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December 11, 2015

Diversity leader and SVSU alum Dexter to speak to SVSU graduates

Saginaw Valley State University students will hear from an alumnus who is recognized as a national leader in creating diverse leadership teams for major corporations. Billy Dexter will address graduates during Commencement exercises Friday, Dec. 18 at 7:30 pm. and Saturday, Dec. 19 at 11 a.m. in SVSU’s Ryder Center.

Commencement exercises for graduates in the colleges of Business & Management and Health & Human Services will be held Friday evening. Students completing degrees in the colleges of Arts & Behavioral Sciences, Education, and Science, Engineering & Technology will take part in the ceremony scheduled for Saturday morning.

As is tradition, SVSU President Donald Bachand will congratulate each graduate in both ceremonies as he or she crosses the stage.

The graduating class consists of 637 students who have applied to graduate, including 560 who have indicated that they intend to don regalia and march in their respective ceremonies. A total of 505 students are expected to complete bachelor's degree requirements, and another 132 students are expected to complete master's and advanced degrees.

An SVSU graduate, Dexter serves as a managing partner at Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm. He leads the company's global diversity advisory services practice that assists clients in creating diverse leadership teams.  Dexter works with clients to develop inclusive solutions for talent acquisition and leadership development for global executives. His clients include major companies such as Allstate, Capital One, John Deere and the NBA.

A leader in the talent acquisition and diversity/inclusion field for more than 25 years, Dexter previously served as executive vice president and chief diversity officer for MTV Networks, a Viacom company. Prior to that, Dexter was president of Hudson Inclusion Solutions, a business division of Hudson Highland Group, a diversity consulting practice he founded within Hudson Highland.

A resident of Lemont, Illinois, Dexter currently serves on the board of directors as a trustee of the Metropolitan Club of Chicago, Link Unlimited Scholars, the Executive Leadership Council, the Goodman Theater of Chicago and the NFL Players Advisory Association.

Dexter has received numerous honors, including a recent selection by Chicago United as a recipient of Business Leader of Color.  The Society of Human Resources Management named him one of the "Top 100 Global Diversity Thought Leaders."  Savoy Magazine awarded Dexter with its trailblazer award and recognized him as one of the Top 50 African-American executives in 2010. SVSU selected him for an Outstanding Alumni award in 2011.

Actively involved as a student at SVSU, Dexter was a member of the 1982-83 NAIA national championship track and field teams; he was a member of student government and the Organization of Black Unity, and was selected as Homecoming King in 1983. He was selected as SVSU’s Outstanding Alumnus in the College of Art & Behavioral Sciences in 2010. Dexter also completed a master's degree at Michigan State University.

December 8, 2015

Happy Holidays from SVSU

"May the peace and beauty of the season remain with throughout the coming year." - Don & Liana Bachand

December 8, 2015

SVSU music students to perform works of opera

Saginaw Valley State University students will perform works of opera Friday, Dec. 11 at 12:30 p.m. in Founders Hall.  

The students will perform arias from the operas "The Magic Flute," "Game of Chance," "Elixir of Love," "Orfeo ed Euridice," "Trouble in Tahiti" and "Die Fledermaus."

Rachel Andrews, SVSU artist-in-voice, will serve as director while pianist Amanda Lewis will accompany the performance.

SVSU students performing include:
•    Stephanie Bale, a music major from Saginaw
•    Stephen Bell, a music education major from Waterford
•    Katie Fassone, a music education major from Saginaw
•    Emerald Joiner, a music education major from Saginaw
•    Madalyn McHugh, a music major from Caro
•    Rachael Parr, a music major from Pinckney
•    HeatherSeaton, a music education major from Swartz Creek
•    Keven Washburn, a music major from Millington

For more information on the event, visit SVSU's Department of Music online at

December 8, 2015

SVSU jazz ensemble to be joined by guest saxophonist for concert

The Saginaw Valley State University jazz ensemble will be joined by guest saxophonist Tom Jones for a concert Thursday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in SVSU’s Rhea Miller Recital Hall.

Selections to be played include "All of Me," "The Christmas Song" and "Deed I Do." The ensemble will be directed by SVSU jazz artist-in-residence Jeff Hall, who also will play piano for various songs during the concert.

Jones received his master's degree in applied saxophone and woodwinds from Michigan State University and has since gone on to teach. He is a fine arts department chairman at Everett High School in Lansing, and also teaches choir and band at Lansing STEM Academy. Jones has performed alongside well-known artists such as Bob Hope, Jack Jones, Aretha Franklin and The Lennon Sisters.

The concert is open to the public; admission is free of charge. For more information, visit or call 989-964-4159.

