After two national searches, I am pleased to announce that two long-time colleagues have been selected to serve as dean of their respective colleges. Tony Bowrin has been selected as our new dean for the College of Business and Management, and Marc Peretz has been chosen as our new dean for the College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences. Each has been serving as interim dean and has been effective in leading his respective college. Tony joined the accounting faculty in 2009 and served as associate dean from 2013 until his appointment as interim dean. Marc joined the SVSU music faculty in 1989 and served nearly 20 years as department chair; he has served as interim dean since July 2015. My thanks to all of you who served on the search committees, attended open forums, or otherwise participated in the selection processes.
Baby, it's cold outside. We have endured sub-zero wind chill temperatures in the aftermath of a storm that dumped much snow on our campus and our region. We have many people to thank for their hard work to allow us to open at 10:30 a.m. Monday, starting with our snow removal crews, who labored Sunday and started again early Monday morning to clear roadways, walkways and parking lots. We should also be thankful for the faculty and staff who made necessary adjustments to allow the revised exam schedule to be put into place. We are fortunate to have so many colleagues who share a devotion to their duties. With another potential weather system on the horizon, please join me in expressing appreciation for the efforts of our friends in Campus Facilities this weekend, as Commencement ceremonies will proceed. We will rely on their commitment and expertise to clear safe passage to and through our campus, to keep the Ryder Center clean, and to make this an enjoyable experience for our graduates and their families.
This weekend will provide a valuable reminder of the value of the work we all do. About 650 students will participate in Commencement exercises this weekend, beginning postgraduate journeys sure to make us all proud. We will look forward to hearing from many of them again. All of our graduates should be remembered and appreciated for their strength in character and commitment to studies, as well as the impact they made on this campus and in our community. They make me proud.
This Friday, our Board of Control will consider granting emeritus status for two long-serving, dedicated members of our SVSU family: Eric Gilbertson, my predecessor as president and now an executive-in-residence; and Jo Brownlie, director of our Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). Eric led this institution for nearly a quarter-century, as SVSU grew to become what we recognize today in terms of our physical campus, our strong academic programs, and our exceptional student body. Jo founded the OLLI program at SVSU (known then as the Institute for Learning and Retirement) in 2001; it has offered unique enrichment programs and trips abroad for thousands of people 50 and older. As each prepares to retire from full-time service, I would like to thank them for everything they have done — and continue to do — for our university.
In this season of giving, there are many worthy causes to consider, including a number at SVSU. Last week, there was an article on CNN about students who find it difficult to have enough money for food. We see this on our campus, and have established a Cardinal Food Pantry that is available to students to help ensure they do not go hungry. It is stocked through donations from fellow students and caring employees. Students in Mark Giesler's social work class, including Sara Schuster and Amanda Haas (pictured), delivered several bags of non-perishable food items to the pantry. My thanks to all of you who support the SVSU Foundation, Battle of the Valleys, Relay for Life and many other causes throughout the year. Your support means a great deal to a great many.
While our winter break is fast approaching for many of us, our outstanding basketball programs are back home this weekend for contests against Ohio Dominican on Sunday. The 7-2 women’s team plays at 1 p.m. while the 9-1 men’s team plays at 3 p.m. The men’s team then returns to campus Monday at 7 p.m. to face Central State (Ohio). Neither program returns to play at SVSU again until mid-January, so this will be your best opportunity to see these outstanding student-athletes in action for quite some time. Go Cards!
With students’ work finished for the semester, many of you may be away from campus soon. So let me use this opportunity now to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. Our last day of work will be Thursday, Dec. 22. We will return Tuesday, Jan. 3. Please enjoy the time spent with family and friends, and close out 2016 on a positive note. You deserve it. I look forward to seeing all of you again in the new year.