I was saddened to learn that Chad Dewey, lecturer of computer science and information, passed away Thursday. I wish to extend my sincere condolences to Chad’s family and friends during this difficult time. Chad has been a member of our SVSU community since July 2014. We will stay in contact with members of Chad’s family and provide updates to the campus community regarding memorial services. Our staff in the Student Counseling Center — in Curtiss 112 at (989) 964-7078 — are available to provide support for those of you in need.
Photo courtesy of WJRT, ABC-12
We received much attention this week for an incident inside one of our chemistry labs. Four students suffered minor skin irritation, and all nine students who were in that lab Tuesday afternoon were taken to the hospital, as a precaution and consistent with safety protocols.
I went to the scene and the students I saw were in good spirits, given the circumstances. All of the affected students have been attending classes and appear to be fine. We are working to determine what may have caused the students to experience this reaction. I am pleased to report that the safety of our students, faculty and staff was the top priority of our chemistry faculty and many people involved on campus as well as several outside agencies from across Saginaw County.
We received some excellent news Thursday afternoon. We have been awarded a five-year $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This was a highly competitive process and our application was successful due to excellent internal collaboration. My thanks to David Callejo Perez, associate provost; Tony Crachiola, professor of mathematics; Poonam Kumar, director of the Center for Academic Innovation and Online Learning; and Jim Maher, executive director of Information Technology Services, as well as our colleagues in Institutional Research and Sponsored Programs. Briefly, the funds will be used to increase student success and retention by improving how we teach in our math program, developing online educational materials, and adding resources to help freshmen acclimate to college. The grant also provides funding to enhance use of our portal and other software to increase student retention. Finally, Andy Bethune, executive director of the SVSU Foundation, and the Foundation staff has committed to raising $600,000 over the next five years that will be matched by the grant to establish a new $1.2 million endowment for student scholarships. All of these additional resources support key priorities to support our students. Again, my thanks to all involved.
I am pleased to report the news that our School & University Partnerships office recently received a 5-year accreditation from AdvancED Michigan, a nonprofit that examines the quality of work exhibited by educational institutions. David Lewis, director of the School & University Partnerships office, and his staff last year applied for the distinction, and AdvancED Michigan officials visited our campus this March. The organization’s stamp of approval is a well-deserved endorsement of the dedicated, quality work that makes School & University Partnerships such a valuable part of our university and the public school academies we serve.
Next week, you are invited to attend a reception honoring the services of former Board of Control members Cathy Ferguson and David Gamez. The event is scheduled Wednesday, Oct. 4, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall Banquet Rooms. Cathy served eight years and David served 14 years. Each was instrumental in shaping SVSU, both in policy and culture. I hope many of you will be able to honor them at the reception. There will be a short program and refreshments. RSVPs can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Standard & Poor's Global Ratings has announced that SVSU's "A" rating has been affirmed. S&P recently completed an extensive review of the university's financial operations. This review is performed every two years. S&P commented that SVSU's financial operating performance has been consistently positive despite enrollment trends. The university's financial management policies are considered above average compared to similar institutions. Moody’s also maintains an A1 rating for SVSU. These outstanding reviews are testaments to the hard work of Jim Muladore, executive vice president for administration and business affairs, and the staff who dedicate themselves to keeping this institution so fiscally sound.
Our Visiting Scholars and Artists Series continues next week when Alfred Mele discusses “Free Will and Neuroscience” Thursday, Oct. 5, in Ott Auditorium. Mele is the William H. and Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. He also serves as the director of the Philosophy and Science of Self-Control project, which provides incentives and opportunities for collaborative philosophical and scientific research on self-control.
Congratulations to the forensics team, which placed first in the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League competition at Oakland Community College last Friday. One of our students also placed first in individual competition: Jayla Gaskins, a communication major from Detroit, was the top performer in the dramatic interpretation category. The team will travel back to Oakland for its next tournament in December.
Let me continue to extend my appreciation to everyone who has supported this week’s Battle of the Valleys. The battle is not over yet though. There is a Stardust Lane bowling night event planned tonight from 9 p.m. to midnight, when the week of fundraising officially concludes. Tickets cost $15, which includes bowling and shoe rental. You may also donate to the BOV cause directly online. On Saturday, during halftime of the 7 p.m. football game at GVSU’s Lubbers Stadium, we will learn which institution raised the most funds. There won’t really be a “loser,” of course. This fundraising competition will benefit both institution’s designated nonprofit recipient, including our partner, The Mustard Seed Shelter of Saginaw.
While our 2-2 football team will play on the road this week, those not traveling to GVSU will have a variety of home games to enjoy at SVSU this weekend.
The 4-4 women’s soccer plays Michigan Tech today at noon and Northern Michigan on Sunday at noon. The 5-1-1 men’s soccer team plays Ashland on Friday at 2:30 p.m. and Davenport on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. The 3-10 volleyball team plays Northwood today at 7 p.m. and Ferris State on Saturday at 2 p.m. Go Cards!