December 8, 2015

SVSU steel band and percussion ensemble team up for concert

Two Saginaw Valley State University musical groups will perform together in concert Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in SVSU’s Rhea Miller Recital Hall.

The steel drum band Valley Steel will be joined by the SVSU Percussion Ensemble for the concert; both under the direction of Brandon Haskett, SVSU assistant professor of music.  

Valley Steel performs on steel drums and other steel percussion instruments. The band contains a student group and an adult community ensemble.

The SVSU percussion ensemble will open the concert with music from artists Eric Ewazen and Pat Metheny.

Following an intermission, the Valley Steel community group will perform songs such as "Got to Get You Into My Life" by The Beatles, "Shift Your Carcass" by Winston Bailey and "Pyxis" by CJ Menge.  The Valley Steel student group will follow with songs including "More Rokk, Less Talk" by Freezepop and "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder.

The concert is open to the public; admission is free of charge. For more information, visit SVSU's Department of Music online at

December 8, 2015

International journal names SVSU's Puia among world's top 50 business educators

A Saginaw Valley State University educator was named among the top business professors in the world by an international journal focusing on business and economics.

George Puia, SVSU’s Dow Chemical Co. Centennial Chair in Global Business, learned he was among 50 educators worldwide to receive the inaugural Oxford Journal Global Top 50 Educators Award.

Puia – along with two SVSU students and two alumni – attended the 13th annual Global Conference on Business and Economics at Oxford University in England Nov. 22-23, when they presented their research paper exploring links between culture and entrepreneurial development.

A letter to Puia from the Oxford Journal staff explained the standards for the award:

“… You embody the standards expected for the winner of this prestigious award. Your vast and innovative contributions to your discipline, as well as your passion for the educational enterprise as a whole set you apart from others in your field. In an era in which educators seem to be ever more specialized and focused on their own productivity, your persistent focus on students and encouragement of their success makes you stand out as a role model for excellence in education.”

Puia learned he received the award while at the conference in England.

“I felt especially honored to receive the award in front of students and alumni who had collaborated with me on some very engaging research,” he said.

Puia joined SVSU in 2000. He has collaborated with SVSU students on a number of research projects and has traveled internationally with many students on faculty-led study abroad trips. Puia completed a Ph.D. at the University of Kansas.

The full list of the Oxford Journal Global Top 50 Educators Award recipients has not been published yet. The partial list includes educators from higher education institutions such as the University of Notre Dame and the University of South Carolina as well as colleges abroad including Manchester Metropolitan University in Great Britain and Afyon Kocatepe University in Turkey.

Among those who attended the conference with Puia were students Zackary Gibson, a marketing major from Davison, and Heidi Hicks, a management major from Saginaw.

Two SVSU alumni also worked on the research paper presented there: Lisa Maroni and Rosalie Stackpole. Maroni, a Royal Oak native who received a bachelor’s degree in international studies in 2010, now serves as assistant director of international recruitment and admissions at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona. Stackpole, a Trenton native who received her bachelor’s degree in marketing in May, works as a marketing project manager at Bloomfield Hills-based Flexible Plan Investments, Ltd.

The group’s research paper was titled, “Indulgence, Restraint, and Within-Country Diversity: Exploring Entrepreneurial Outcomes with New Constructs.”

The Global Conference on Business and Economics was sponsored by the Oxford Journal, as well as the Association for Business and Economics Research.

December 4, 2015

SVSU hires Isabella County Sheriff as new police chief

Saginaw Valley State University has hired Leo Mioduszewski to serve as the school’s next police chief. He has served as the sheriff for Isabella County since 2005. Mioduszewski will replace Ron Trepkowski, who is retiring at the end of the calendar year, following 36 years with University Police, including 11 as chief.

“Leo has the qualities we were looking for in our next chief of University Police,” said Donald Bachand, president of SVSU. “He has a wealth of background and experience, and he possesses a great understanding of the complexities involved in employing a community policing model in a campus setting.

“I look forward to bringing him aboard and introducing him to the SVSU community as we work together to continue the high level of campus safety we have enjoyed for many years.”

In his capacity as Isabella County Sheriff, Mioduszewski has overseen 58 employees and an annual budget of $5.2 million. Prior to becoming sheriff, he served 14 years with the Central Michigan University police department, including three years as a sergeant, and 5 years as a police officer in Mancelona, Michigan.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back into campus policing,” Mioduszewski said.


“I miss community policing work. As sheriff, it’s been difficult to do that because it covered a large area. At the college level, it’s so nice because you’ve got people in a smaller area where you can really develop stronger relationships. I’m really looking forward to that.”

Mioduszewski completed a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree at CMU. He will begin his SVSU duties later this December.

