It was an honor to attend Jack Ryder’s memorial service on Tuesday. Friends, family and former colleagues were able to pay tribute to him and honor the legacy that he left behind. Jack, SVSU’s president from 1974-89, and his wife, Lila, were both instrumental in the growth of SVSU. Under his leadership, the university grew both in terms of campus size and in academic value. He was a man of great vision, character and kindness. He brought everyone into this dream for a stronger campus and better community. I can only agree with Jack’s words: “We love SVSU for all it has been and for all it will become.” If you were unable to attend the memorial service on Tuesday, you may view a recording here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXvKZls_5MA
I was pleased to learn this week that our student leaders selected the next nonprofit that will benefit from the October Battle of the Valley fundraiser. The ROCK Center for Youth Development is an outstanding organization dedicated to bettering the lives of teens by offering after-school programs and community-based activities for middle and high school students in Bay, Midland, Isabella and Saginaw counties. The nonprofit was selected from among 56 applicants. Our students’ passion for engaging the community continues to impress me. I look forward to witnessing — and being part of — the spirit that will be on display during BOV week Oct. 6-11.
As you probably already know, Riley Hupfer, assistant director for the Center for Community Engagement; Beth Alford, director of Military Student Affairs; and Coop are preparing to rappel down the Covenant Mackinaw building this Saturday, June 8, as part of the United Way of Saginaw County’s Over The Edge fundraising campaign. We are dedicated to raise money for the nonprofit's 100th year of serving our community. I hope that you can help us reach our fundraising goal by donating here: https://bit.ly/2QbiBJ0
Recently, our campus hosted this year’s symposium honoring the latest class of participants in the Dow Corning Foundation/SVSU STEM Community Partnership. The program was first established in 2013, and each year since, has connected 20 educators in the region’s K-12 school districts with our faculty, staff and resources as they design strategies aimed at strengthening STEM education. Throughout a single academic calendar, the participating teachers create a STEM-related project for their students. The resulting work — both by the teachers and their students — is inspiring. The symposium gives us a chance to admire the impact of this important partnership.
Congratulations to Brandon Fjerstad, who recently began his two-year term as a participant in the Beaumont Health Administrative Fellowship program. Brandon has a number of ties to the university. He received a bachelor's degree in exercise science here in 2014 as well as a master's degree in health administration and leadership last year. He also served as the Human Performance Lab coordinator as well as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Kinesiology. He will continue in the latter role as he participates in the fellowship program, which pairs him with a senior-level Beaumont Health administrator who will mentor Brandon on how to lead an organization in the health industry. This is an outstanding opportunity for Brandon, who was selected from a pool of candidates from across the nation.
Next Wednesday, June 12, will mark the first of the 2019-2020 Cultural Competency Dialogues. The workshop, entitled “Dialogue and Skill Building,” will be led by Professor of History Dr. Kenneth Jolly and will explore dialogue skills and practices to enhance inclusion and equity. The workshop will take place from 9-10:30 a.m. in Zahnow 228. Sign up to attend by clicking here. Breakfast will be provided. This dialogue series offers important opportunities for our faculty and staff to engage in courageous conversations around equity and inclusion on our campus and beyond, and I thank all participants and those involved for their ongoing efforts to improve our university community in this way.
Lauren Huebner, a junior track & field student-athlete, has tested her limits — and discovered she was able to best her peers at the 2019 NCAA Division II National Championships in Texas. After an impressive performance in the heptathlon, she earned the national championship title for the competition. She broke a program record and became the fifth SVSU student-athlete to claim such a title and the first since Paul Markel in 2001. This is Lauren’s second all-American honor in her career. She finished third in the pentathlon competition at the 2019 NCAA Division II Indoor National Championships earlier this year. Congratulations, Lauren, on receiving such a prestigious title. You have earned it!