I would like to thank everyone who played a role in Sunday’s investiture ceremony. I know hundreds of our faculty, staff, students and alumni had a hand in planning and executing the event. I spoke with a number of our guests and all of their feedback was positive; many of them offered compliments on the physical setting, how they were made to feel welcome, and even the ceremony itself. For Liana and me, it was overwhelming. We can’t thank you–all of you–enough. It was a day that all of us associated with this extraordinary university can rightfully be proud of.
Because one major ceremony to start the week wasn’t enough, we dedicated the new Ming Chuan-Michigan campus Monday. It occupies the west wing of our Regional Education Center and offers a world of possibility. This formal arrangement has been more than a decade in the making and provides a host of opportunities for students in our backyard and across the ocean. We’ll have short exchange programs and joint degree programs, and more. This is one very important piece of what we’re trying to do internationally for our students and what Ming Chuan seeks to do for theirs.
Not to be overshadowed, we announced last week that SVSU received the largest single gift in our history: $5 million by the Midland-based Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation to increase learning in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) at the middle school, high school and college levels, particularly within the Great Lakes Bay Region. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty well convinced that this whole STEM movement isn’t a fad. I’m also fully aware that we’ve been committed to STEM for a long time and have great faculty in those programs, many of which also play a vital role in our general education program. Many regional companies–large and small – rely heavily on well-prepared STEM graduates, and many surrounding school districts are clamoring for qualified STEM teachers. This investment, coupled with recent STEM gifts from Dow and Dow Corning, demonstrates a tremendous display of faith in us; I’m confident we’re up to the challenge.
For the record, I haven’t forgotten my liberal arts roots, and I’m fully aware of how important these programs are, too, for all our students.
Our new fiscal year begins next week, and tuition is rising by 3.19 percent for most students, a modest increase that stays within the governor’s recommendation for restraint. We must continue to improve efficiency and do our best to control costs, but we are on solid footing financially. For the first time in more than a decade, we’re seeing a significant increase (more than 6 percent) in our state funding. While we’re still below where we were three years ago, we hope this is the beginning of a positive trend, so if you see our friends in the legislature–and it’s campaign season, so chances are high–please be sure to express appreciation for this.
One of the favorite aspects of my new job is all the good news I get to share, because of the accomplishments of all of you. This week, Marilyn Skrocki, associate professor of health sciences, will accept the Great Lakes Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) 2014 Regent Distinguished Faculty Member Award. The organization represents 40,000 health care executives as members. Our occupational therapy program also received recent accolades, being named 6th in the country by the website Graduateprograms.com. This ranking is based on information submitted by our students and graduates. I can’t wait for the next piece of good news to cross my desk, so keep up the good work.
|Academic Year 2013-2014|
Office of the President