In case you missed it over the weekend, Dave Karpovich, our H.H. Dow Endowed Chair in Chemistry, was the primary source for a story in The Bay City Times explaining why there is less muck along the Saginaw Bay shoreline this year.
I tried to convince Dave we should take credit for the lower muck levels, but he convinced me that such a claim would undermine the credibility of our Saginaw Bay Environmental Science Institute, so I relented. In all seriousness, we have several faculty and staff who are doing fine work in this area, and it’s important, given our region’s increasing recognition that a cleaner, healthier Saginaw Bay watershed is critical to our future.
Our students are doing good work, too. My congratulations to Marissa Kemp, a graphic design major from Algonac, who won a contest for her poster design of the 8th annual Festival of the Senses in Macomb County’s Clinton Township.
I spent some quality time in Zahnow Library this week. We welcomed members of the Exchange Club of Saginaw for a ceremony to re-dedicate a Freedom Shrine, a mounted collection of 30 of the most important and historic American documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Gettysburg Address. The display had been on the first floor of Wickes Hall since the 1970s, and I can tell you that the members of club who participated in the ceremony were genuinely pleased to see the shrine given such a prominent and appropriate location. My thanks to Jo Brownlie, director of our Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (and an Exchange Club member), and Anita Dey, interim director of the library, for their efforts on this, and to the Campus Facilities staff who clearly took the time to do the job right.
After the ceremony, Rose San Miguel showed me our Hispanic Heritage display featuring the flags and a sampling of books representing 20 different Hispanic countries. In the first year of what is expected to become an annual tradition, this year’s display highlights Mexican culture particularly. My thanks to Rose and all those who worked to introduce our campus to Hispanic culture. I encourage you to see it for yourself.
One of the best parts of my job is meeting with visitors, particularly those who haven’t previously seen SVSU. This week, I met with Daniel Herwitz, the Frederick G. L. Huetwell professor of Comparative Literature, History of Art, and Philosophy of Art and Design at the University of Michigan, who was on campus to deliver the annual Edwards Lecture. Herwitz was quite impressed with our students, our faculty, and the physical condition of our campus. These testimonials don’t occur by happenstance; they’re a testament to everyone who takes pride in his/her job. Keep it up – I like people paying us compliments.
If you watch television, you can’t help but be reminded that this is an election year. It’s appropriate for each of us – as private citizens – to participate in the political process, and to encourage our students to do the same. Last week, the Michigan Secretary of State brought their mobile branch office to campus and more than 60 students registered to vote. There are also forms available in the Dean of Students, Registrar, and Student Association offices; please make your students aware of this, since for many, this may be their first opportunity to vote.
Every day, I drive by our new Ryder Center field house on my way in to work, and every few days I’ve been asking Jim Muladore, “When is it going to open?” This week, Jim gave me the good news that it should be open this coming Monday, Sept. 22. This facility will be an important addition to campus on many levels. While the benefits to our student-athletes are perhaps the most obvious, this building also will be used by our club sports programs and for intramurals, so it will be open to all students. We also expect it to be a highly utilized asset for the region, as we host high school track meets and other events. Just two years after updating our Gerstacker Regional Aquatics Center, we exceeded our five-year projection for how that facility would be utilized. We are the university for this region, and it’s appropriate for us to serve the region through the facilities we offer, just as we do intellectually and culturally.
Finally, I’d like to welcome our new baseball coach, Chris Ebright. If you see him, please welcome Chris and offer him your support. As I tell all our coaches, I’ve assured him that he has my support, win or tie. Seriously, Chris had been serving in an interim capacity since stepping up under difficult circumstances last spring, and I’m confident he’ll be a good addition to the Cardinal family.