natural areas of the SVSU campus, something that appealed to the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy and Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network.

“WIN is thrilled to make this investment at SVSU,” said Michael Kelly, director of The Conservation Fund, which administers the Saginaw Bay WIN program. “We, SVSU and the land conservancy are longtime partners in our shared efforts to build a more sustainable region. This new multi-use trail will provide yet another unique amenity that balances our incredible environmental assets with opportunities for public access and athletics.”

Zachary Branigan, executive director of the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy, agreed.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to help bring this multi-purpose trail to the community,” he said. “The planned trail opens access to hundreds of acres of high-quality natural area. From the trail, we expect birders, hikers, naturalists, and visitors of all types to gain new appreciation for a truly unique natural setting at the heart of our region.”

One example of a natural area on the SVSU campus is the wetlands preserve. You can learn more about it here:

July 18, 2016

SVSU named 2016 ‘Great College to Work For’

Saginaw Valley State University has been recognized as among the nation’s best college workplaces, according to a new survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education, a top trade publication for colleges and universities.

“We receive this honor with great enthusiasm, because it speaks to our commitment to support students and one another” said Donald Bachand, SVSU president. “Our faculty and staff work incredibly hard; they are determined to challenge students but also are so willing to share their time and resources to help students succeed.”

SVSU is one of only 93 institutions to achieve the “Great College to Work For” recognition. The results, released today in The Chronicle’s ninth annual report on The Academic Workplace, are based on a survey of 281 colleges and universities that applied for the program. This is the first time SVSU has participated in the survey.

SVSU was honored in the medium university category, which includes schools with 3,000 to 10,000 students.    

SVSU joins the University of Michigan as the state’s only institutions to earn the distinction.

“Today’s announcement is recent, but this has been a great place to work throughout my 30-plus years as a professor, a dean, a provost, and now as a president,” Bachand said. “I am extremely proud of my colleagues at every level of this university. They respect one another and they take their jobs seriously.”

SVSU was honored in three categories: compensation and benefits; facilities, workspace and security; and teaching environment.

The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators, and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition was the employee feedback.

“Nine years in, The Chronicle’s Great Colleges to Work For program is well known as a mark of a college or university that puts thought and effort into serving the needs of its faculty and staff,” said Liz McMillen, editor of The Chronicle. “The colleges and universities that make the list are highly rated by their employees for creating great working environments, an important achievement that helps them recruit top academic and administrative talent.”

To administer the survey and analyze the results, The Chronicle worked with ModernThink LLC, a strategic human capital consulting firm that has conducted numerous “Best Places to Work” programs, surveying hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide.

“It’s easier to be a great workplace during good times, but it’s when times are tough that the commitment to workplace quality really gets tested,” said Richard K. Boyer, principal and managing partner, ModernThink LLC. “And those institutions that measure up during times of economic hardship reinforce their already strong cultures and put even more distance between them and their peer institutions for whom they compete for talent.”

Great Colleges to Work For is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country. For more information and to view all the results of the survey, visit The Chronicle’s Web site at

About Saginaw Valley State University:  Saginaw Valley State University is a comprehensive university with more than 90 programs of study for its nearly 10,000 students. Located on a suburban campus in Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region, SVSU is committed to quality teaching in the classroom, field-based learning outside, NCAA Division II athletics and a broad range of academic and extracurricular opportunities for students to excel.

In 2015, SVSU received the Community Engagement classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a distinction achieved by only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities. By their senior year, 84 percent of students have engaged with community employers and agencies in internships, field placements or some other component of their academic preparation. National research has shown that students who are engaged in the community and on campus are more likely to be successful academically, and to have the critical thinking, problem-solving skills, self-efficacy, and adaptability desired by employers.

About The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Chronicle of Higher Education is the top professional source for news, jobs, and information for college and university administrators and faculty. The Chronicle provides institutions with multiple paths to effectively communicate and engage with the largest audience and most influential decision makers in higher education in print and online. Visit to learn more.

About ModernThink LLC: As a research and consulting leader in workplace issues, ModernThink has supported a wide variety of “Best Place to Work” initiatives. Through these programs, the firm has gained substantial survey and industry expertise, including specific insight into higher education. ModernThink knows what it takes to build a great place to work and shares that know-how with its clients. The ModernThink team of organizational development experts is dedicated to helping colleges follow through and capitalize on feedback from employees and benchmark data from peers to drive meaningful change at their institutions. Learn more at

July 11, 2016

Art scholar studies archives at SVSU’s Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum

Nick Hartigan is an art scholar buried in paperwork, and he loves it.

Hartigan, the first recipient of Saginaw Valley State University’s Fredericks-Follett-Roethke Graduate Fellowship in the Arts & Humanities, is spending much of July researching a pair of artists with works featured on SVSU’s campus.

His studies involve access to thousands of documents housed in the SVSU-based sculpture museum dedicated to one of those artists, the late Marshall M. Fredericks.

“The kind of comprehensiveness I’m finding in these archives is wonderful to me, as a researcher,” Hartigan says. “There’s a total scope available here that is rare to find in most museums.”

Hartigan is a fifth-year doctoral student at the University of Michigan, specializing in the study of 20th-century sculpture – particularly the period from 1965 to 1995. He is living on SVSU’s campus until the end of July, when he plans to return to Washington D.C. There, he recently finished participating in a pre-doctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and plans to finish his dissertation in the nation’s capital.

The events that led him to SVSU’s campus began more than a year ago when Marilyn Wheaton, director of the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, sought individuals interested in pursuing scholarly work on Fredericks, whose monumental sculptures appear in sites across the world.

Members of the History of Art program at the University of Michigan’s Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies recommended Hartigan for the research. When Wheaton approached SVSU leaders about funding his visit, the seed was planted for what now is the Fredericks-Follett-Roethke Graduate Fellowship in the Arts & Humanities. The fellowship supports a new graduate student’s visit each year to SVSU’s campus, where that individual will study Fredericks, the late Saginaw-born poet Theodore Roethke or popular British author Ken Follett. SVSU also houses archived collections from Roethke and Follett.

“Hopefully this will add to SVSU’s excellent reputation for serious scholarly work,” Wheaton says of the fellowship.

Along with research, Hartigan’s visit will involve leading two presentations, free and open to the public.

While much of his research centers on Fredericks, Hartigan’s first talk will address another internationally-renowned artist with SVSU ties: the late land-art sculptor Nancy Holt, whose “Annual Ring” sculpture is located on the campus.

Hartigan’s presentation on Holt is scheduled Tuesday, July 12, at 6 p.m. at the Theodore Roethke Home Museum, 1805 Gratiot in Saginaw.

Hartigan says “Annual Ring” represents an anomaly of sorts for art of its kind. The site-specific sculpture is designed so that sunlight shining down on four circle-shaped openings in its dome-shaped cage casts an aligned sphere of sunlight on the ground every summer solstice at noon.

The U.S. General Services Administration commissioned Holt to create the sculpture specifically for its original location on the roof of the Federal Building in downtown Saginaw. Most artists or art owners often resisted the idea of moving site-specific sculptures elsewhere, Hartigan says. When the Federal Building was demolished in 1999, though, Holt supported “Annual Ring’s” relocation to SVSU.

“A lot of people thought, ‘You can’t just put a site-specific sculpture at a new site; it will become a different sculpture,’” Hartigan says. “What she did with this softened a lot of hard-liners.”

Hartigan’s second presentation will center on Fredericks. That talk is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 19 in SVSU’s Arbury Fine Arts Center, classroom A-107, adjacent to the sculpture museum.

Since Hartigan arrived at SVSU in late June, he has dug deep into the thousands of documents from Fredericks that are housed in the museum. The Fredericks Archives at the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum were established in 2005 following receipt of the sculptor's business and personal records, and span the 70 years of Fredericks' career from 1928 to 1998, when he died.

Materials include personal, foreign ministry, and general correspondence as well as special letters and cards received by Fredericks; photographs relating to Frederick's teaching career, projects, civic activities, and personal life; project files, media articles, journals, clippings and books about Fredericks and his work.

The museum, of course, also features Fredericks’ sculptures and the plaster originals for many of his most recognizable sculptures, including “The Spirit Of Detroit.”

“For someone interested in the creative process of someone like Marshall Fredericks, it’s great to be able to see his ideas, from their creation to the actual finished product,” Hartigan says.

It’s not often that a museum features such a comprehensive collection of a sculptor’s work as is available at SVSU, he added.

“It’s rare to see plasters, and if a museum does have them, they aren’t on view like they are here.”

Hartigan is placing special emphasis on researching Fredericks’ “Christ On The Cross,” which depicts a crucified Jesus Christ. The 28-foot-tall, 7-ton bronze sculpture is located at a Catholic shrine in Indian River, Michigan, about 30 miles south of the Mackinac Bridge. A plaster of the sculpture looms over the interior of SVSU’s museum.

“This is an enormous piece,” Hartigan says. “Aside from the sheer technical expertise involved in creating something that size, there were huge logistical challenges. He had to cast it in Norway and have it transported here. It was a very complicated process.”

Hartigan says he plans to submit a paper about his research of Fredericks to scholarly publications while also including his findings in his dissertation on public sculptures.

“There’s a lot of work ahead,” he says. “It’s been exciting.”

July 7, 2016

SVSU hires longtime higher education leader for top student affairs position

Saginaw Valley State University has hired an advocate for students - with over 23 years of higher education leadership experience - to serve as its new associate provost for student affairs.

Sidney R. Childs will begin his work at SVSU in July after serving since 1993 at Bowling Green State University.

Since 2014, Childs has worked as both interim vice president and assistant vice president for student affairs at the Ohio campus, located south of Toledo.

During that time, Childs led programs to enhance student retention and persistence to graduation, and also to strengthen community partnerships. Furthermore, he has provided direction for underrepresented student populations, offering guidance on campus issues relating to diversity, inclusion, multicultural affairs, as well as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

“Throughout my professional career, I have been intentional about cultivating a campus and community environment where students feel welcomed and strive to create a more just and equitable world, one in which all of our students see themselves as valuable individuals and feel confident and competent in their own identities,” Childs said.

Prior to his work in Bowling Green's student affairs office, Childs led the university's TRIO programs, which offered educational outreach and academic enrichment programs for first generation and underserved students.

His new role at SVSU also will involve nurturing an inclusive and empowering campus environment.  Deborah Huntley, SVSU provost and vice president for academic affairs, said Childs will provide an engaging leader and supportive voice for students there.

“Dr. Sidney Childs brings a wealth of experience to SVSU,” Huntley said. “His work as interim vice president for student affairs at Bowling Green, leadership in TRIO and innovation in student programming has helped countless students meet their potential as engaged citizens. He has shown an ability to work across units within the university to foster student development in and out of the classroom. We are very excited to have Sidney join SVSU.”

Childs earned a Doctor of Education degree in leadership studies in 2013, a Master of Public Administration degree in organizational development in 1993, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in business law in 1990, all at Bowling Green.

He will replace Merry Jo Brandimore, who plans to retire in August after 33 years at SVSU.

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