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April 6, 2016

Islamic scholar to speak at SVSU for Akbar Lecture

Saginaw Valley State University will host speaker Ingrid Mattson for a presentation, “Qur'an: Text, Context, and Tradition” Thursday, April 14‌ at 6:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. She is visiting for SVSU’s Dr. Raana Akbar Memorial Lecture series; the talk is free and open to the public.

A scholar of Islamic studies, Mattson is an expert in interfaith relations and a Muslim religious leader. Since 2012, she has held the London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College in London, Ontario.

Mattson's writings focus on Qur'anic studies, theological ethics, and interfaith engagement. Her book, “The Story of the Qur'an,” is an academic bestseller and was chosen by the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities for national distribution.

Mattson was elected as vice-president, then as president, of the Islamic Society of North America, and is a senior fellow of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman, Jordan. She has served on many boards, including the Interfaith Taskforce of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the Council of Global Leaders of the C-100 of the World Economic Forum, and the Leadership Group of the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project.

Educated in Canada and the U.S., Mattson completed a bachelor’s degree at the University of Waterloo and a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago.

The Dr. Raana Akbar Memorial Lecture Series on Islam and Culture at SVSU was established by Dr. Waheed Akbar, a Saginaw-based orthopedic surgeon, and the couple's children, Akbar, Zainab, and Ahmed, in memory of their wife and mother, who passed away in 2009.  Raana served on the SVSU Board of Control; Waheed currently serves on SVSU's Board of Fellows, a community advisory board.

March 31, 2016

SVSU sees growing interest from employers for employment fair

Saginaw Valley State University will host more than 150 employers during its spring university-wide employment fair Friday, April 1‌. The number of participating employers looking to hire SVSU students and alumni continues to rise; this year’s total eclipses last year’s fair, which drew around 130 companies and organizations and had been the highest participation since 2005.

The event, which will run from noon to 3 p.m., will be in the Curtiss Hall banquet and seminar Rooms.

Students who attend employment fairs can often find good opportunities, said Tom Barnikow, SVSU assistant director of Career Services.  

“The employment fair is a medium in which employers can meet with a large number of potential employees and gauge if the applicant is going to be a good fit for their company culture,” he said. “A good interview at an employment fair will usually lead to an in-person interview at the company's headquarters.”

Barnikow added that employment fairs serve as a great place for individuals to demonstrate that they have all the qualities employers are looking for.

“Employment fairs are the top way that companies and organizations are now hiring new employees because they want to evaluate how comfortable students are with oral communication,” he said. “As a student or soon-to-be-graduate attending an employment fair, you want to show the hiring manager that you have the ability to hold a conversation while also selling your problem solving, critical thinking and collaborative skills.”

In addition to there being employment opportunities, a professional photographer will be on-site to take portrait photos free of charge.

Last year, 83.7 percent of organizations reported follow-up with candidates they met at employment fairs, and 57 percent reported that they hired someone met through an employment fair.

Participating employers in SVSU's career fair include Covenant HealthCare, Independent Bank, Morley Companies, Nexteer Automotive and Saginaw Bay Underwriters.  A complete list is available online through the SVSU Career Services website,
Professional attire must be worn by all job seekers. The event is open to the public. Advanced registration for SVSU students is available on Cardinal Career Network.

March 31, 2016

SVSU welcomes author Andy Mozina for reading series

Mozina is the author of the debut novel "Contrary Motion." His first story collection "The Women Were Leaving Men" won the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. His second collection "Quality Snacks" was a finalist for the Flannery O'Connor Prize and other awards.

Mozina's fiction has appeared in "Tin House," "The Southern Review," "The Missouri Review," "McSweeney's," and "The Small Chair." His work has received special citations in "Best American Short Stories," "Pushcart Prize," and "New Stories from the Midwest."

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Mozina studied economics at Northwestern University and later attended Harvard Law School for a year. He earned a master's degree in creative writing from Boston University. He moved to St. Louis where he completed a doctorate in English Literature at Washington University. Currently, Mozina teaches literature and creative writing at Kalamazoo College.

March 31, 2016

SVSU welcomes brass quartet Cones and Tones for concert

Saginaw Valley State University will showcase brass quartet Cones and Tones during the next Rhea Miller Concert Series installment Saturday, April 2. The performance, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall, is free and open to the public.

Cones and Tones is an exciting new project featuring four eclectic musical veterans. The brainchild of J.D. Shaw, longtime arranger and horn player from Boston Brass, the group combines Shaw's stellar classical and jazz arrangements with original compositions by pianist and musical traveler David Cutler.

The group is anchored by veteran tuba virtuoso Andrew Hitz, while multi-instrumentalist and comedian Lance LaDuke rounds out this diverse and energetic quartet. The audience can expect a little of everything, from beautiful melodies to virtuosic showpieces, presented in a fun and funky audience-friendly show.