December 2, 2015

SVSU selects latest class of educators for Gerstacker Fellowship

Saginaw Valley State University has named 10 K-12 educators from across Michigan to participate in the Gerstacker Fellowship program in 2016.

They will receive concentrated leadership training over a 1-year period, including a capstone international experience that will send the group to Japan in April.

Previous overseas trips have included Finland, China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. These trips involve visits to educational institutions, where participants learn about international educational systems, and corporate settings, where they discover how leadership plays out in different cultural and economic settings.

Funded by an endowment from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation of Midland, the participants are known as Gerstacker Fellows and meet monthly on weekends. SVSU faculty from various disciplines instruct the group on subjects dealing with organizational leadership, ethics, finances, communication, human resources, entrepreneurship and education with a global perspective.

Those selected to participate in the program in 2016 include:
•    Adair Aumock, director of Instructional Services and Technology for the Bay City Public School District
•    Joseph Blaskowski, assistant principal for White Pine Middle School in Saginaw Township
•    Eric Bruner, principal of Coolidge Intermediate School in Ferndale
•    David Ersig, a math and science teacher at the Utica Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology.
•    Jennifer Geno, assistant principal at the Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District
•    Shawna Groulx, assistant principal at Durand High School
•    Scott Harrison, a sixth grade teacher for Freeland Elementary School
•    Radhika Issac, an elementary math teacher for the Clarkston Community School District
•    Renee Mrozinski, principal of Lincoln Elementary School in Bangor Township
•    Chunchun Tang, director of International Programs at Oxford Community Schools

Blaskowski, Geno, Mrozinski and Tang are SVSU graduates.

The participants were selected based on past academic and service accomplishments, along with outside recommendations. Supervisors nominated them.

As a result of the Gerstacker endowment, there is no charge to program participants unless they elect to have the educational experience considered for graduate credit.

November 25, 2015

SVSU hosts fourth grade students for Hour of Code event

Saginaw Valley State University will host students from two local elementary classrooms Thursday, Dec. 3 for an Hour of Code program. The event is part of a national initiative to increase diversity in computer science as well as to introduce coding to students at a young age.

The program consists of students participating in an hour of coding, the process of writing a computer program using a programming language. George Corser, SVSU assistant professor of computer science and information systems, and SVSU computer science students will provide instruction to the elementary students.

“Coding is a new kind of literacy,” Corser said. “The reason it's important to get it in early is because these younger people are going to be affected (more than other generations) by the digital world. We're living in a digital world with computers; we need to learn how they think and how they speak, and coding is their language.”

The two classrooms chosen were Amy Rankey's fourth grade class at Washington Elementary School in Bay City, and Carolynn Collard's fourth grade class at Chesaning Elementary School.

Students from those classes will come to SVSU, write code for an hour, and then tour the Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum. They also will participate in a new STEM-geared activity session at the museum, where students will work with wax and water while also learning how wax and water interact with each other.

The Hour of Code event is a global movement that reaches students in over 180 countries.

November 25, 2015

Michigan college students converge on SVSU to compete for $1,000 prize for new business ideas

Saginaw Valley State University will host its inaugural student elevator pitch competition Tuesday, Dec. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms.

Students from multiple universities across the state, including SVSU, Grand Valley State University, the University of Michigan, and Michigan State University have signed up to pitch their new business ideas to a panel of judges in front of a live audience for a chance to win $1,000.  

“We are excited to be hosting an event that is engaging students from such a variety of universities,” said Rama Yelkur, dean of SVSU’s College of Business and Management. “SVSU is always looking for new ways to engage students in experiences that help them develop real-life skills, and this is one of our latest efforts.”

The Dow Entrepreneurship Institute, part of SVSU’s College of Business & Management, is organizing the event, as part of a series of opportunities for students to engage in the business start-up experience.  

Students will have 120 seconds to present their business idea to a panel of judges from the state's entrepreneurial ecosystem.  First place is $1,000 towards the winner's business idea. Prizes are also available for second and third place, as well as an audience choice.  

“As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest challenges you face is how to secure funding to bring your idea to life,” said Tom Sesti, director of the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute at SVSU.

“Entrepreneurs across the globe are regularly engaged in pitch competitions as part of their efforts to raise money.  As part of our mission to stimulate the creation of new business ventures, we felt it was critical to not only offer student entrepreneurs the ability to develop their pitch skills, but to also provide real financial opportunities to fund their ideas as part of that pitch experience.”

Students seeking to register, or anyone who would like to attend the competition should contact Sesti at 989-964-6073 or

The Dow Entrepreneurship Institute at SVSU's College of Business & Management was funded by the Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow Foundation. The institute stimulates creation of new business ventures, serves as a resource for research activities aimed at business innovation, and provides internship opportunities with area businesses for student entrepreneurs.

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