president weekly update banner

President’s Weekly Update - Week of Monday, Nov. 3

Rave Reviews for Admissions Open House

My thanks to everyone – faculty, staff, and students, and a few of their family members – who participated in our Admissions Open House this past Saturday.  It was a great event and effectively showcased our university to some 600 prospective students and their families.  I spoke to a number of students and parents throughout the day and they were impressed first and foremost with our people; our guests felt welcomed and seemed confident that their student of interest would receive a quality education and a valuable total college experience.  They also were impressed with the attractiveness of our campus, and I know that speaks well of each of you who took time to make your corner of campus look good.  By any measure, it was a successful event, but our work isn’t done. We must do more to inform students and families about the great opportunities available here. I hope I can count on you to do your part. We all have a vested interest in recruiting and ultimately graduating successful students. 

Condolences to family of Matt Margres

(photos courtesy of's coverage of a Tai Chi event at SVSU.  Margres was a student of this martial arts discipline.)

On a sad note, we lost a valued member of the Cardinal family late last week, as Matt Margres, professor of psychology, passed away after an illness. I knew Matt to be a good classroom teacher and a huge advocate for students. He would get them excited about doing research and would take them to professional conferences to present their work. On behalf of the university, I extend condolences to his family. I also would like to express my appreciation to those faculty who have stepped up to cover his classes for the remainder of the semester.  [ obituary » ] 

Please complete your Climate Survey

It’s a busy time in the semester and we have a very busy week ahead, but I hope you will take the time to complete your Cardinal Climate Survey. We need to know what we are doing well and where we have room for improvement, but the information we gather we only be as good as the responses we receive, so I encourage you to participate.

Exceptionably Busy Week Ahead

‌‌Love SVSU artwork

If you can’t find opportunities to be involved on campus next week, you’re just not trying. Personally, I think you should try. And then try again.

Battle of the Valleys

Our students’ annual fundraising competition against their counterparts at Grand Valley starts Sunday and runs through next week.  Many of our students pour their hearts and souls into Battle of the Valleys, led this year by Emily VanFleteren, as chair. I hope you will support them.  You’ll see them selling T-shirts and hosting a variety of fundraisers, and you can find a full schedule of events at

I want to particularly draw your attention to the Saginaw Spirit hockey game next Friday, Nov. 14. If you buy online, use “SVSU” as the user name and “spirit” as the password, and a portion of the ticket sales will support our worthy cause. This year, our students are raising funds for the Cory Rivard, Jr. Promise Foundation, which seeks to prevent suicide among college students. It was created in 2012 by the Rivard family of Algonac, Mich., in memory of Cory, who committed suicide in January 2011. Cory attended GVSU, while his younger brother Josh was a very active student during his years at SVSU; Josh graduated in May and is now in grad school.

This will be my first “Battle” as president. I don’t like losing. I hope you’ll contribute as you’re able.

Roethke Festival

We also are preparing to celebrate the Theodore Roethke Poetry & Arts Festival, sponsored every three years by our Board of Fellows. There are numerous events on campus and in the community, starting with a poetry slam at the Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum Friday. A full schedule is available at This year’s recipient of the Roethke Poetry Prize is Tim Seibles, a poet on the faculty at Old Dominion University. He’ll accept his honor next Tuesday, Nov. 11 and will be meeting with students and faculty while he’s here. This festival always provides a wonderful opportunity to draw attention to the arts and cultural offerings of SVSU. I hope to see you at the events that best fit your interests.

International Food Festival

Next Tuesday also presents one of the liveliest days of the year: our International Food Festival. It’s a great way for our international students to share their cultures with us by preparing dishes from their homelands. Your lunch admission to the Marketplace at Doan will be well worth it. The smiles on our students’ faces and the international cuisine make for a terrific combination.  

Signing Ceremony

Finally, next week also marks Veterans Day. We enjoy many freedoms as Americans and we have our military men and women to thank for that. Next Monday, Nov. 10 at 10 a.m., we will hold a signing ceremony as I pledge SVSU’s commitment to the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. In doing so, SVSU promises that if one of our faculty or staff who is in the reserves or National Guard is called to active duty, he or she will have employment when they return following their tour of duty. At the same ceremony, Aaron Mowen, director of campus recreation, is re-enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Mike Major, director of career services, will swear him in. I know a number of our faculty, staff and students served in the military. You are all welcome at the ceremony. It will be held in the Emeriti Room.


Office of the President
Wickes 349
(989) 964-4041