I’m pleased to announce that our December commencement ceremonies will feature a longtime friend and advocate of SVSU as keynote speaker: Jan Botz. Jan received her bachelor’s degree from SVSU in 1974, and we’ve been blessed with her support ever since. Passionate about the value of liberal arts to corporate organizations, she established the Botz Fellowship in 2013 to help liberal arts students gain corporate experiences via internships. She also serves on the university’s Foundation Board of Directors and is a past member of the Alumni Board and the Board of Fellows. She received the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1998. Now I’m grateful she has agreed to provide her inspiring words for our students during these celebratory ceremonies, Dec. 16-17.
We at SVSU know the empowering and inspiring effect our faculty have on our students’ lives. It makes me proud when others recognize our faculty’s talents. Jeffrey Smith, our Malcolm & Lois Field Endowed Chair of Health Sciences, recently received the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience’s (FUN) Service Award, given to individuals who contribute to the development of the national organization and its mission of advancing neuroscience studies. He received the award last month at a neuroscience conference in San Diego. It was a deserving honor for an education who plays such a large role in helping so many undergraduate students better understand neuroscience and research. Please congratulate him on this tremendous accomplishment.
Another one of our outstanding leaders, Dom Monastiere, the Boutell/First Merit Bank Executive in Residence, will be honored Wednesday in Bay City during the Distinguished Citizen’s Dinner sponsored by Michigan Crossroads Council Boy Scouts of America. Dom is deserving of this honor, for his work with SVSU and the region as a whole. Congratulations, Dom!
For those on campus Friday and Saturday, you may notice a number of young and enthusiastic new faces. For the sixth consecutive year, we are hosting the annual festival for Michigan Thespians, the state affiliate of the Educational Theatre Association. Nearly 2,000 high school students will be participating in performance arts-related workshops and activities throughout Friday and Saturday. We may even convince a few of these students to apply to become Cardinals next year. Either way, I’m honored Michigan Thespians continues to select our wonderful campus to host this event.
Please consider attending the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute’s second annual Elevator Pitch Competition today (Thursday) at 5 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms. SVSU and eight universities from across Michigan will compete by pitching their new business ideas to a panel of judges in front of an audience. The winner earns a $2,000 prize. Last year, you may recall, SVSU’s own Joshua Zyrowski, an SVSU international business major from Saginaw, won thanks to his inspired idea of a magnetic travel mug that clings to metallic surfaces. I’ll be rooting for our students again, but also applauding this wonderful opportunity for business students across the state, made possible by our Dow Entrepreneurship Institute and its director, Tom Sesti.
Eight of our dedicated SVSU students will travel to Illinois Saturday to compete against institutions from across the Upper Midwest during the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics' regional Ethics Bowl. For those not familiar with it, the Ethics Bowl gives college students the opportunity to defend stances on morally complex ethical issues facing society. Based on that criteria, I know our students are as competitive as any others. Peter Rose-Barry, our Finkbeiner Endowed Professor of Ethics, is advising the group. Let’s wish him and the team the best as they head to Harper University for the contest.
There’s a lot of great news to report from Athletics. First, the volleyball team is set to compete in the 2016 NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament at Ferris State University tonight (Thursday) at 7:30 p.m.
Here on campus, the women’s and men’s basketball teams play at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively, tonight vs. Hillsdale. Both teams also play here at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively, Saturday vs. Lake Erie.
The track and field team plays Friday in the SVSU Holiday classic at noon on both Friday and Saturday.
Best of luck to all these teams, both home and away.
Meanwhile, while the men’s soccer team’s season is complete, junior forward Matt Wilson was selected as a member of the Division II Conference Commissioner's Association (D2CCA) Men's Soccer All-America Honorable Mention Team. What an outstanding accomplishment.
I would also like to acknowledge and thank all the volunteers who will be helping during Saturday’s Community Youth Days event. We pride ourselves on our community engagement activities, and Community Youth Days is a shining example of our approach as a community leader.