You can feel the tension on campus rising this week, and I can’t help but notice that Zahnow Library seems especially busy. Preparing for end-of-the-semester projects and final exams can be stressful for students, faculty and staff alike. Much of this is normal and to be expected; however, if you encounter someone who appears to be having difficulty coping with this stress, please do what you can to show them support and understanding. If that is not enough, please encourage that individual to utilize the many resources we have available to assist through our STEP UP program. We have enjoyed a fine fall semester and want to finish strong.
The reason we do all of this is to see our students graduate and put their degrees to good use. For the latest crop of Cardinals – more than 600 of whom are expected to graduate – Commencement exercises will be held next Friday and Saturday. I have said this before, but it bears repeating: it means a great deal to students and their families to meet the faculty and staff who have made a difference to them, so I hope to see you at the ceremonies. Our speaker will be alumnus Billy Dexter, and he should have a good message to share with graduates on how to recognize talent and work with people of different backgrounds. He serves as a managing partner at Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm, and leads the company's global diversity advisory services practice that assists clients in creating diverse leadership teams. Billy’s clients include major companies such as Allstate, Capital One, John Deere and the NBA.
This is a busy time of year, but it can and should be an enjoyable one, too. Liana and I have enjoyed hosting a number of holiday gatherings at our home, including the SVSU Student Association this week. I also have enjoyed joining a number of departments across campus for their holiday affairs. It is great to see the campus camaraderie. I also appreciate the spirit of giving this season brings, and I know many of you are working to make this possible here. Many of you have worked together to collect winter apparel and non-perishable food items for our students in need and/or unaccustomed to Michigan winters; we are collecting Toys for Tots through Monday, Dec. 14; any number of people and departments are giving back directly, too. Your efforts are appreciated.
My congratulations to men’s soccer student-athletes Tyler Channell and Jordan Kalk, who earned All-America honors from the Division II Conference Commissioners Association for the 2015 season. Tyler was named to the first team, and Jordan made the third team. Tyler has earned a tryout with Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew; we wish him well. Our men’s basketball team picked up another win this week; I’m hoping they and the women’s team can pick up victories on the road at Ashland tomorrow. Both teams next play at home on Saturday, Jan. 2 and Sunday, Jan. 3, so if you’re looking for something to get you out of the house after New Year’s, I know our student-athletes would love to see you in O’Neill Arena.
Finally, I am always curious to know how many of you actually take the time to read my Weekly Updates. If you show up for work on Wednesday, Dec. 23, I will know that you are not among my loyal readers, because we have decided to grant you an extra day off to take care of last-minute errands, travel to visit family, or spend the day however you wish. Liana and I hope you find ways to celebrate this season with family and friends, as we will.