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President’s Weekly Update - Week of Monday, May 7, 2018

Commencement celebration

Our spring Commencement ceremonies are upon us, and it is time to reflect upon another outstanding academic year, and celebrate with students and their families. The graduating class consists of roughly 1,000 individuals who are expected to complete degree requirements and have indicated that they intend to don regalia and march in the ceremonies Friday night and Saturday. In all, SVSU will welcome an estimated 1,083 people to its alumni rolls.
Those soon-to-be graduates attending Friday and Saturday's ceremonies will hear from an alumna who enjoyed a distinguished career as a judge and whose captivating personal story is the subject of a recently published memoir. Marylin E. Atkins is the longest-serving chief judge in the history of Michigan's 36th District Court in Detroit, having worked in that position for nearly 13 years. After retiring from the bench in 2012, she wrote her autobiography "The Triumph of Rosemary: A Memoir." The memoir addresses important topics of diversity and social change. Born to an Italian teen and a married black man in Detroit in 1946, she was adopted by a black couple in Saginaw. At age 19, she sparked a racial and religious scandal by marrying former Roman Catholic priest Thomas Lee Atkins, who was white and 25 years older than she. Her story is captivating, inspiring and educational.

Cardinal Formula Racing

This time of year also means it is Cardinal Formula Racing competition season. This year's group has worked hard to overcome a number of challenges already. The team worked late Monday night - past 1 a.m. - and were back in the shop by 7 a.m. Tuesday morning to replace an engine on the car and get a new backup engine ready for competition. Within hours, they were on the road to Brooklyn, Michigan, where they currently are facing international competition during the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) Collegiate Design Series (results can be found here), which concludes Saturday. SVSU has claimed the highest finish by an exclusively undergraduate team each of the past three years. Best of luck to the team and Brooks Byam, professor of mechanical engineering, now in his 20th year as Cardinal Formula Racing adviser.


Celebrating lasting friendships

Representatives from SVSU and Jinan University at SVSU.

This week, we welcomed our friends from Jinan University, our sister school from Guangzhou, China. SVSU and Jinan have enjoyed that relationship for 30 years. To mark the anniversary, we hosted a reception to honor the friendship. SVSU enjoys relationships with 19 sister schools from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. In a world that is becoming increasingly connected, there is such great value in relationships such as these. My thanks to everyone who has hosted our guests this week.

The next generation of student leaders

Group photos of 2017 orientation leaders

This week, our new Orientation leaders will receive training. It is a critical time, after all, with next week’s SOAR activities on the calendar. I appreciate our Orientation staff and the student leaders working so hard to help make SVSU a welcoming place for the next generation of Cardinals.

Honoring our international students


Many groups have special celebrations in advance of Commencement, including our international students. Faculty, staff and a number of parents attended a wonderful celebration put on by the Office of Advanced Studies and International Student Service Thursday afternoon where we honored our international students expected to graduate this week. executive director of Alumni Relations, inducted them into the Alumni Association. It was a wonderful occasion for a group of students who have added so much culture and worldly knowledge to our campus these last few years.

Celebrating young scientists

Recipients of the Rising Stars of STEM receive their scholarship checks.

Along with our many end-of-the-semester events was Tuesday evening's celebration of the 30 middle and high school students who served as "chief science officers" this year. Back in August, these young scholars attended workshops on campus that trained them on how to promote and encourage STEM education in their schools. Parents, faculty, staff, SVSU students and representatives from a number of STEM-related community partners were in attendance as each of these participants earned received a certificate. What a great program. We appreciate these students' dedicated work in advocating on behalf of STEM education, and thanks to The Dow Chemical Company Foundation for underwriting this initiative.
We also recently spotlighted the next generation of scientists joining SVSU in the fall during the Rising Stars of STEM program. These high school students - planning to study academic programs in our College of Science, Engineering & Technology - met with our students currently enrolled in those programs as well as faculty and staff. The event concluded when several attendees received $500 Rising Stars of STEM scholarships sponsored by the Gemini Group of Bad Axe (represented by DeAnna Wruble) and Hemlock Semiconductor (represented by Terry Robinson). This new program provided a great opportunity to welcome these rising stars to our Cardinal culture and family.

Supporting crime victims through national grant

James Bowers (left) and Joni Boye-Beaman

Congratulations to James Bowers, associate professor of criminal justice, and Joni Boye-Beaman, professor of sociology. They, along with Carol Zimmermann, who recently retired from our criminal justice faculty, and Jessica Hacker, a student research assistant, were honored Thursday morning during the Saginaw Police Department Annual Awards & Memorial Ceremony for their work on a program called Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victim Evaluation (ELERV). This project is aimed at planning initiatives to better respond to victims of violent crimes. Saginaw Police received one of three grants in the nation awarded by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Office of Victims of Crime. James and Joni serve on the evaluation team for the project. Please join me in thanking them for their role in this important work to improve our community.

Honoring the Spirit of Detroit

Spirit of Detroit 60th Anniversary Event

There still is time to purchase tickets for Saturday’s Spirit of Detroit 60th Anniversary Celebration in the One Woodward Avenue building in Detroit, right across the street from the sculpture. The celebration, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., will include a reception, dinner, jazz music and more. Proceeds will benefit our own Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum. There has been a lot of publicity for this anniversary celebration, include an appearance by Marilyn Wheaton, the museum director, this morning during The Paul W. Smith Show on WJR. Details on the event and tickets — which you can purchase online — are available at

Learning about Croatia

Mindy Morgan, an associate professor of anthropology at Michigan State University

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute has invited Mindy Morgan, an associate professor of anthropology at Michigan State University, to campus Wednesday, May 16, at 5 p.m. in Curtiss 129. She will discuss the language, culture, cuisine and geography of Croatia and the Dalmatian Coast region. The public is invited to attend. The invitation is a primer for OLLI's planned 15-day trip across the Adriatic Sea and Eastern Europe next February and March. The trip is open to the public, not exclusively OLLI members. If you know friends or relatives interested in the excursion, have them contact the OLLI office for more information at (989) 964-4475.

Cardinals in national competition

Athletics logo, Cardinal head on blue/black diamond gradient background with letters SV.

Congratulations to the SVSU softball team, which was selected as the No. 7 seed in the 2018 NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament. The team opens play at the University of Illinois-Springfield Thursday afternoon. This marks the second consecutive year our softball team qualified for this tournament.
Meanwhile, the men's golf team competed in the NCAA Division II Midwest/Central Super Regionals this week at the Findlay Country Club in Ohio; they finished tied for 11th among the 20-team field. Individually, Dustin Pumford posted the sixth best score in the field.
For the women's golf team, sophomore Sabrina Coffman competed as an individual at the NCAA Division II East Super Regionals at Ferris State, finishing with a low round of 77 on Wednesday.
Our men’s and women’s track and field teams are competing in a variety of “last chance” meets in hopes of posting finishes that will qualify student-athletes for NCAA competition.

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