We should all take pride in the fact that our institution was named one of the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Great Colleges to Work For in 2016. My hope is that we retain this distinction. After spring break, please stay tuned for news on the next Great Colleges to Work For survey. As was the case last year, it will be distributed to a random sample of faculty and staff. If you are among those who receive the survey, I encourage you to participate. As your responses showed previously, this is a great place to work. The survey results also provide useful information to help our institution become an even greater place to work.
Our SVSU family also received great recognition during Tuesday's 12th Annual RUBY Awards ceremony, presented by 1st State Bank, which highlights some of our region’s top professionals under the age of 40. Of the 11 awards recipients, six had SVSU ties. Our colleagues Rajani Muraleedharan, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Jill Allardyce, director of creative services in University Communications and a 2006 alumna, were among the honorees. Other alumni represented were Nathan Collison, a 2007 graduate now serving as chief appellate attorney for the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office; Connie Kennedy, a 2000 and 2005 alum now working with Bay City Public Schools as the K-12 math and science support specialist; Patrice Lanczak, a 2008 grad who serves as a patient services director for Covenant Healthcare; and Eric Maher, a 2010 grad who works as a stroke program coordinator at St. Mary’s of Michigan. SVSU recruits and prepares many of the leading professionals in our region. Congratulations to all the winners. Well deserved!
The American Advertising Federation’s Great Lakes Bay chapter recognized the creative talents of our students and staff last Friday, at the group’s annual ADDY Awards ceremony, which highlights the region’s best of the best in advertising and marketing. Our University Communications office earned top honors — the “Gold” award — in two categories as well as “Silver” awards in 23 additional categories. Our “Gold” winners included the “We” campaign TV commercial for the TV commercial category and Reflections magazine’s fall 2016 edition for the magazine category. A number of SVSU alumni involved in other organizations and agencies also won ADDY awards.
Our students inspire me. Spring break will be anything but a respite for our students who will be working to improve communities across the country, returning with experience and desire to help communities in our region. This year, 77 students will be participating in Alternative Breaks programs that task them with helping organizations with service projects in seven different locations across the nation. Those projects involve helping LGBTQ+ communities in Willow River, Minnesota; assisting the disabled in Springfield, Missouri; aiding the homeless in Buffalo, NY; providing home essentials to residents in Silver Spring, Maryland; building homes in Morgantown, West Virginia; preparing meals for the ill in Boston; and helping with community education as well as tornado cleanup in New Orleans. These 77 students are fine representatives of this university and the spirit of community engagement we carry across our region … and far beyond.
A number of our student-athletes also will be traveling outside the state as part of spring break. As mentioned last week, several student-athletes on the swimming and diving teams qualified to compete in the NCAA Championships in Birmingham, Alabama March 7-10. The baseball team will play a series of games during a spring break trek across both Tennessee and Georgia while the softball team’s travel includes matchups in Illinois and Kentucky. Florida will see some Red Pride on display when our men’s and women’s golf teams competes in Brooksville, outside Tampa, and our women’s tennis team competes in Orlando.
Our winter sports season isn’t quite finished. The women’s basketball team defeated Northern Michigan Tuesday at home in the GLIAC Tournament, the team will travel to Ashland, Ohio to face Grand Valley in the semifinals at 4 p.m. Saturday. The winner plays Sunday at 3 p.m. in the same venue against the winner of the Ashland vs. Michigan Tech game. We are hoping for a GLIAC championship. Looking ahead, our women’s basketball team is currently No. 3 in the NCAA Division II regional rankings; the top 8 teams in the region advance to the NCAA tournament. A committee will reveal the teams that advance at 10 p.m. Sunday. Go Cards!
While important contests remain, some accolades are starting to come in. I want to congratulate women’s basketball senior Emily Wendling on two achievements this week. During Tuesday’s game, she became the program's all-time leading scorer with 1,931 points (and counting), eclipsing Beverly Sanders. The following day, her outstanding play on the court and 3.94 GPA – as a graduate student in occupational therapy – helped her earn a spot on the 2016-17 CoSIDA Academic All-America Division II Women's Basketball First Team. Congratulations, Emily.
Emily, her teammates and all our student-athletes have countless fans rooting for them over the course of the season. Among those people are members of our enthusiastic student pep band. They do an outstanding job firing up our home crowd and helping the Red Pride reach peak levels. During Tuesday's final women’s basketball game at home, I was proud that our team personally thanked every member of the pep band for the support they provide. It was a great display of gratitude and character.
Our friends in Career Services recently taped a segment with TV reporter Jennifer Profitt that you can watch on The CW 46 during the "Community Wide" program Sunday, March 12, at 11 a.m. Director Mike Major and Assistant Director Tom Barnikow will be providing tips on how best to interview for a job. I am pleased Career Services is sharing that kind of valuable knowledge with the community.
Lastly, let me wish a safe and happy spring vacation to all of you who will enjoying a break. Many will be working next week, and it is important that university operations continue. For those traveling, I hope you enjoy your time away and return refreshed and ready for the final stretch of the academic year.