J.D. Shaw is an associate professor of horn at the University of South Carolina. He was formerly the French hornist with the internationally acclaimed Boston Brass where he was creative director, music arranger and co-owner of the ensemble. Shaw is an active solo artist and travels extensively throughout the United States as well as many countries in North America, Europe, and Asia. In addition, Shaw has also been a featured performer on National Public Radio's Performance Today and the CBS Morning Show.

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.

March 23, 2016

SVSU to host watch party for men’s basketball game

SVSU to host watch party for men’s basketball game
Wednesday, March 23, 9:30 p.m. to end of game
Curtiss Hall banquet rooms

Hundreds of students, faculty and staff at Saginaw Valley State University plan to show their support for the men’s basketball team and share their enthusiasm Wednesday, March 23.

SVSU is hosting a watch party for supporters to view the NCAA Division II tournament game being played in Frisco, Texas. The Cardinals are playing Western Oregon University. The game is expected to tip off around 9:30 p.m. Eastern time.

SVSU advanced to the Elite 8 of NCAA Division II for the first time in school history by winning the Midwest Regional championship last week.

SVSU is providing complimentary food and beverages, as well as free T-shirts, to those who attend.

March 22, 2016

SVSU alum leads social media for NCAA Division II men's basketball tournament that features SVSU

When Chris Roekle first stepped onto the Saginaw Valley State University campus, he didn't have a Twitter account. Now, he makes his living in the social media realm, and that ability to adapt in a rapidly changing environment has led to an extraordinary opportunity.

Roekle will be coordinating all social media efforts on Twitter and Instagram for the NCAA during the Division II men's basketball Elite-8 in Frisco, Texas March 23-26.  

“It's extremely humbling,” Roekle said. “It's kind of like a break … How cool is it that I get to run all of the creative content for the NCAA Division II Elite-8?”

Roekle will find himself posting about his alma mater and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) member, SVSU.  The Cardinals men’s basketball team defeated GLIAC rival Ferris State to win the Midwest Region and advance to the NCAA Division II Elite 8. They are scheduled to play Wednesday, March 23 around 9:30 p.m. Eastern time.

After coordinating the social media efforts during last year's NCAA Division II women's basketball tournament, Roekle said he is up for the challenge the men's basketball tournament presents.

“This is a bigger animal with a bigger spotlight, so it's a really good opportunity,” he said.

After graduating from Michigan Lutheran Seminary High School in Saginaw, Roekle graduated from SVSU in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in finance and then received his M.B.A. in 2013. He is currently the director of strategic communications for the GLIAC, where he operates much of the conference's social media.

After receiving his master's degree from SVSU, Roekle went to the University of Nebraska where he spent a year as a graduate communications intern and covered the 2013 Big Ten champion Nebraska women's soccer team.

While at SVSU, Roekle was an intricate part of SVSU Athletics' social media growth, which allowed for more attention to be garnered by the university. He also worked closely with the baseball, cross country, golf, track and field, volleyball, and women's basketball teams.

Looking back, Roekle credits his time at SVSU for developing the determination required to succeed in the field of intercollegiate athletics.

“I learned that hard work pays off,” he said. “I really felt like I paid my dues, and kind of went above and beyond which is always a good way to go about things. You don't want to just be content with how things are. You want to put your own spin on things.”

Roekle has developed a formula for social media success. He has successfully brought attention to the GLIAC by more than doubling the conference's followers on Twitter.

Roekle’s calling card has been employing creative graphics in his tweets, instead of “just posting text.”

“I have found that posts with multimedia – photos, graphics, video – take more time to generate, but they also produce a lot more interest,” he said.


March 21, 2016

SVSU to host entrepreneur and author Michael Drew

Entrepreneur and author Michael Drew will speak at Saginaw Valley State University Thursday, March 31‌, to share his insights on how students can make the most of their college experience.

The presentation will begin at 6 p.m. in Curtiss Hall Banquet Room A; it will be preceded by a networking reception from 5 to 6 p.m.

Drew's talk will introduce a set of nine principles on how students can make the most out of their college experience, and ultimately land the job of their dreams. The nine principles focus on networking and thinking ahead.

While attending Central Michigan University full time, Drew has still managed to find time for business endeavors. He has worked his way through three tech startups, one of which was sold in 2015. He serves as a marketing team leader and analyst at Quizzle through Bankrate, Inc., a leading publisher, aggregator, and distributor of personal finance content on the Internet. Drew is also the co-founder of GoGarden, a social relationship manager application.

He is also the author of the book "Student Dream Job," which will be released this summer.

For more information, contact Neil Baumgartner, assistant director of SVSU’s Academic Advisement Center, at or 989-964-2479.

Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP online at

March 21, 2016

SVSU students take top honors at Michigan forensics tournament

Two Saginaw Valley State University students captured top honors at the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League forensics tournament held at Eastern Michigan University March 11‌-12.

