We are pleased to announce that Gov. Rick Snyder today signed into legislation a budget that included authorizing funding for our planned additions to the College of Business & Management building. The state’s support for this project represents a victory for our university; our business students, faculty and staff; and the region’s business community at large. I would like to thank everyone who worked hard to ensure the support we secured today. I look forward to seeing that pay off for future generations.
With the recent retirement of Cynthia Bala, we have posted the position of director of Human Resources and that search is underway. Jack Van Hoorelbeke, associate general counsel/chief Human Resources officer, has accepted a position within the private sector and will be leaving the university in early August. Please join me in thanking Jack for his nearly 10 years of service to SVSU; we wish him well on his new position. John Decker, associate vice president of administration and business affairs, and general counsel, will serve as interim director of Human Resources until such time as a new director is hired.
As many of you are aware, several thousand homes have been impacted by recent flooding in Isabella, Midland and Bay counties. My thoughts are with some of our own employees who have experienced flooding in their own homes. In times of need, Cardinals rise to the occasion. Jenna Briggs, senior director of Advanced and International Student Services (fourth from left in blue), and Ted Lind, associate director of Admissions (right, in white), recently helped remove debris from floodwater-filled homes. This wife/husband duo — who are both military veterans — are part of Team Rubicon, a non-profit, veteran-led disaster response team. Team Rubicon has been in Midland for nearly three weeks, and have built up a team of approximately 40 volunteers who have removed materials from close to 38 homes. I want to thank Ted and Jenna for their service to the country and this fine community.
I recommend visiting the new Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum exhibition, “Folk Art from Oaxaca: Eight Artists, Eight Voices,” which extends to Sept. 28. The gallery features more than 50 sculptures from eight indigenous Oaxacan artisans. Each work of art is distinct, eye-opening and offers a window into the Oaxaca culture. I am grateful to Marilyn Wheaton, museum director, and everyone who helped secure this exhibition from such talented artists from another country.
If you see him in the hallways, make sure to welcome Brandon Rushton back to our campus. Brandon, a 2012 graduate who now serves as a lecturer of English at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, has returned to SVSU this month as the 2017 recipient of our Fredericks-Follett-Roethke Graduate Fellowship in the Arts & Humanities. He is studying Theodore Roethke’s poetry and related material housed on our campus during his stay. His goals include creating a database highlighting the 13 recipients of the Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize — offered once every three years since 1968 — and include analyses on how Roethke may have influenced each authors’ work. We are pleased to have him back on our campus, performing this important research.
Speaking of successful alumni: Kevin Finley, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting this May, recently began his full-time job in the accounting department at The Dow Chemical Company. Kevin was an outstanding student leader who turned his academic studies and the powerful networks established here at SVSU into a full-time job right out of college. In fact, he was offered the Dow position before graduation, but waited to start work until after he traveled overseas as a member of our 2016-17 Roberts Fellowship class. His story of empowerment is a testament to our institution’s hard work and dedication to the highest education. If you have not already read his success story — or the success stories of a number of our 2017 graduates — I again want to encourage you to visit our online project dedicated to them at www.svsu.edu/weare2017.