I exercised my right to vote on Tuesday and watched as results came in. We are fortunate to have a great many students and alumni, as well as some faculty and staff, who work to support candidates and causes, and in some cases, run for office themselves. Whatever your political predisposition, we should be grateful that so many Cardinals are willing to participate in our political process. Regardless of the outcome, my congratulations to all in the SVSU family who invested their time and talents in advance of Tuesday’s primary election, and my appreciation to everyone who continues to – responsibly, intelligently and civilly – engage in our democratic process.
Our community engagement activities extend to all corners of our community, and thanks to grant funding from Michigan Campus Compact, we will now be more involved at the Saginaw Correctional Facility, a state prison in Freeland. Vince Samarco, professor of English, will direct the outreach with two student writing tutors, Josh Atkins and Brianna Rivet, presenting creative writing workshops for the inmates. The SVSU Writing Center and Saginaw Community Writing Center secured the grant. I trust our students and the inmates – most of whom will one day return to society – will learn a great deal about the power of the written word through this experience.
We recently hosted the 21st biennial conference of the American Association of Philosophy Teachers. This provides educators with great exposure to our campus and our people, and such interactions are important as we work to recruit students and strengthen our reputation. My compliments to James Hitt, associate professor of philosophy, who coordinated the conference.
If you have entered campus from Davis Road recently, you likely have noticed the mounds of earth on the east side of Davis, north of Braddock Field. Construction is underway to move our intramural fields to that section of campus; the project will be completed next spring or summer. Nearly 2,000 students participated in intramural sports last year, and this will allow us to better serve them, while also improving our facilities for use by outside groups, such as the U.S. Youth Soccer Development Program’s summer camps for the Olympic Development Program, which we hosted this summer and will host again next summer.
We received word this week that one of our students, Brad Ross, a biochemistry major from Saginaw, has impressed during his summer research fellowship in the National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Program in Structural Biology at the University of Oklahoma. Brad was one of 10 students selected for the program from universities across the nation; he presented his research to positive reviews. These summer fellowships are great opportunities for our students to grow and for them to see firsthand how well their SVSU education has prepared them, as they collaborate with students from other institutions. My thanks to all faculty and staff who work with students to identify such opportunities.
I invite you to join many of us at Friday Night Live in downtown Saginaw next Friday, Aug. 12. SVSU is the lead sponsor for that night’s free concert event, as we have done for the past few years. Please wear your Cardinal gear, bring your lawn chairs and join us. My thanks to Dave Karpovich, H.H. Dow Endowed Chair in Chemistry, who will be bringing the mobile lab to the event and introducing young people to opportunities for STEM learning. The lab will also be present at the Saginaw African Cultural Festival, which also takes place next weekend; we are a sponsor of that, as well. Activities for Friday Night Live begin around 5:30 p.m., and the headline act, a Blues Brothers tribute band, takes the stage around 7. The festival runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday. These are great ways to present visible support of important Saginaw community events; please attend as your schedule permits.
Finally, a word of appreciation to our staff in the Alumni Relations office for a fine job organizing and hosting this year’s golf outing this past Monday. This event is a great way for alumni to support their alma mater and stay connected. One alumnus, Billy Dexter, a recent Commencement speaker, drove in that morning from Chicago to play in the outing. I enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with another alum in my foursome, Manvel Trice, who recently was appointed as a judge in Saginaw County. As we enjoy the final few weeks of summer, let us all bear in mind that many people are supporting our university throughout the year and counting on us to do our very best on behalf of our students.