Believe it or not, we are now halfway through our SOAR orientation season. I am encouraged by participation rates that continue to outpace last year’s numbers. Today, we completed the fourth of eight sessions planned for new students before the fall semester. To date, 96 percent of those who have registered have attended, and we are up 24 students compared to a year ago. Our success so far is attributable to the hard work and dedication of many colleagues, and Rachel Florence-Spaetzel, director of Orientation Programs, and her student Orientation leaders do an excellent job. There is still important work to do, but these outcomes give us reason to feel optimistic. Thank you to everyone contributing to our enrollment successes.
Our students continue to impress others, and I am pleased when I am able to recognize their efforts. It pleases me even more when those students are recognized by national organizations. This was the case recently for Pedro Marin, a marketing major from Grand Blanc who was named the national Student of the Year by the National Association of College and University Residence Halls over the Memorial Day weekend. He received this award because of his leadership in our Residential Life community. Our students’ residential experience is considered one of the nation’s best because of the passion of staff and students such as Pedro.
I also was excited to hear one of our May graduates, Jessica Schafer-Thomas, was one of 25 people in the world selected to participate in a coveted internship with the Manhattan Sports Business Academy. Frequenters of our home sporting events likely recognize Jessica, known by some as “The T-Shirt Girl” who flung Cardinal apparel into the Ryder Center stands using a T-shirt gun. Jessica, a Clio native who earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing, was a sports marketing and promotions intern for three years with SVSU Athletics. Now she will transfer that passion for inspiring sports fans to her new role in the Big Apple beginning this Sunday.
For the last few years, I have kept you updated on the Writing Center’s efforts to offer writing services in the Saginaw and Bay City communities. Both endeavors were met with success and consumer demand. Now the Saginaw project — known as the Saginaw Community Writing Center — will receive an extended and expanded stay thanks to the generosity of the Dow Corning Foundation and Saginaw Community Foundation. A 2-year, $12,300 grant from the foundations will allow the Saginaw Community Writing Center both to continue offering services at Butman-Fish Library and open an additional writing center site at Heritage High School this fall.
We have a busy fundraising weekend, as our golf program hosts its annual Stu Gross golf outing today. Yours truly is among the participants. Then on Saturday, the football program hosts its annual Muddy Waters golf outing. Both events provide alumni with an opportunity to connect with their alma mater, and this year, the football program has invited Jerry Kill, our former head coach who went on to coach the University of Minnesota, for a reunion. My thanks to everyone involved in making these events a good experience for our friends and supporters.
The GLIAC recently announced its All-Academic and All-Academic Excellence Teams for the spring sports season. In total, there were 34 SVSU student-athletes recognized in the All-Academic Excellence category, which honors students who earned a GPA between 3.5 and 4.0. There were 25 student-athletes named to the All-Academic Team, which honors student-athletes who earned between a 3.0 and 3.49 GPA. See a complete list of honorees here.
In competition, two of our track & field student-athletes showed off their talents recently at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships in Charlotte. Andrew Mudd – whose father was a student of mine – was the national runner-up in the decathlon, where he scored a career-best 7,184 points. He was named to the All-America First Team by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association. One of his teammates, Noah VanderVeen, was named to the organization's All-America Second Team after finishing 11th in the high jump.
Congratulations to all of our high-achieving student-athletes. Go Cards!