Another academic year is underway and off to a good start, all things considered. I enjoyed helping new students move into their residence halls and hearing their excitement while also talking to them and their parents about why they chose SVSU. In many cases, their decision was based on their interaction with one or more of you. Those personal encounters have a meaningful impact. Please bear this in mind throughout the year ahead.
I had the honor Tuesday to help ceremoniously usher one of our graduates, Manvel Trice III, toward an extraordinary new phase of his career. Manvel, who was a student of mine when I was a criminal justice professor here, recently was selected by Gov. Rick Snyder to serve as the new 70th District judge for Saginaw County. Manvel asked me to present him with his judge’s robe as part of his investiture ceremony, and what a proud moment that was for me. What made me even more proud were his remarks at the ceremony, where he spoke about his deep love for community and the responsibilities inherent in being good neighbors to each other — two values Manvel and his alma mater share wholeheartedly.
Please join me in thanking PNC Bank for their generous support of the College of Business and Management. They are contributing $50,000 per year to support programs in the college for entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Last year, these funds supported business pitch competitions, bringing in a guest speaker on entrepreneurship, a trip to Detroit for 25 students to see the entrepreneurial activity happening there, and more. They were on campus this week to present a check for their ongoing commitment.
Our on-campus Farmer’s Market opened yesterday and will continue to build. A special word of thanks to Lauren Hengtgen, international student advisor, who has spearheaded this project.
The fall sports season is off to a good start, as our men’s and women’s soccer teams picked up home victories yesterday. Both teams are back in action this weekend, as the women host Lewis Saturday at noon and the men host St. Joseph’s Sunday at 2:30 p.m. The men also have a home match next Tuesday at 2 p.m. against Indianapolis. The volleyball team has traveled to California for an early-season tournament. Football opens tomorrow night at 7 p.m. against Findlay. If you can’t make the trip, the game will be aired on WSGW, 100.5 FM. We are coming off the best year ever for our Athletic Department. Please attend home games and matches and support our student-athletes as you are able.
I’d like to thank everyone who attended the Welcome Home celebration. One of the things I enjoy most about SVSU is our sense of family, and this annual tradition is a wonderful way of appreciating the many ways in which the people of this institution are connected. The celebration also is a good time to discuss our achievements and our goals moving forward. I discussed many of these during my address. A recording of the address is available for those unable to attend the event.
Speaking of the Welcome Home address: Those of you in attendance got a sneak peak of our new video advertisement for the We marketing campaign. That same commercial will begin airing on TV and online in the weeks ahead, and I hope you are as excited about it as I am. The new marketing campaign began rolling out in phases throughout the summer, beginning with billboards and, most recently, with radio spots. Already, we’re hearing excitement from across the state. I read a Tweet from 2015 graduate Rachel Stocki who shared her instant positive reaction after hearing our radio advertisement in Royal Oak. The message already is spreading, and We encourage you to use #WeCardinal as you share SVSU posts.
I was impressed enough when I heard Adam Coughlin, associate professor of kinesiology, was scheduled to swim the Straits of Mackinac on Labor Day as part of a Habitat for Humanity fundraising competition. Then I learned he would follow up that five-mile swim with a 64-mile race four days later during the Run Woodstock event in Pinckney. What a physical and mental feat to take on.
Brian Thomas, associate professor of sociology, will be participating in a 100-mile race at that same Run Woodstock event on Friday, Sept. 9. In honor of his late wife, Holli Wallace, Brian will be running — somewhere between 28 to 30 hours — in part to raise money for the Children’s Grief Center of the Great Lakes Bay Region, which helps children deal with the death of a parent or loved one. What a great cause and what a remarkable challenge.
Let’s wish the best of luck to Brian, Adam and all of the staff, faculty, students and alumni who will be participating in the many planned contests and charities over this extended weekend.
The academic year is off to a great start. Let’s enjoy this Labor Day on this very special year where The Chronicle of Higher Education recognized SVSU as a “Great College to Work For.”