One of our dear friends passed away last week. Ted Braun was one of the Saginaw community’s finest ambassadors, and one of SVSU’s great champions. Individually and collectively, he and his wife, Ruth, have been deeply committed servant leaders. We at SVSU will be forever fortunate that they chose to devote themselves to advancing our institution. Ted served on the SVSU Board of Control from 1981-89, and was succeeded by Ruth, who served from 1991-2007. For nearly half of our university’s history, a Braun shaped the most important decisions we made. Their support extended to empowering programs such as The Braun Fellowship and the Braun Writing Awards. Ted also served many years as president of the board for the Harvey Randall Wickes Foundation, which long has been among SVSU’s chief benefactors. Ted spoke on the importance of giving to SVSU as part of the video to promote our "Promise for Tomorrow" fundraising campaign. On behalf of SVSU, I extend our condolences to Ted’s family and friends, and I express our gratitude for the innumerable ways in which Ted has enriched our institution and those whom we serve.
I hope to see many of you later today (Thursday, Feb. 16) for the annual State of the University address at 4 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre. I will be highlighting some of our biggest successes from the past year while discussing the new strategic plan and the initiatives we will work on together to shape a bright future for our institution.
Our Black History Month events have started well. Liana and I enjoyed “A Taste of Soul” Wednesday. My thanks to all the faculty and staff who helped to prepare traditional soul food favorites, especially SVSU newcomers Sidney Childs, associate provost for Student Affairs; and Nedra Brown, associate athletic director for compliance and academic services for SVSU Athletics. I was also pleased to see a number of people from our surrounding community join us for lunch.
Forever Red is leading a series of fundraising events during I Heart SV Week, which generates money for student scholarships. It also has an important education component, as members seek to inform students about the importance of philanthropy on campus, and how they benefit from the gifts made by the late Ted Braun and so many others. Wednesday night featured a “5 Under 5” alumni panel where students were given an opportunity to interact with five recent SVSU graduates and learn from their experiences. If you would like to show your support for this cause, you can donate online.
Our campus community truly has a giving spirit. I would like to thank everyone who helped — and continues to help — our students’ Relay For Life fundraising efforts. I had the honor of presenting the opening remarks during last Friday’s event. What tremendous campus support given to Relay For Life’s fight against cancer. To date, they’ve collected more than $32,000 in donations. The group is still accepting donations through August. You can continue to support them by visiting this website: www.relayforlife.org/svsumi.
Our dedication to fighting cancer will continue during this Saturday’s home basketball games vs. Northwood. The women – who are No. 3 in the new regional rankings released this week – play at 4 p.m. and the men follow at 6 p.m. During these games, we will also host the 9th annual breast cancer survivor reception and recognition event as part of the GLIAC’s Pink Wave week. More than 50 breast cancer survivors will be recognized. All proceeds from the sale of promotional items at these games will be donated to St. Mary's of Michigan Seton Cancer Institute Breast Care Fund. For more information on this event, visit www.svsucardinals.com/bc. This occasion also happens to be Senior Day and the final regular season home games for both teams. I hope to see many of you there.
Our exceptional theatre students, faculty and staff have been busy winning awards this year, and they will share their talents with us when they resume their production schedule next week with Paul Downs Colaizzo's "Really Really.” The play is set on a 21st century college campus, where a group of students are forced to deal with the aftermath of a wild party. The play involves mature themes such as sexual assault and alcohol abuse. I have been told it will generate a lot of post-attendance conversation regarding important issues facing college campuses nationwide. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22 through Saturday, Feb. 25; on Sunday, Feb. 26, there will be a matinee performance at 3 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase online or at the SVSU Box Office.
We also will welcome a recital performance by pianist MiJung Trepanier next Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Trepanier is an independent performer, teacher, and lecturer, as well as an accomplished artist who has appeared at venues in countries including Bolivia, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United States.