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REFLECTIONS Legacy of Leadership Former SVSU Student Association presidents confirm research that collegiate leadership lessons last a lifetime.


Dick Thompson Reflections on Leadership


hen you contemplate retirement, it is natural to reflect back on your world of work—and quietly reminisce about all of the people who were part of it. And so, as I had prepared to retire this summer, I took joy in remembering my past years at SVSU. My colleagues who have retired before me would probably agree that there are stages in your career that seem like a blur, and the old saying that “time flies” is an absolute truism. However, what is not a blur in my mind are the students I have had an opportunity to work with, laugh with, as well as teach and learn from—priceless. Many of us know that leaders are shaped over time by a variety of factors. As with our glorious mountains on earth, it is the wind and water that shape them. With people it is much different; it is more varied—we are shaped by role models, living conditions, and most importantly through learned skills. Many of these skills at SVSU are discovered through participation in student life programs. That’s why the subject of this issue’s cover story is near and dear to me. I have had the opportunity to be part of the University student leadership development program while serving as advisor to Student Association. Leadership is not about telling people what to do—it is about conviction in your own decisions and the ability to back them up. It is also about empowering people to be good thinkers while encouraging them to always treat others with dignity and respect. Seldom have I been disappointed by our students’ efforts to embrace the opportunities to lead others to become more involved, caring, thoughtful, and inspiring citizens. Needless to say, I am proud of our students’ accomplishments and the difference that they are making every day in their respective communities. Although I’ve finalized my retirement plan from the University, I will continue to be filled with all the wonderful memories of our students—MEMORIES ARE FOREVER. Richard P. Thompson

Dick Thompson After mentoring students for 38 years at SVSU, Thompson, the former admissions representative, assistant registrar, registrar, director of admissions, dean of students, and most recently university ombudsman retired in August 2008. His role as ombudsman was to assist students to resolve concerns, problems, or conflicts.

REFLECTIONS MAGAZINE Volume 3, Number 2 • Fall 2008

STAFF EDITORS Tim Inman Jan Poppe WRITERS J.J. Boehm Tim Inman Jan Poppe



Faculty, students and staff work to make the campus and community address the growing “green” movement.

ART DIRECTOR Jill Allardyce PHOTOGRAPHER Tim Inman ALUMNI EDITOR Pamela Clifford CONTRIBUTORS Andy Bethune Emmie Busch Pamela Clifford ADVISORY BOARD Jill Allardyce, M.A., ’06 Andrew Bethune, B.B.A., ’87 J.J. Boehm, M.A., ’06 Pamela Clifford, B.B.A., ’92 Tim Inman, B.A., ’89, M.Ed., ’96 Jan Poppe, M.A., ’01 Carlos Ramet, Ph.D.



The face of SVSU and its students changes as the University adds more housing.

REFLECTIONS Magazine is published twice a year. Letters and feedback are welcome! Comments, suggestions and inquiries contact: Alumni Relations at Saginaw Valley State University 7400 Bay Road • University Center, MI 48710 Phone: (989) 964-4196 SVSU Alumni Web Site: SVSU Web Site: SVSU Foundation Web Site:




Former SVSU Student Association presidents share how their organizational experience helped shape their later management and leadership styles.






SVSU Today

Foundation Notes

Alumni Zone

From celebrations, recognitions, campus updates and dedications to mourning the loss of an SVSU icon, much has happened since the last issue of REFLECTIONS.

An update on “The Promise for Tomorrow” campaign includes a new endowment, profiles of University friends and an opportunity to meet the newest endowed chair.

Alumni profiles, class notes, events and a welcome to two familiar faces.


Harlequins’ Unveiling


upporters and patrons of the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum celebrated the centennial of a man of great artistic and humanitarian distinction, Marshall Fredericks, and marked the museum’s 20th anniversary at a reception and dinner, Friday, May 9. Fredericks’ recently-restored Harlequins sculptures unveiled that evening in SVSU’s Groening Commons originally were commissioned by Mrs. Edsel (Eleanor) Ford in the early 1950s for the east and west foyer walls of the Henry and Edsel Ford Auditorium in Detroit. Harlequins and Ballerina, Orchestral Parade and Harlequins, Circus Parade (1956) are made of repoussé and formed metals; copper, nickel, brass, stainless steel, and aluminum, plated with gold, zinc, and cadmium. In storage for the last five years, the sculptural wall reliefs were restored to their original beauty by Venus Bronze Works of Detroit. “We are thrilled that the Harlequins have come to SVSU from Detroit and we also were delighted to celebrate the memory of Marshall Fredericks and the 20th anniversary of the Museum,” said Sue Vititoe, museum board chair. “Whenever a work by Marshall Fredericks is restored, there’s reason to celebrate,” added Marilyn Wheaton, museum director. The Museum is open for public tours Monday through Saturday, from noon to 5 n Museum supporters Bob and Maggie Allesee sponsored the celebration and came to campus from p.m. For more information, call the Museum Bloomfield Hills for the unveiling of the Harlequins, which are on permanent display in Groening Commons. at (989) 964-7082 or 964-7125.

Highlights Museum


Eaton War Memorial Gifted to the Museum


arshall Fredericks’ bronze Eaton War Memorial Eagle, mounted on an 8-by5-foot granite slab, has found a new home on the SVSU campus. Joseph Palchak, vice president and general manager at Eaton Manufacturing Corporation, said the company donated the monument to the MFSM “in an effort to preserve an important part of Eaton’s history, as well as the artistic legacy of Marshall Fredericks.” The piece was commissioned in 1948 by Joseph Eaton, founder of the company, to honor the men from the Saginaw facility who died in World War II. In 1949, WWII memorials were dedicated at seven plants, including one in Saginaw that was razed in 2006.

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n In May, workers installed the monument at SVSU near the museum, and a dedication ceremony is set for Veterans Day, Nov. 11.



Garden Graces Courtyard International


Exchange Program Provides

International Flavor

n Retired vice president for academic affairs Robert Yien and his wife Amy proudly sit in the garden that bears their name.

Study Abroad Offers Insight in


SVSU Today

VSU students and visitors in need of a spiritual utopia to connect with nature, a place where they could be far removed from their real social lives and draw closer to their true selves, can visit the Yien International Garden (see Spring 2008 issue of Reflections, page 7). Dedication of the 14,000-square-foot garden took place June 2, with more than 100 guests — including dignitaries and SVSU alumni who flew to SVSU from Taiwan — to honor Amy and Robert S.P. Yien, who retired after nearly 30 years as vice president for academic affairs.

Health care


n Advancing the exchange program are, from left, Yoko Abe, international visiting scholar; Vanessa Brooks Herd, assistant professor of social work; and Junko Hirata, assistant to the director of international programs at Shikoku University.


ince the early 1980s, SVSU has had a faculty exchange relationship with Shikoku University in Tokushima, Japan. Students and faculty are regularly exchanged, with more than a dozen SVSU and SU faculty who have participated in the exchange, and more than 100 Shikoku students who have studied at SVSU. Recently, social work professor Vanessa Brooks Herd taught at SU, and Yoko Abe was a guest faculty member at SVSU.


group of nursing students embarked on a trip of a lifetime — and studied international healthcare systems — through a study abroad opportunity in May to Cambodia and Vietnam. The students, led by nursing professor Marcia Shannon, gained a new outlook on health care through visits to hospitals, rural clinics and villages. The trip enabled the group to explore the culture and historic sites.



