I am a believer
No, not like the Monkees hit in the 1960s. More like believer in the value of higher education and most specifically, SVSU, and as pastor of Victorious Ministries in Saginaw.
Chris Pryor says that the importance and power of education was stressed by his parents, so college was never the question and to some extent, which one he chose wasn’t either. For many reasons, Chris says that SVSU was “the best decision I ever made in my life.”
I am home.
Being incredibly close to his family meant that Chris wanted the same of his college – both in terms of physical proximity to home (even though he chose to live on campus), and maybe more importantly, “close” in terms of a sense of family and connectedness. He says he got both at SVSU. “I have always been close to my family, and then SVSU became my family.”
I am a product of a great education – experience and degree-wise.
Beyond great academic preparation, Chris speaks to the value of the well-rounded education he received in a learning environment that is based on personal relationships.
Of his student engagement activities, Chris is proud of his involvement with the African American Student Alliance and Student Government. It was back in 1994 that he met President Eric Gilbertson, who to this day has remained a friend and mentor. And when you talk to Chris about the importance of extended family and people of influence, the list of those he calls his “wonderful mentors” – faculty, staff, administrators – is long. Even though it has been many years since he graduated, most are still part of his life.
His SVSU degrees have served him well. Chris completed a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1995 and later, a masters of education in 2000. He spent a successful 12-year career with Pfizer Inc. before the death of his father led him to the role of church elder/pastor. His preparation for this role, he says, was enhanced by his SVSU experience. “I met so many different people from different cultures on campus. And from Dr. Joseph Ofori-Dankwa, Harvey Randall Wickes Endowed Chair in International Business, I learned the importance of understanding our similarities rather than focusing on our differences.”
I am connected to a place that cares.
Chris stays connected to SVSU on a regular basis. Whether it’s attending a presentation or bringing his young family to campus, he doesn’t mind being a little “preachy” about his alma mater. “I know people today are challenged economically and socially, but it’s wisdom and education that can change environments. We have SVSU with so many opportunities. This place is a blessing.”
I am a proud alumni of SVSU (who, by the way, is married to another SVSU graduate, Kenyatta).
The Student Association is the voice of the student body. It is one of more than 130 registered student organizations (RSOs) on campus. Two major events of S.A. are the fundraising events, Battle of the Valleys and Relay for Life, which annually collectively raise $80,000 to $100,000 for charity.
Chris worked as an academic and career advisor for SVSU for two years. He says, “because of the leadership at SVSU, I wasn’t held back, but instead was pushed on.” That “push” is what led to his successful career with the New York pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc.
Chris is one of six family members who attended SVSU: himself, his sister, brother, two cousins and his wife. “We’re looking forward to the Pryor Building,” he laughs.
“When you see bigger, you dream bigger” – SVSU’s growth allows youth to see the dream and what college is all about.”
Mentor, professor and endowed chair, Dr. Joseph Ofori-Dankwa’s research interest includes exploring the implication of the Diversimilarity paradigm. His book for children, The Adventures of Diffi and Simi helps kids appreciate both their differences and similarities. Dr. Ofori-Dankwa has also presented seminars and workshops on the diversimilarity concept worldwide.