We’ve known for months that former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder would serve as the keynote speaker for our MLK Celebration on Jan. 25. It bears repeating, though — not only because of the historical significance of the guest, but also because tickets are now available. It’s a free event. However, reserved seating is required. Individuals can acquire up to four tickets, while those who request additional tickets will be placed on a waiting list. I hope everyone interested in the event secures a seat. His presentation is sure to be both illuminating and educational.
A few weeks ago, I was excited to tell you one of our moot court team tandems qualified for the national tournament in January 2017. After a regional tournament hosted here at SVSU last weekend, an additional three teams qualified for that outstanding opportunity in Gulfport, Florida. We’ve never sent four teams to the nationals before. Sending at least one team — which we have done every year since our moot court program began six years ago — is a remarkable accomplishment in itself.
Our three newly-qualified teams include the tandems of Jrew Brickel, a criminal justice major from Midland, and Gabe Klotz, a political science major from Midland; Allison Fuller, a political science major from Davison, and Nancy Haddad, a communication major from Saginaw; and political science majors Eric Maul, of Lupton, and Joshua Hoebeke, of West Branch. Congratulations to these students as well as Julie Keil, the program’s adviser, and her assistants for empowering these outstanding competitors.
Our students competing on the forensics team also performed exceptionally during a Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League tournament last weekend at Hillsdale. The team as a whole placed third in the Team Sweepstakes category. Eight of our 12 participating students earned 12 different award placements. Erik Breidinger, the communication and geography double major you may remember from winning the Sims Public Speaking Competition the last two years, received first place in the After Dinner Speaking category. I’m very proud of Erik and all of the students who represented SVSU so well at this competition.
I’m also very proud of Bailey Brown, a Spanish and criminal justice major who received the National Association of College and University Residence Halls Student of the Month award for the month of October. The award is given to a student showing a dedicated and community-minded approach to working with fellow campus residents. Considering all of the ways Bailey helps our campus, it’s no surprise she earned this distinction. Here are some of the campus organizations and activities she is involved in: The Peer Health Education Program, the Residence Housing Association, the Leadership Development Committee, the Writing Center, and the SVSU Honors Program. Her active involvement and leadership is a wonderful testament to this campus’ culture of neighborly dedication.
I was extremely pleased earlier this week to learn the national coaches poll lifted our men’s basketball team’s ranking from No. 2 to No. 1. No. 1! Both are firsts in the program’s history.
What’s better is that the basketball team isn’t alone in demonstrating competitive excellence on the playing fields. Every single SVSU team currently in-season is ranked in the top 32 of their respective sports. Women’s swimming and diving is ranked No. 32; men’s swimming and diving, No. 28; women’s basketball, No. 24; men’s indoor track and field, No. 21; and women’s indoor track and field, No. 20. What an exciting time to be a fan of Cardinal Athletics. To keep an eye on these teams and learn when you can watch them in action, make sure to check in at www.svsucardinals.com regularly.
We also heard great news relating to one of our off-season teams. Matt McKoy, a safety on the football team, earned Second Team All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association on Wednesday. What a tremendous honor for this talented student-athlete.
Our mechanical engineering students continue to impress me both with their skill and community engagement initiative. On Friday, 27 of these students will showcase their senior projects during the Fall 2016 Engineering Symposium. These projects involve designing and building parts and equipment under the sponsorship of the region’s leading manufacturing companies and organizations including Dow Corning Corp., Kremin Inc., Nexteer Automotive, Allen Supply, Euclid Industries, Great Lakes Pet Emergencies, and Means Industries. The event begins from 10 a.m. to noon with a poster session in the southernmost first-floor hallway of SVSU’s Pioneer Hall. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., there will be two sessions in rooms 245 and 247 of Pioneer Hall, where the students will present their projects to the audience as a whole. I would encourage you to attend this symposium to see their remarkable work.
We are pleased on Friday to be welcoming a delegation from Ming Chuan University and other friends from the Anhui Province in China. We will be unveiling a bust of Liu Mingchuan, who is the namesake of the Ming Chuan University.
Lastly, let me encourage a healthy holiday — and lifestyle in general — by way of an impressive story starring one of our longtime faculty members. Gary Lange, professor of biology, recently completed his 3,000th consecutive day of walking for exercise. This routine includes strolling outside at least four miles every day for more than eight years. We estimate, with all that exercise, he could have walked back and forth from here to Florida nearly five times. Considering the holiday dinners and banquets as well as our tendency to stay indoors during the cold months, it would benefit many of us to find inspiration in Gary’s example.