Melinda Dinninger, a communications major from Saginaw, was recognized as the top novice competitor in the oratory/persuasion category. Gina Kearly, a communications and theatre double major from Midland, took home top novice honors and second place overall in the programmed oral interpretation section.

Baron McBride, a communications major from Waterford, and Erik Breidinger, a communications major from Auburn, also competed at the tournament in the impromptu and informative sections, respectively.

After strong performances in previous tournaments, Breidinger, Dinninger and McBride each have qualified to compete in the 2016 national forensics tournament held April 14‌-18 at Ball State University in Indiana.

Forensics tournaments are communication-based competitions that include events from three genres: platform/public address, limited preparation and oral interpretation.

SVSU, which started its forensics program in 2001, has been able to send students to such events through funding provided by a grant from the SVSU Foundation. Amy Pierce, associate professor of communication, serves as the team's adviser.


Editor’s note: A photo of Dinninger presenting during the competition is attached. A group photo of the four SVSU students who competed is available upon request.‌

March 18, 2016

SVSU to offer writing workshops for Huron County teachers

Saginaw Valley State University's commitment to community engagement will extend into Michigan’s Thumb this summer through a new program to benefit Huron County K-12 teachers hoping to develop as better writing educators.

The SVSU-based Saginaw Bay Writing Project will host summer writing workshop, funded by George Haley, a Bad Axe High School alumnus. Fifteen teachers will be accepted to participate in The George Haley/Saginaw Bay Writing Project Institute.

Helen Raica-Klotz, director of the Saginaw Bay Writing Project and the Writing Center at SVSU, said Haley’s generosity and vision for his hometown gave life to the institute.

“Mr. Haley is very passionate when it comes to good writing,” she said. “He has been involved in supporting writing causes on a national level for many years, and while he is a long-time resident of California, he has remained true to his roots and wants to provide opportunities for students and teachers in Huron County.”

Applications are being accepted from teachers in all disciplines for the workshop, planned from Monday to Friday, August 1-5, at Bad Axe High School. The sessions are scheduled from 8:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

Registration for the workshop is due Wednesday, March 30. Those interested can apply online at

“Thanks to Mr. Haley’s generous support, this is a wonderful opportunity for teachers,” Raica-Klotz said. “We are very pleased that he chose SVSU and the Saginaw Bay Writing Project to put this program together.”

The free workshop includes a $200 stipend, complimentary lunches during the sessions, and professional resources. Participation also will include an opportunity to obtain 25 free State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH) credits or two SVSU credits, paid for by participants.

For more information, contact Marilyn Brooks, assistant director of the Saginaw Bay Writing Project, at

SVSU's Saginaw Bay Writing Project, founded in 1993, promotes literacy throughout the region. The initiative offers professional development for teachers interested in growing both as writers and as writing teachers.

March 18, 2016

SVSU offers summer writing workshop for local teachers

Saginaw Valley State University will seek to empower K-12 teachers in the Great Lakes Bay Region to better advocate the joys of writing to their students, thanks to a generous gift that will support a week-long writing workshop.

The SVSU-based Saginaw Bay Writing Project will be sponsoring a Writer's Workshop for Area Teachers from Monday to Friday, July 25-29, at the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio in Midland. Sessions are planned from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The week-long agenda includes writing seminars, evening reading sessions by various Michigan authors, complimentary lunch and dinner each day of the workshop, as well as lodging at the Holiday Inn in Midland.  

This workshop will include a keynote address from Penny Kittle, author of “Write Beside Them,” a book published in 2008 that explores how best to teach writing to high school students.

Participants also can take advantage of an opportunity to obtain 25 free State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH) credits or two SVSU credits, paid for by participants.

Organizers say the week-long workshop will inspire teachers interested in rediscovering the power of writing. The program will achieve that goal both through discussion of best practices, as well as workshops aimed at crafting, sharing and discussing teachers' writing.

“We know that educators who work to become better writers themselves will be more effective when teaching writing to their students,” said Helen Raica-Klotz, director of the Writing Center at SVSU and the Saginaw Bay Writing Project. “We want students throughout our region to experience the joy of writing while also improving their writing proficiency.”

The cost for participation is $150 per person, due to the support of the Alden and Vada Dow Creativity Foundation.

“We greatly appreciate the generosity of the Alden and Vada Dow Creativity Foundation,” Raica-Klotz said. “Their desire to support teachers made this possible. We are grateful they recognized SVSU's strong commitment to supporting teachers of writing in our community and chose to partner with us.”

Those interesting in participating can register online at  For more information, contact Marilyn Brooks, assistant director of the Saginaw Bay Writing Project, at

SVSU's Saginaw Bay Writing Project, founded in 1993, promotes literacy throughout the Great Lakes Bay region. The initiative offers professional development for teachers interested in growing both as writers and as writing teachers.

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