Cardinals Claim GLIAC Trophy


he softball team ended an 18-year drought as they captured their first GLIAC Championship since 1990, defeating Wayne State 3-2 last spring. Junior centerfielder Angela Kaiser homered over the right field fence to give SVSU a 1-0 advantage in the first inning. From there Kari Bowlby held the Wayne State offense in check, as she threw four and two thirds innings, scattering five hits and allowing one run. Saginaw Valley tacked on two more runs in the top of the third when Wayne State pitcher Nicole Abel walked in Jordan Stuart and Kaiser to give the Cards’ the 3-0 lead. In the bottom of the fourth, Wayne State cut the lead to 3-2 with a 2-run shot over the fence in leftcenter. SVSU later saw their season come to an end on day two of the NCAA Great Lakes Regional after dropping a 4-2 decision to West Virginia Wesleyan. The Cardinals finished the season with a record of 34-17, and have lost only one senior.

n Members of the Cardinal softball team celebrate their first GLIAC Championship in 18 years. (Photo by Ralph Echtinaw)

S has a Baugh Women’s basketball team

n Shannon Baugh enters her first season as SVSU women’s basketball coach after working summer camps in Ryder Center this past summer.

hannon Baugh (pronounced “ball”) is the ninth coach in the history of women’s basketball at SVSU, and she will rely on her six years of Division I coaching experience to lead the program. She most recently served three seasons as the top assistant coach at the University at Buffalo. Previous to that, Baugh served as an assistant at Northern Illinois during the 2004-05 season, and she also was an assistant coach at Bradley, North Dakota and Wisconsin-Green Bay. Baugh is a 1994 graduate of Eastern Illinois where she was a two-year letter winner. As a team captain during the 1993-94 season, Baugh led the Panthers in scoring (15.1) and rebounding (6.9). Her 129 free throws made during the 1993-94 season still stand as a school record. Baugh earned NJCAA All-Region honors at Lincoln (Ill.) College in 1990-91 when she averaged 12.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore. Prior to her coaching career, Baugh spent five years (1996-2000) as a sports reporter, producer and photographer at WFRV-TV, the CBS affiliate in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She holds a degree in communications from Eastern Illinois.

Quest for a Three-Peat


he Cardinal keglers entered the national tournament this past spring needing to defeat the Shockers of Wichita State only once in the national semi-finals to advance to a third consecutive national championship match. However, the Shockers prevented the Cardinals from adding their name next to Wichita State’s in the record books as the only schools in college bowling history to turn the three-peat. Still, a great season for the bowling team!

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n Senator Debbie Stabenow greets graduates at the May Commencement ceremonies in Ryder Center, including from left Jennifer Privette, Kevin Parker and Jacob Reinelt.


.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) gave the keynote address to graduates during SVSU Commencement exercises May 10. Earlier that day, the SVSU Board of Control had granted an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Stabenow. Born and raised in Michigan, Stabenow made history in 2000 when she became the first woman from the State of Michigan elected to the United States Senate. She was elected to a second term in 2006. Prior to joining the U.S. Senate, Stabenow served four years in Congress, representing Michigan’s 8th Congressional District. She also was elected to the Michigan Legislature, serving four years as a State Senator and 12 years as a State Representative. Stabenow is a strong advocate for higher education — working to pass recent increases in college financial aid and securing millions in cutting-edge research dollars for Michigan’s colleges and universities. She is a champion for Michigan’s Great Lakes and waterways, and author of the Michigan Lighthouse and Maritime Heritage Act to promote tourism and help preserve some of Michigan’s greatest historical treasures.

Student’s ‘spunky disposition’

SVSU Today

Grads Greeted by Senator Stabenow

results in nursing award


VSU student Tiffany Giattino received the 2008 Lorene R. Fischer Award for Student Nurses. A nursing major from Macomb Township, Giattino’s selection was announced in the Sunday, May 11 edition of the Detroit Free Press, a sponsor of the award, along with Named after a former dean of the College of Nursing at Wayne State University, the Fischer Award recognizes Michigan students who are high academic achievers, active in the community, involved in direct patient care and within one year of graduating. The award includes a $500 cash prize. Giattino has been actively engaged in service at SVSU and in communities from Chicago to the Gulf Coast as she has spent her past three spring breaks volunteering through SVSU’s Alternative Breaks program. Her community service also includes working at a domestic violence hotline and serving on the American Red Cross Board of Directors. In her letter of recommendation, Carly Waligora, SVSU assistant director of student life, wrote that “Tiffany has proven to be a progressive and skilled leader and is constantly encouraging further service, community and leadership among program participants and her fellow nursing classmates. Tiffany is a role model and active citizen armed with a passion for people and service, experience in adverse situations with diverse populations, and topping it off with a spunky disposition.” Giattino spent last summer working in the delivery unit of Beaumont hospital in Royal Oak. She expects to graduate in May 2009.

n Tiffany Giattino’s commitment to community service earned her the Lorene R. Fischer Award for Student Nurses.



SVSU Loses

A Legend By Justin Engel, 2005, B.A. © (2008) The Saginaw News. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.


or 89 years, Father Time couldn’t touch Leslie Whittaker. Saginaw Valley State University’s longest-serving professor had an “insatiable curiosity” and a passion for teaching the arts. “I was his student back in 1967,” said Ruth M. Sawyers, who became Whittaker’s colleague 30 years ago, “and he looked and acted the same as he did back then. He was always on top of what was happening.” Whittaker died the morning of April 3 at St. Mary’s of Michigan hospital from heart disease-related complications. The Portsmouth, England, native joined SVSU’s faculty in 1966, just two years after the institution’s founding. He worked there until his death. The English professor, who would have turned 90 on May 13, was on medical leave to recover from knee surgery, but officials expected him to return in the fall to teach two courses. Colleagues remember him as a “colorful personality” who served as a walking SVSU history book. Whittaker taught at the institution during n W. Leslie Whittaker, 1918-2008 the last semester its classes gathered in the basement of Delta College before it moved to its Kochville Township home. “It really is the end of an era in so many ways,” English professor Basil Clark said. “With his passing, we’ve lost some history.” Whittaker’s life began near the British coast. Elizabeth Graykowski, his wife of 25 years, said he spent his childhood summer days paying a two-cent admission price at a nearby pier, where he loved to listen to bands play. It was among his first foray into the arts, a lifelong passion. Whittaker joined the British Army in 1939, and during World War II spent nearly five years battling the Germans in North Africa as Nazi commander Erwin Rommel chased the European forces across the desert. “In the beginning, it was awful for him,” Graykowski said. “It was a pretty grim thing to be in the desert.” When he completed his military service, Whittaker became involved in theater and taught grammar school in England. He loved teaching and learning, Graykowski said. “He was always borrowing books and losing them,” she said. “Once he got a computer, that saved him from losing so many books. He was very computer-friendly.” He loved the plays of William Shakespeare, a subject he later taught upon his arrival in Saginaw. Sawyers taught a course with Whittaker that he started that assisted struggling students with reading studies. She recalled the time he gave a group of those students a blank Christmas card, asking them to fill it with stories of the successes and failures in their other courses. Later, he read the comments to Sawyers. “He said, ‘Listen to how well he did this semester, listen to how well she did,’” Sawyers said. “He was very positive and totally student oriented.”

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SVSU Racers Place Among World’s Engineering Elite 2008 Cardinal Formula Racing Team • Kyle Ball, a mechanical engineering major from Oscoda • Charlie Bruce, a finance major from Midland • Denny Esterline, an electrical engineering major from Mayville • Heather Fondriest, a mechanical engineering major from Howell • Jason McCorkle, a mechanical engineering major from Columbiaville • Jenni Moore, an accounting major from Grand Blanc • Donald Schlaud, a mechanical engineering major from Hemlock • Andrew Smith, a mechanical engineering major from Sebewaing • Ryan Smith, a mechanical engineering major from St. Charles • Nevin Steinbrink, a mechanical engineering major from Bloomfield Hills • Dave Wade, a mechanical engineering major from Croswell • Kirk Walmsley, an accounting major from Harrison Township • Ashley Wruble, an accounting major from Harbor Beach • Mike Wyciehowski, a mechanical engineering major from Jeddo • Chris Younk, a mechanical engineering major from Sanford Faculty advisors for the team are Brooks Byam, professor of mechanical engineering; Mark McCartney, professor of accounting; and Ken Kousky, The Dow Entrepreneur-in-Residence

SVSU Today


he successful Cardinal Formula Racing Team recorded the fastest acceleration times in the world en route to a 14th place overall finish at the 2008 Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) Collegiate Design Series held May 14-18 at Michigan International Speedway. The event featured 120 colleges and universities from across the globe. Behind drivers Don Schlaud and Andy Smith, the SVSU student-built Indy-style race car twice covered 75 meters in 4.02 seconds. “All four of our runs would have been the fastest time of the day. We have a fast car,” said team leader Mike Wyciehowski. The team recorded top 10 finishes in 2002 (No. 6) and 2005 (No. 8), but this marked the first time that SVSU has finished first in one of the four dynamic events that also include autocross, skid pad and endurance competitions. The team received a $750 cash prize for the honor, and was pleased with its performance, according to Wyciehowski. “A top ten would have been nice, but we were right there with the best in the world,” he said. “That’s where this team belongs and it’s something to be proud of. That’s a pretty strong finish.” “Our students were great; they continue to amaze me,” said 10-year faculty advisor Brooks Byam, professor of mechanical engineering, who added that the difficulty and intensity of competition reached unprecedented levels this year. “This is the hardest undergraduate exercise I’ve ever experienced, and we were competitive against literally the best of the best in the world.” Byam believes the event provides unparalleled preparation for future careers. SVSU alumni from the program are currently working as engineers for NASCAR teams and major auto companies. “We have to produce a product and it has to be globally competitive; that’s the world of industry these days.” He was also quick to credit the interdisciplinary nature of SVSU’s team, which includes more than engineers. “We couldn’t have done it without the College of Business,” Byam said. “That collaboration really makes us unique.” In addition to the racing events, teams are also judged on cost, design and presentation. SVSU again had the highest finish among the nine Michigan universities in the competition that was won by the University of Western Australia.

For more information on the competition, visit:

n Members of the Cardinal Formula Racing Team put the finishing touches on SVSU’s 2008 entry in the FSAE competition. Giving valuable advice to the team is Eric Heuschele, center, who had judged past FSAE competitions and made a visit to SVSU at the invitation of the team’s faculty advisor, Brooks Byam. Heuschele, who is the SRT vehicle dynamics executive engineer at Chrysler Corp., develops the performance power/handling packages for the Dodge Viper and other Chrysler vehicles.


NEWS BRIEFS Honoring Outstanding

university service


Saginaw couple with a long and distinguished record of service to their community and a retired Bay County legislator were honored at SVSU’s annual All-University Awards Banquet, April 18. Chosen to receive the Distinguished Service Award for their service to the university and community were Ruth and Ted Braun and Joel Gougeon. Ted Braun is a partner with the law firm of Braun Kendrick Finkbeiner; he and his wife Ruth are noted advocates for education and have a combined 24 years of service on the SVSU Board of Control. Gougeon served 10 years in the Michigan Senate, representing the 34th District; he continues to advocate on SVSU’s behalf before the legislature. Ruth and Ted Braun have been loyal supporters of SVSU and leading members of the Saginaw community. Ted Braun served an eight-year term on the SVSU Board of Control from 1981 to 1989, and Ruth followed with 16 years of service from 1991 to 2007. The couple established “The Ruth and Ted Braun Awards for Writing Excellence” in 1997. Their endowment annually supports monetary awards for outstanding student writing in nine categories and results in a publication. Gougeon was elected to the Michigan Senate in 1993 in a special election and was re-elected in 1994 and again in 1998 to represent the citizens of the 34th District, covering Arenac, Bay, Huron, Ogemaw and Tuscola counties. He compiled an impressive record of service in state government, serving on the Senate Appropriations Committee and chairing the Subcommittee on Community Health. Before joining the Appropriations Committee, Gougeon chaired the Senate Committee on Families that introduced legislation which resulted in state-level child protection reforms.

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n Ruth Braun

n Madison Bangert runs an electrophoresis test to map out specific sequences of a protein that typically is found in the immune system. Her research may one day support the use of gene therapy to treat cancer of the uterus.

Students Receive Support to Fight Cancer and Guide the Blind

T n Ted Braun

n Joel Gougeon

wo student projects have received funding from SVSU’s Student Research and Creativity Institute. A team of students plans to develop an “electronic braille” system to help the visually impaired navigate their way around campus, and another student will study a specific gene to research whether it is tied to cancer. A team of four electrical engineering students was awarded $5,949 to develop an “E-Braille” system to help the visually impaired. Mohammed Alnemer, Marcus Gabriel, Toulee Hang, and Palak Patel plan to use radio frequency identification tags, such as those used by shipping companies to track packages. The tags and transmitters will convert electronic signals into voice commands that audibly inform users about their location. Unlike GPS, the E-Braille system would work well indoors and at close range (within 15 feet). Biology major Madison Bangert was awarded $6,230 for cancer research. She will examine a specific protein that is part of the human immune system, genotype it, and “find if there is an association between a particular genotype and cancer.” The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 1.4 million people will be diagnosed with the disease in 2008 alone. SVSU has committed $50,000 annually to fund outstanding student projects. For more information, visit

SVSU Today

n Pioneer Hall – part of the “greening” of SVSU.

SVSU’s Green Cardinal Initiative responds to complex challenges of sustainable living in a highly industrialized world By Brian Thomas, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology


f recent trends in food and fuel production are any indication, the world is entering an era of growing concerns about the nexus between human health and the environment. Organic food, which has been the exclusive domain of food co-ops, is the fastest-growing segment of the food industry, with mainstream retailers like Wal-Mart offering a selection of organic foods to consumers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of farmers markets that offer access to locally-grown foods has more than doubled, from only 1,755 in 1994 to 4,385 in 2006. We are also recognizing the

scarcity of resources and the instability of natural systems—two areas that appeared unassailable throughout our industrialized history. This summer, climbing gas prices led to theft of used fryer oil from fast food restaurants across the country as people sought out cheap alternative fuel for their automobiles. In 2007, Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize—not for negotiating military conflicts, but for heightening public awareness of climate change. The idea of being “green” has surged into mainstream discourse, driven by post 9/11 awareness of America’s lack of self-sufficiency, a rash of devastating storms like Katrina, a string of food safety problems ranging from salmonella in tomatoes to E. coli in beef, and, most recently, rising food and fuel prices. In an attempt to tackle some of these issues in ways that are real, manageable and local, SVSU is responding through the Green Cardinal Initiative. GCI involves multiple disciplines and includes students, faculty and staff who are reacting positively to the increasingly complex challenges of sustainable living in a highly industrialized world. The shift in social norms toward making our lifestyles more sustainable holds tremendous potential to shape Michigan’s economy


n SVSU Greenhouses, located on Michigan Road, east of campus, and the “green” grown results.

and culture in the near future. In her 2008 State of the State address, Governor Jennifer Granholm said, “Anytime you pick up a newspaper from here on out and see the terms ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming,’ just think: ‘jobs for Michigan.’” Governor Granholm’s optimism is not unwarranted. A 2006 study by the Michigan Land Use Institute and the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems found that increased spending on fresh, local food in Michigan could generate up to 1,889 new jobs across the state and $187 million in new personal income. A 2006 report by the Michigan State University Strategic Marketing Institute found that Michigan’s agri-food and agrienergy system employs nearly a quarter of Michigan’s workforce. It had a total economic impact of approximately $63.7 billion in 2006—a 6 percent increase over the $60.1 billion impact in 2004. In 2007, a group of students, faculty, and staff met to discuss the role of Saginaw Valley State University in this growing green movement. As a university with close ties to surrounding communities, what could we do to prepare students for a place in a world where sustainability is as pervasive an issue as globalization was in the 1990s? Already SVSU has taken some important steps by including

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recycling and sustainable use into its strategic plan. Faculty in departments ranging from chemistry and engineering to English and sociology have brought discussions about environmental issues into the classroom; staff from the Center for Business & Economic Development, Campus Facilities, and Dining Services have created programs and projects related to institutional sustainability. Through the support of the Allen Foundation in Midland, two greenhouses were constructed adjacent to campus where sustainable food and fuel production systems are being modeled. Amidst these varied activities, we realized that a common space was necessary for students, faculty, and staff to share ideas and develop programs that would not only further define SVSU’s role in greening society, but also help shape the emergent green ideals of the region. That space—the heart of GCI—is our Web site: GCI was devised as an all-inclusive organization with the mission “to promote a healthy campus and local community by developing environmentally sustainable, socially just, and economically viable food and fuel systems.” The Web site is where students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members can sign up to be a “Green Cardinal”

that provide nutritious food to their communities. We are working closely with Aramark, SVSU’s food service provider, to increase the sustainability of food preparation on campus; we also have partnered with the Saginaw Veterans Administration Medical Center to evaluate the ability of our worms to compost finely-shredded paper, which is difficult to recycle conventionally. Such community and institutional connections are vital, as they help SVSU students go beyond the simple facts about environmental issues and translate knowledge into action by developing and managing concrete solutions to specific environmental problems in their community. Recent cultural changes present SVSU with the opportunity to build upon its current green activities and close community ties. While other large state universities focus on basic research and conventional food and fuel systems, SVSU can emphasize a local approach to integrating learning, service, and application by embedding student

SVSU Today

and to join in the conversation. The green community at SVSU has already begun to act upon those conversations. With funding from the Allen Foundation, SVSU’s WIRED grant (from the Department of Labor), and the SVSU Foundation, we have already initiated a project to take organic waste from SVSU’s Dining Services and convert it into organic fertilizer for use in hydroponic food production—which is the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients but without soil. Using vermiculture (composting with earthworms), we recycled a ton of organic matter from the University’s dining facilities, including Starbucks, in winter 2008 and converted it into solid and liquid “worm tea” fertilizers. These fertilizers in turn were used to grow plants in the greenhouses. In an economy of rising

n Faculty, staff and students gather in the SVSU Greenhouse to observe the vermiculture process as pre-consumer waste is mixed into the dirt. synthetic fertilizer prices, natural fertilizers, such as the worm tea, have real economic potential. Worm tea sells for as much as $40 a gallon in some areas, and we will be working with students and staff to market SVSU’s home-grown worm tea later this year. In the near future, we will also install two institutional-scale climate controlled vermiculture systems that will help us increase the amount of organic waste we can recycle. During the fall 2008 semester, students have been participating in a “Can-o-Worms-Challenge” to learn how to be “worm farmers” and reduce the impact of local human activities on the local environment. GCI is already working with a variety of community groups such as the HoughtonJones Resource Center and Mustard Seed Shelter in Saginaw and the Youth Karate-Ka Harvesting Earth Farm in Flint to help these groups develop sustainable food systems

n A sampling of the poster that encouraged students to learn more by participating in a “worm contest” in fall, 2008.

n Laila Shrestha, a chemistry major from Saginaw, and Jason Haubenstricker, a mechanical engineering major from Birch Run, gain valuable experience as student workers in SVSU’s greenhouse. activities in Michigan communities. While the future of Michigan looks green, the implications of greening the economy and culture of communities in this region has yet to be defined. It is important that we prepare our students so that they can be active participants in shaping our green future. Teaching students how to farm worms helps reduce waste at SVSU and creates natural fertilizers—two green outcomes. More importantly, however, it brings them into the conversation about real solutions to problems faced by communities throughout mid-Michigan. Contributing to this feature was Dulcey Simpkins, former Director of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization, Center for Business & Economic Development.


Unprecedented As the Jim Collins era begins,

Cardinal alumni make an impact in the NFL.

n Head Coach Jim Collins makes his first appearance on the sidelines in Wickes Memorial Stadium during the annual Red vs. White game held in the spring.


s the 2008 football season kicks off, SVSU fans will follow the Cardinals on Saturdays as usual. But Sundays have taken on added meaning in recent years with five former Cardinals gracing active NFL rosters last season — virtually unprecedented for an NCAA Division II program — and they’re attracting considerable attention. Wide receivers Ruvell Martin, 2006, B.B.A., (Green Bay Packers) and Glenn Martinez (Denver Broncos) scored touchdowns

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during nationally-televised games, and Bills linebacker John DiGiorgio, 2008, B.A., became a cult hero in Buffalo. His interception of a pass from Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo evoked an “It’s not delivery, it’s DiGiorgio” exclamation from television commentator Tony Kornheiser, adapting a familiar pizza tag line. “It was a hit in Buffalo,” DiGiorgio said. “The next week, we had a home game and someone made this huge sign that stretched across a row of the stadium. I thought that was the coolest thing.”

Offensive linemen are often anonymous, but Todd Herremans started 15 games for the Philadelphia Eagles and defensive end Paul Spicer recorded 7.5 sacks in 12 starts for the Jacksonville Jaguars. His 25 career sacks place him fourth on the Jags’ all-time list. For one week in November, Martin was the talk of Wisconsin. After scoring a touchdown, he jumped into the stands — as is Packer tradition — and a fan was caught in a photo appearing to grab Martin inappropriately at the top of his inseam. “I didn’t even know it

n CBS Sportsline commended John DiGiorgio for completing his teaching degree.

happened, because really he just grabbed my pant leg,” Martin said. “I really felt bad for that guy because there’s the one picture that really looks like he’s got a hold of me in a bad way, but it wasn’t like that at all.” Martinez secured his place in NFL history by becoming the only player with his surname to play in the league, and he was active in outreach programs to Denver’s Hispanic community. “It’s important to me,” he said. “There are not a lot of Hispanics playing football right now. To have the opportunity to be one of the spokesmen for the Latin community is an awesome feeling.”

Herremans enjoys the camaraderie of his teammates, though veteran players were initially slow to embrace an unknown rookie from an unfamiliar school. Now he understands why. “Veterans see so many faces come and go in and out of the locker room, so they don’t try to make too many friendships right away,” he said. “It’s kind of weird that now that I’m four years in, I find myself in that same position.” Martin vividly recalls his indoctrination by future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre. “He has that country twang and talks real fast. Getting in the huddle with Brett the first time, I was kind of nervous. I wasn’t all that familiar with the playbook at that time, and so we break the huddle and he throws me the

ball. I swear he was trying to test me to see if I could really do it, and that kind of gets your nerves rattled a little bit. Then, as time went on, he became just my quarterback.”

Returning to the Nest

Four of the five current NFL players came back to the SVSU campus this spring. Herremans, Martin and Martinez served as honorary coaches for the spring football game April 26. Two weeks later, DiGiorgio returned to participate in Commencement exercises, resulting in national attention after being highlighted by a senior writer for CBS Sports as an example of what’s “right” with the NFL.

Life in the League

Though only one was drafted (Herremans) and only two have multi-year contracts (Herremans and Spicer), when training camps opened last summer, the jobs of four former Cardinals seemed relatively secure — at least by NFL standards. Martinez, on the other hand, knew he had his work cut out for him to retain his spot in Denver as a receiver and returner. “It’s never guaranteed in football,” he said. “You have to work for your job every year. When you get into camp and start competing with the guys — that’s a fun part of the game. I really like that part.” DiGiorgio “likes to win,” even if that means less playing time. He has worked closely with fellow middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, knowing only one of them can start. “He’s one of my best buddies,” DiGiorgio said. “I push him and he pushes me. I think that makes us both better and makes our team better.”

n Eleven-year NFL veteran Eugene Marve now is a successful businessman. Eugene is with University President Eric Gilbertson.


Cardinals in the NFL John DiGiorgio

Linebacker, Buffalo Bills, 2006-present Proudest NFL Moment: Just making the team. It was my dream as a little kid to be a professional athlete, and that dream came true. Favorite SVSU Memory: Winning the GLIAC championship in 2003 when we beat Wayne State at home in front of our crowd.

Todd Herremans

Left guard, Philadelphia Eagles, 2005-present Proudest NFL Moment: My first start — a home game when I ran out in front of 70,000 people at Lincoln Financial Field. Favorite SVSU Memory: When we beat Grand Valley my senior year at home.

n Glenn Martinez makes his point with assistant coach Tesfa Smith.

“After the season was over I split my student teaching experience up into two segments,” DiGiorgio said. “I did eight weeks in high school after my rookie year and eight weeks in elementary after my second season, so it worked out perfect.” During DiGiorgio’s five years on campus, he remarked how SVSU “grew tremendously.” Martin was left with a similar impression. “It just keeps on growing,” he said. “I was talking with one of my old teammates and it almost makes you a little jealous. I can’t even imagine the people who were here before me and didn’t have even half the stuff I had.” One of those people was Eugene Marve, 1995, B.A., who blazed the trail from SVSU to the NFL and spent 11 seasons as a linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills. “Saginaw Valley was a great place for me to go to school,” he said. “There are bigger programs out there that have lots of money and have more talent, but for me this was a great university where I was able to grow; not only physically and athletically, but academically and spiritually.” Marve says the persistence and determination he learned on the gridiron has served him well in his business career, having been a landlord for 25 years. Martin believes he too is well prepared for life after football, as will be those who follow in his footsteps. “I just think Saginaw Valley has the right people in place so that you can be successful when you’re done here. I think they’re dedicated to making this place very student-friendly,” he said. That allows for personal growth. Sometimes to NFL-sized proportions.

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Marlion Jackson

Running back, Atlanta Falcons, 2006; New York Jets, 2000

Lamar King

Defensive end, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004; Seattle Seahawks, 1999-2003

Ruvell Martin

Wide receiver, Green Bay Packers; 2006-present Proudest NFL Moment: The time I made my first team in 2006. Favorite SVSU Memory: I was a sophomore and we played the playoff game against IUP (Indiana University, Pa.) here and we were down 25 at halftime. We came back and scored 26 points and they didn’t score any.

Glenn Martinez

Wide receiver, Denver Broncos, 2007; Detroit Lions, 2005-06 Proudest NFL Moment: (Scoring a touchdown) last year against the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football. Favorite SVSU Memory: Beating Grand Valley. By far.

Eugene Marve

Linebacker, Buffalo Bills, 1982-87; Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1988-91; San Diego Chargers, 1992 Proudest NFL Moment: (Beating) Buffalo after having just been traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Favorite SVSU Memory: Winning the first conference championship in 1979, and playing for Muddy Waters.

Paul Spicer

Defensive end, Jacksonville Jaguars, 2000-present; Detroit Lions, 1999


R ISE in

eople identify themselves by where they live,” Merry Jo Brandimore said — and she should know. She’s been the face and voice of residential life for 25 years and has heard students mention their hometowns and their home dorms with pride. Over the past decade, the number living on campus has increased almost fourfold, and both residents and the traditional commuter base reap the benefits of expanded academic, extracurricular and social opportunities, and the diversity that accompanies the University’s extended reach. Nearly 2,500 students – out of more than 9,800 – are living on campus this fall, including more than 70 percent of the record freshman class. With the addition of new apartments, the Pine Grove community has recently grown by more than 200 and Living Center Southwest will open in August 2009 to make room for another 200 or more. But numbers don’t tell the story of the social activities, planned and impromptu, the expanded academic offerings, the increased

SVSU Today


n University Village West

RESIDENTIAL community service and the palpable energy that accompanies so many young adults sharing a common address, nor the lasting impact such experiences have upon young people well into adulthood.

Huge Changing Point

A new dimension was added to campus in 1999 with the opening of Living Center North; its spacious accommodations and modern amenities (such as Internet access, a novelty at the time) made quite an impression. Josh Smokovitz, a theatre major, was one of the building’s original resident assistants (R.A.s). “It was pretty awe-inspiring to walk inside,” said the Midland native, who now is about to begin his first year teaching drama at Oxford (Mich.) High School. “We looked at it as the mother ship of all living facilities.” Alumni of that era recall that before it was built, most residential students in their

second or third year left campus to find apartments. Smokovitz said many of his former roommates came back after the Living Center opened. “It was a huge changing point in living on campus at Saginaw Valley,” said Kristi MacKenzie, 2000, B.A., another of the building’s first R.A.s. “It showed this is a school that is going to meet the needs of its students.” MacKenzie says that with conviction – and with a basis for comparison, having worked in university housing in Mississippi and Illinois. She currently is an academic advisor and the honors program coordinator for the psychology department at the University of Michigan. The Living Center made an impression on new students too, according to Jeff Bacholzky, 2004, B.A., a freshman at the time. “The campus seemed a lot bigger than when I had taken my high school tour,” he recalled. “It was pretty exciting. We knew we were going to have choices for our second year.” Bacholzky stayed and became involved in the hall council for Living Center North, as


Drawing students near and far

n Living Center

2007: 2,202 2006: 2,040 2005: 1,869

one decade


* growth in resident students

dramatic decade



well as University Residence Association and Student Association, but the biggest influence on his life occurred during his third year, when he moved into a room down the hall from a girl named Heidi (Grubaugh, 2003, B.S.N.). Now married, the couple have a one-year-old son, Matthew. Heidi is a traveling nurse and Jeff is a math teacher at Memphis (Mich.) High School. He encourages his students to consider attending SVSU because, despite the growth, it “still has that small feel to it.”

2004: 1,699 2003: 1,569 2002: 1,439

2001: 1,457 2000: 1,176 1999: 930 1998: 645

That intimate environment appealed to Katrina Crosson. Home-schooled for nearly all of her education, she “never had school spirit” and thought she never would, but now the sophomore mechanical engineering major from Midland has a major case of Red Pride. “You really feel part of a community when you live on campus,” she said. The housing additions have seen a surge of students from outside the immediate region and especially from the I-75 corridor, as the top four counties for residential students are Genesee (which includes Flint), Wayne, Oakland and Macomb (metro Detroit). But next on the list is Saginaw County, evidence that rooms increasingly are also being filled with students like Crosson who live close enough to commute but desire a more complete college experience. “I wanted independence and heard a lot of great things about the quality of the dorms,” she said. Crosson is working to maintain that quality through her service on the Residence Hall Association and with the Living Leadership Program (LLP). She is living in an LLP alumni house this fall as affinity housing is introduced to campus. Two other new housing units also are organized around a theme. One features a “global village” where 12 domestic and 12 international students — who didn’t know each other — are now living together. The other is reserved for fraternity and sorority members. The goal of affinity (themed) housing is to improve retention rates. As part of her living agreement, Crosson will be a mentor for incoming LLP members. “I want them to have as an amazing experience as I had.” That desire has been cultivated by people like Brandimore and instilled by alumni who she says have been an essential building block. “I hope they feel as though they had a part in making this the dynamic institution it has become,” Brandimore said. And identify themselves as former residents — but permanent members — of Cardinal Country.

n University Village (single efficiency)

n Living Center North

n First Year Suites

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Merry Jo

moving on, not out

n Merry Jo Brandimore and Michele Gunkelman.

SVSU Today


f you lived on campus at SVSU during the last 25 years, you likely know Merry Jo Brandimore. And not just by reputation, but personally. She has been omnipresent at student events and activities during her career in Residential Life, making a lasting impression. Jeff Bacholzky remarked that at larger schools top administrators “never come out of their office,” but Brandimore was someone familiar to him and his friends. Josh Smokovitz talks to his high school students departing for college and gives them “that piece of advice that Merry Jo gave me: ‘just show up’” to meetings of clubs and organizations that might interest them. After all, it worked for him. In July, Merry Jo was promoted to Dean of Student Affairs, where one of her first tasks was to chair a committee to select a new director of residential life (see below). MJ has had a guiding hand and a welcoming smile as the residential community has grown from a few dorms to the size of a small town, yet maintains the emphasis on the individual. She recalls the early days when she would do room assignments on her living room floor. Today she’d need a much larger living room, but room assignments are still done manually to give consideration to the residential environment of each entering student. Changes aplenty have occurred over the years, many of them student-initiated because at SVSU “it doesn’t take an act of Congress to implement a good idea,” Brandimore said. She expects that kind of adaptability to continue, thanks in large measure to the five professional resident directors and 36 student resident assistants who constantly interact with students and act as their advocates and advisers. “That’s where the real work happens,” she said. Brandimore acknowledges it was difficult to walk away from the post she has held for a quarter century, but feels ready to hand over the reigns to the next generation and “watch the excitement continue.”

Back to the flock

Michele Gunkelman, 1993, B.A., is returning to a campus that bears little resemblance to the one she left 15 years ago, but the new director of residential life has matured, too, having worked at four institutions of higher education over that span. Most recently she had been assistant dean for campus life at St. Joseph’s College (Ind.). She began her new duties in August — just prior to the arrival of more than 1,100 residential freshmen!


n Former SVSU Student Association presidents gather at the Spirit Rock: (from left to right) Dan Strasz, Jim Gaertner, Heather Matula, Shawnette Markey, Nic Taylor, and Dick Thompson, emeritus ombudsman.


re leaders born, as some argue, or are they made? There are those who espouse that leaders are those with the highest IQ. Others make the case that leadership is more about “emotional quotient” than it is intelligence. And of course, in this year of a U.S. presidential election, there is more discussion than ever about leadership capabilities—relative to age and experience, race and gender.

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Much has been researched and written on the subject. Debates about leadership are varied, and oftentimes heated. Are leaders “rigged” differently from others? Or is leadership more about opportunity than it is innateness? Regardless of being born “that way,” or trained in an environment to develop leadership skills, most agree on one thing—there are leaders with distinctive traits and characteristics, and there are followers.

undergraduate years.” Student-to-student interactions (and their frequency) correlated with improvement in problem-solving skills, grade point average, public speaking skills, and leadership ability. Other research confirms Astin’s findings. A 1999 UCLA Higher Education Research Institute study of 875 students at 10 institutions indicated that student leadership participants “showed growth in civic responsibility, leadership skills, multicultural awareness, understanding of leadership theories, and personal and societal values.” Further, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded a number of projects between 1990 and 1998 that focused on leadership development in college students. The bottom line? Leadership skills can be taught and leadership development does increase students’ confidence in their abilities, as well as their willingness to serve in future leadership roles. Key findings in these studies indicate that the college environment is strategic for learning leadership skills and theories. Throughout many of these research projects, there are recurring outcomes that student leaders cite—improved decision-making abilities, a heightened sense of personal ethics and civic responsibility, a willingness to take risks, improved communication skills, and enhanced self-esteem. Repeatedly, student leaders cite “team,” “helping people,” “service,” and “action” as critical skills they have learned and, overwhelmingly, these student leaders describe their leadership role as a fulfilling and positive experience. So what about SVSU student leaders? Did their Student Association presidency role help prepare them for their career? Did their time as Student Association presidents teach them valuable lessons and help shape their adult leadership style? And finally, would they do it again? “Yes ... Yes ... and Yes,” were the responses from past Student Association presidents.

SVSU Today

When the editorial board for Reflections magazine met to determine a cover story for this issue, the topic of leadership came up, but with a slightly different bent—not a look at leadership in general, but leadership outcomes for students who have been involved in leadership programs and activities in college. The next question the board wanted to ask was what SVSU alumni, who had been in leadership roles, thought about their experiences, and whether or not they thought their experiences had influenced and shaped them in their career choices, adult leadership style and even personal characteristics. To provide a more uniform platform of questions and make comparisons of similar experiences, the editorial board decided to hone in on past SVSU Student Association presidents. Thirtyfour people were contacted and asked to participate in a questionnaire. Ten responded affirmatively and, because of scheduling and availability, eight ultimately were able to connect either by answering the questionnaire by e-mail or agreeing to n First graduation class at SVSU, 1966. a phone interview. Research on the impact of leadership development on students is extensive. One of the most thorough and wellrespected of all is Alexander Astin’s 1993 research titled What Matters in College: Four Critical Years Revisited. Much of what makes Astin’s work so noteworthy is its comprehensive nature; almost 25,000 students at 309 different institutions participated in the research designed to determine how undergraduate students are influenced by their college experience. Astin looked at “inputs” (programs, faculty, the educational experience, and the like), “environment” (student involvement, peer groups, curriculum, place of residence, etc.) and “outcomes” (cognitive, psychological and behavioral). Among the many findings, the research demonstrated that peer groups are “the single most potent source of influence on growth and development during


n Jim Barcia To read the questionnaires or to have listened to the phone conversations with the former Student Association presidents is to see and hear extremely vivid, fond and proud memories of a life-altering experience. For some, it has been almost 40 years since they were at the helm of a fledgling student government, but the importance and the power of the experience remains. Take Richard (Dick) O’Connor, SVSU’s second n Jim Gaertner student government president (1969) and a partner at O’Connor, DeGrazia, Tamm & O’Connor. The successful Bloomfield Hills attorney is proud of his leadership role in the early years of the university. He worked closely with then-university president Sam Marble on creating a student government. For Dick, the excitement was the fact that it was an “opportunity to be involved in decision making. Even if you weren’t doing it well, you were at least doing it.” n Jim Barcia Consistent among the student government presidents of the early years is the feeling that the university was a blank canvas and theirs to paint. Jim Gaertner, a teacher at Nouvel Catholic Central High School in Saginaw and former member of the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners, and Jim Barcia, Michigan Senator and

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n Jim Gaertner (facing front) with Jim Barcia (in foreground facing Gaertner) at SVSU. former U.S. Congressman, served multiple terms as presidents of SVSU’s student government in the early- and mid-1970s. Gaertner claims that his time as student government president “helped me learn the art and value of negotiating and how to work in a political environment … and helped me develop a collaborative leadership style where people work with me, not for me.” Chief among his accomplishments was moving from a community form of governance to a student government. Gaertner helped create the initial student government bylaws

to respect them” were valuable lessons imparted by Dick that and began a student judiciary, a student hearing committee on have helped shape Dan’s own leadership style. Dan adds his student grievances. time as president was “a great learning experience. I developed Barcia points out the parallels between the national scene organizational skills, problem-solving skills, and a better and the SVSU campus during his time as a student and tenure understanding of the importance of good communication.” as student government president—socially active and vocal Founders Hall, Living Center North, Curtiss Hall and the doers determined the national experience and a burgeoning Performing Arts Center opened in the 1990s, and more than college was filled with idealistic and hard-working kids who 300 international students called SVSU home. History major wanted a degree, and wanted to make a difference in the world. Doug Becker (S.A. president, 1995) proudly points to the Jim cites several issues and projects as noteworthy mentions successful ratification of the SVSU Student of his time as president—the student Association—which replaced the student government’s support of the Black Student government constitution—as his most Association, an on-campus rally in support significant achievement. Today Doug is a of the United Farm Workers (attended by human resources manager for Whirlpool Caesar Chavez), a start-up radio station, Corporation, and has responsibility for and a successful effort to get the Student that if you human capital management and strategy Association active membership into the want to be for Whirlpool’s consumer care organization. Michigan Higher Education Student Doug says there were a lot of firsts for him Association. Fast-forward 35 years, a that have professionally served him well. and Jim now serves as vice chair of the Of his time at SVSU, Doug remembers it state’s subcommittee on higher education. was “the first time I had ever supervised Thinking back, Jim notes, “It was a time of , people; it was the first time I had to manage great promise. I could not have pursued my a budget; it was the first time I hired and fired career without my student life at SVSU.” you to employees. The position taught me business As the university began to grow and be in it for skills, employee relation skills and the ability change, so too did the role of student to communicate with a variety of different government and its leaders. Rich Franz, people.” And from dean Thompson, Doug recently retired vice president of technology “learned to think through a question and and planning for QLogic Corporation (Aliso .” think through an answer before giving Viejo, Calif.), led the student government — Dan Strasz a response.” in 1977. Rich recalls expanded student Shawnette Markey is one of seven services and an ever-improved working women who have served as student association president relationship with the administration as the primary focus of (1997). The full-time mom and substitute teacher says her attention during his presidency. Rich adds that the lessons he experience “helped move my political career forward after I learned were many: “hard work and a clear focus on specific graduated. I had a few different internships at the state and goals are keys to success. Secondly, teamwork is critical, and federal level, and a job running the District 5 Democratic Party thirdly, a poor plan executed well is far superior to a great plan campaigns.” The role, adds Markey, “taught me that there are executed poorly.” different leadership skills needed for different situations and that In the mid-1980s, the physical expansion of the university I was not only a leader, but had to be an occasional follower and exploded with ground breakings—the Marshall M. Fredericks let someone else take the lead on things.” Sculpture Museum, Ryder Center and O’Neill Arena, to name As SVSU has continued to mature and evolve, so too has a few. Dan Strasz, 1985’s student government president, the Student Association. Nic Taylor, president in 2000, observes describes his experience as “pretty daunting at times,” and that his presidency was primarily about building a campus a great platform to learn “a great deal about how you work community. “We were growing our residential population and with people.” Noting the particular influence of then-dean wanted to establish traditions,” says Nic, noting specifically Dick Thompson (read Dick’s impressions, Page 2), Dan (who traditions like the “Spirit Rock” and a myriad of volunteer currently serves as SVSU’s director of academic advising) fundraising projects. Taylor, associate director of admissions says “all those things we learn about how we should treat at SVSU, adds that his biggest challenge was trying to create others—don’t jump to conclusions about people, don’t judge a balance between a pro-residential and a pro-commuter people, even though you don’t agree with people you still need

I came to

truly effective


SVSU Today



those you serve


n The Fountain

As the


Campus began to

grow and


so too did the role

student government and of



n Theatre

n First Year Suites

n Cardinal Gym

n Doan Center

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n Nic Taylor, (then) on homecoming court 2001.

n Nic Taylor, (now) helping students in the admissions office at SVSU. campus. Overall, he feels he succeeded; he adds that another accomplishment was his team’s ability to end the year under budget. This, coupled with the fact that he led Student Association at a young age (20), makes Taylor particularly proud. To the person, everyone interviewed for this story agreed that if given the opportunity again, they would still pursue a leadership role in Student Association. And all expressed, in one way or another, a similar sentiment to that of Dan Strasz who said: “This experience reinforced the idea that if you really believe in something or in doing the right thing, you stand your ground, no matter what you encounter. I came to understand that if you want to be a truly effective leader, you have to be in it for those you serve; if you are in it for yourself, you will fail.” n Dan Strasz

1968 – Preston Odette 1969 – Richard O’Conner 1970 – Michael Meehleder 1971 – James L. Gaertner 1972 – James L. Gaertner 1973 – James Barcia 1974 – James Barcia 1975 – Mark S. Bredholt 1976 – Linda R. Ruonavaara 1977 - Rick A. Franz 1978 – Michael Finney 1979 – Joseph Z. Slater 1980 – Michael B. Kilpatrick 1981 – Jerry R. Hamling 1982 – Fred T. Harring 1983 – Constance P. Pope 1984 – Dallas W. Mossman 1985 – Dan Strasz 1986 – Andrew Merchak 1987 – Lisa A. Tucker-Yaple 1988 – Roger Powell 1989 – Roger Powell 1990 – Garvin Carrington Matthews 1991 – Garvin Carrington Matthews 1992 – Scott D. Fales 1993 – Joel D. Olvera 1994 – Joel D. Olvera 1995 – Doug A. Becker 1996 – Laura K. Bernard 1997 – Shawnette M. Markey 1998 – Stephon D. Galloway 1999 – Heather Matula 2000– Nic J. Taylor 2001 – Shaun M. Johnson 2002 – Matthew R. Johnson 2003 – Armen Hratchian 2004 – Armen Hratchian 2005 – Emily Hammerbacher 2006 – Andy Suszek 2007 – Jeremiah Stanghini 2008 – Angela Seeley

SVSU Today






Tom & Ginger Marx

rom the distant past (she grew up on the surrounding farmland that became much of the university) to the present (they have two granddaughters who are proud Cardinals), Tom and Ginger Marx have a deep and personal history with SVSU. And in between, they have been generous supporters of the university, through their gifts of time, talent and “treasure.” Ginger’s connection to SVSU began indirectly, as her extended family farmed almost 280 acres around the present campus. Tom, a Wisconsin native, didn’t connect to the university until much later, when the successful couple and owners of Champagne & Marx Excavating began a personal and professional relationship with the university. The Marx’s belief in stewardship began long before the success of their company. Both point to faith and family as their teachers. Ginger notes that as farmers, even in tough times, there was always food, and food was a gift that could readily be shared. Tom says you couldn’t be much poorer than his family, yet his mother still reminded the kids that “it’s better to give than receive.” Both Tom and Ginger have worked hard to instill the importance of giving back in their four kids and 10 grandkids (and two greatgrandkids). The family business (three of their four children now work for Champagne & Marx) is involved in many giving projects, including The Saginaw News’ Christmas “Wish Book” project, Habitat for Humanity, Paws with a Cause, Camp Fishtales, MS Walk-a-thon, Bay Catholic Education Foundation, and, of

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course, SVSU. Tom and Ginger have been involved with SVSU’s Annual Fund since 1992 and in 2006 created The Marx Family Endowed Engineering Scholarship. Tom also served on the SVSU Foundation Board for eight years and their company generously donated the construction of the intramural fields on the west side of campus – this summer. Since both Tom and Ginger hail from humble beginnings and do much of their philanthropic work with the poor and the needy, they see the logical connection of addressing poverty through education. Tom says, “The most important thing we can do is educate our children; what better place to start than with the university.” Additionally, the Marxs see the university as a source for new and energetic employees, as well as a place that greatly adds to the region’s quality of life. Of the scholarship they created, the Marxs like to point out that it is intended for “average” students. “The really exceptional kids don’t have a problem getting scholarships; we wanted to help the kind of kids who might not otherwise get to go to college.” Tom and Ginger feel strongly that philanthropy is not about giving when it is convenient or easy. “We were always taught to give until it hurts; so it really doesn’t matter how big your bank account is, it’s about giving — something.” Ginger adds, “and if you want to talk about leaving something behind that makes a difference — forever — there is no greater opportunity than a gift to the university.”






arty Stark has a great passion for helping others, and a powerful belief in human potential. He helped start the Opportunities Industrialization Center in Saginaw to provide unemployed people the chance to learn new skills for new jobs, and devoted more than 25 years of service to the organization. Marty held leadership roles with the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce, Saginaw Manufacturers Association, the Bishop’s Community Affairs Committee, the United Way, the Private Industry Council, the Saginaw Community Foundation, and numerous other service and professional organizations at the local, state, and national levels. In addition to his devotion to serving others, Marty is also a creative and successful inventor and entrepreneur who holds numerous U.S. and foreign patents. A Saginaw native and graduate of Arthur Hill High School, Marty founded Arrow Paper Products in 1948 and served as its president until 2000. A defining experience in Marty’s life was meeting Al Watrous, a famous golf pro who became his mentor and good friend. Marty credits Al with sparking his interest in and lifelong love of the game. Al, an excellent golf teacher and the professional at the Oakland Hills Country Club for 37 years, won numerous golf

championships throughout his illustrious career. He passed away in 1983, at the age of 84. It was Marty’s friendship with Al Watrous and his love of golf that led him to establish The Al Watrous, Watrous Family, Marty Stark Endowed Scholarship Fund at SVSU. Marty continues to contribute generously every year to providing golf scholarships and has remembered the University and SVSU’s golf team in his will. He has also established a scholarship for biology students in honor of his nephew, Benjamin Stark, who is a professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology. When asked about his gifts to the University, Marty said, “SVSU is an outstanding institution which contributes to the well-being of the community and merits our support.” Marty also established the Robert E. Stark and Martin H. Stark Donor Advised Fund through the Saginaw Community Foundation. In a single year, the fund distributed $30,000 to nine different organizations, including SVSU. He has been honored with the Frank N. Andersen Spirit of Philanthropy Award and the Samuel H. Shaheen Vision of Free Enterprise Award.





SVSU ENDOWED CHAIRS • Andersen/Lange Clinical Professor in Nursing – Jane Barnsteiner, Ph.D. • Carl A. Gerstacker Endowed Chair in Education – James Leming, Ph.D. • Charles J. Strosacker Endowed Chair in Engineering – Christopher Schilling, Ph.D. • Clifford Spicer Endowed Chair in Engineering – Alan D. Freed, Ph.D. • Dow Chemical Company Centennial Chair in Global Business – George Puia, Ph.D. • Malcolm and Lois Field Endowed Chair in Health Sciences – Gary Dunbar, Ph.D. • Harvey Randall Wickes Endowed Chair in International Studies – Said Elfakhani, Ph.D. • Herbert H. Dow Endowed Chair in Chemistry – David Swenson, Ph.D. • James V. Finkbeiner Endowed Chair in Ethics – Francis Dane, Ph.D.


he newest endowed chair at SVSU is Said Elfakhani, Ph.D, serving as the College of Business & Management’s Harvey Randall Wickes Chair in International Business. Endowed chairs are top scholars who engage students and faculty in research, teach classes and interact with the region in their areas of expertise. Elfakhani is a bilingual, multicultural professor of finance. His current research interests include emerging markets performance, market anomalies and disturbances, and portfolio performance. At SVSU since the winter 2008 semester, Elfakhani has taught international finance and consumer finance, and entered the 2008-09 school year teaching financial management at the undergraduate level and global business in the M.B.A. program. Elfakhani feels strongly that some form of business education

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is a must for all students, regardless of major. “Even if students eventually are not self-employed, they need to think like an entrepreneur,” said Elfakhani. “They need to be creative, take risks and create initiatives.” Elfakani is also excited about bringing his international background into the classroom. “I have a rich experience working in different parts of the world; many of our students are not so worldly; it will be exciting to engage with them to share about the world.” Elfakhani has published 26 papers in major international refereed journals, as well as written for several business magazines and presented more than 30 papers at academic conferences around the world. He is also listed in the International Directory of Business and Management Scholars and Research (Harvard Business School Press) as well as several other notable publications.


Club O

n Eldon Graham and Robert S.P. Yien WHAT IS PLANNED GIVING? Generally, planned gifts are charitable gifts that require some level of estate planning because they can provide income to the donor along with tax benefits. The benefits of this type of giving are attractive to the donor and the University because the donor can enjoy the benefits of their assets for their entire lifetime, while knowing that their legacy lives beyond with their charitable interests that help sustain SVSU’s future.

Examples of planned gifts: Bequests (Will or Living Trust) Life Insurance Policies Retirement Assets Charitable Gift Annuities Pooled Income Funds Charitable Remainder Trusts and Charitable Lead Trusts To learn more about planned giving, please contact the SVSU Foundation at (989) 964-4052.

ne might think that after 62 years of combined service to SVSU that Eldon Graham (former director of the Engineering Technology Management Program) and Bob Yien (former vice president for academic affairs) would enjoy retirement by being less and less involved with their former employer. Not so for these two “builders” of the University. For them, the connection to the place that has meant so much will never end; and neither will their desire to use their retirement to work for a better SVSU. Graham and Yien’s energy and dedication to SVSU is now being directed toward developing the Pioneer Club, an employee planned giving program to ensure sustainable scholarship support and other essential endowed programs that enrich the academic and cultural impact of the institution on SVSU students and the community. “SVSU has been a great part of our lives,” Graham commented. “We want to continue that relationship.” Together with their spouses, Graham and Yien each have made lead gifts to the Pioneer Club to set an example for others to follow. As Yien noted, “This is an opportunity to ensure a bright future for something that so many faculty and staff spent years working together to create.” The Pioneer Club joins the Creating the Future Society as SVSU’s planned giving programs. Both support the mission of the university to create opportunities for individuals to achieve intellectual and personal development through academic, professional, and cultural programs.


Enriching the academic and cultural impact on students and the community




he Promise for Tomorrow is impacting SVSU and our region—today. As the endowment campaign nears its goal, the programs and scholarships established and enhanced by the generous people of our community are making a difference right now. Because they are endowments, this is only the beginning—the great things happening today will grow for generations to come.

Regional Development

A leadership gift from The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation led to the establishment of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Commercialization, which serves as a resource for area entrepreneurs and businesses seeking such services as training, consulting and testing. The Dow Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Kenneth W. Kousky, educator and entrepreneur, works directly with students, faculty, and members of the business community. His broad spectrum of projects to date have included founding two groups that invest in promising new companies, consulting for local information technology companies, establishing an entrepreneurship speaker series, and helping students develop videos that promote Saginaw.

School and Government Leadership

Now in its third year, The Gerstacker Fellowship Program provides leadership training for outstanding area educators. Fellows attend intensive weekend sessions on issues crucial to effective leadership: ethics, political problem solving, financial planning, human resource management, and education with a global perspective. An international travel experience to Japan, China, or Taiwan is the program’s capstone. The Ludington family, led by John S. Ludington of Midland, and his son, the Honorable Thomas Ludington, U.S. District Court Judge and member of the SVSU Foundation Board of Directors, established the Ludington Fellowship for Public Policy and Service. The first recipient,

30 - Foundation NOTES

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Christine Macey, 2007, B.A. completed an internship with the U.S. