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President’s Weekly Update - Week of Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Admissions Open House

A table at the admissions open house.

We have a golden opportunity tomorrow. More than 650 high school students have registered to attend our Admissions Open House. Including parents, significant others, and the like, we will welcome more than 1,000 visitors to our campus. My sincere appreciation to everyone who has volunteered to be a part of tomorrow’s event, including dozens of faculty and staff from across the institution. Thanks, too, to our Admissions staff for their work generating interest in the event, and organizing it. In your interactions – tomorrow and throughout the year – please help our guests understand how much we care and how committed we are to supporting our students. Show them the extraordinary opportunities for undergraduate research and learning. Let them see your Red Pride. Let’s make tomorrow a great day to be a Cardinal!

Battle of the Valleys next week

Battle of the Valleys 14 tshirt design Don't Underestimate the power of Red Pride.

Every year, our students show amazing dedication to our community, raising significant funds for local nonprofit organizations during Battle of the Valleys week. This year, we are collecting funds for Hidden Harvest, an organization that provides food for pantries and kitchens across our Great Lakes Bay Region. Their president and CEO, Samantha McKenzie, is an SVSU alumna. I was listening to the football broadcast last Saturday, and heard from this year’s Student Association philanthropy chair, Emma Eldred. Her passion for this cause and for this contest inspired me. Our campus will be filled with fundraising activities next week; I hope you will join our students and support this effort, as you are able. We have won the last eight fundraising contests with Grand Valley, and over the life of the competition, our students have raised $331,329 for worthy causes. Let’s keep that winning streak alive. For a full list of activities, and the opportunity to donate online, starting Sunday, visit

Closing out a strong week

Collage of events from week of Oct 26, 2016. Michio Kaku, Cardinal Singers, Samrat Upadhyay

What an eventful, inspiring week now coming to a close. We kicked off the week Monday when world-famous theoretical physicist Michio Kaku spoke to a packed house about the future of medicine. The Cardinal Singers put on another outstanding vocal performance Wednesday under the direction of Kevin Simons, assistant professor of music. Then, on Thursday, award-winning author Samrat Upadhyay discussed the forces that make a writer. I’m confident those in attendance enjoyed these performances as much as I did. We have an outstanding lineup of events ahead of us this fall. I invite you to join us as your schedule permits.

Family Weekend ahead

Collage of pictures from SVSU Family Day 2015 - bubble soccer, arts and crafts, football tailgate, theater performance

One such opportunity is Family Weekend, which spans today through Sunday, giving families of students, faculty and staff the chance to experience SVSU thanks to free entertainment, student performances, crafts and novelties, athletic events and more. The lineup of events includes a tour of the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, the Trunk Or Treat Halloween event tonight, a showing of Captain America: Civil War, a haunted house experience at Pine Grove Apartments, football, and more. Please welcome our Cardinal families if you see them on campus this weekend.

Alumni Celebration

‌‌Alumni Celebration

Tonight, we honor seven outstanding graduates and a student about to graduate at our annual Alumni Celebration. The honorees are:

  • Commander David S. Points, the former Director of the Joint Information Bureau, Joint Task Force -160 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and current owner of Mahon Communications, Inc. which owns and operates WFJX AM, FOX Radio 910 in Roanoke, Virginia.
  • John Stadwick, who began his career with General Motors in 1984 and currently serves as the global customer experience officer for GM.  2013, Forbes magazine named him to its “Global Meets Local” list of top influential leaders of global corporations.
  • Robert Loftus has held teaching, coaching and administrative positions within secondary education. Currently, he is the owner and president of Loftus and Associates, income development specialists for the auto industry.
  • Sarah Fechter, founder of Sarah Fechter Fitness in Saginaw; she has helped members of our community achieve a better and healthier life. She has received multiple awards such as the Great Women of the Great Lakes Bay Region, Business of the Year in 2013, and most recently a RUBY Award.
  • John Tolfa worked on research and development for CPI Engineering Services Inc. in Midland for many years. In 2010, he co-founded Xaerus Performance Fluids International, a company that develops, manufactures and exports specialty lubricants around the world.
  • Chunchun Tang, who graduated from SVSU in 2011 and then earned a master's of science in international education development from the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania. She currently serves as director of international programs at Oxford Community Schools in Oxford, Michigan.
  • New this year is the Veteran Alumni Award, presented to an outstanding alum who served in the military. The inaugural award's recipient is Matthew Schiebner, who started his nursing career out in the United States Air Force as a medical officer. He is currently practicing primary care for all ages at Great Lakes Medical Center in Bay City.
  • The Future Alumni Award recipient is George Copeland, a business major from Southfield who is expected to graduate in December. He has served as a resident assistant in M.J. Brandimore House, and was a member of several student organizations.

Investing in Saginaw's future

Community engagement and improving our region are hallmarks of this institution. On Thursday, we hosted a number of our community leaders to discuss how best to empower Saginaw County K-12 students with the tools and motivation necessary for success in middle school, high school, college and, ultimately, the careers they pursue. This is no small venture, but fortunately some of our region’s most influential leaders and stakeholders attended the gathering. Our guests included Saginaw Mayor Dennis Browning; Reneé Johnston, president and CEO of Saginaw Community Foundation; Larry Sims, president and CEO of the United Way of Saginaw County; Kathy Stewart, Saginaw Intermediate School District superintendent; and Tim Wilson, Carrollton Public Schools superintendent. We engaged in important dialogue that will no doubt strengthen educational prospects for our community’s youth.

Reflections magazine delivered

SVSU Reflections magazine cover Fall 2016 featuring Jaeleen Davis.

We have received very positive early reaction to the latest edition of Reflections magazine, which was delivered to offices earlier this week. There are powerful stories behind many of our people and programs, and our staff has done an outstanding job capturing these stories in its pages. The newest edition includes a profile on Jaeleen Davis, a current student who overcame both a childhood disease and a terrible accident this summer to continue pursuing her many passions; an insightful piece on the development of our “We” marketing plan; a look into how we have prepared our education students for a resurgent job market for teachers in Michigan; a feature on a historically-significant photo catalog preserved in our Zahnow Library archives; and retrospectives on our recently-retired colleagues Merry Jo Brandimore and Gene Hamilton. I hope you will spend some time with the issue at The stories also are being posted to our online newsroom; I encourage you to share them through your social media channels.

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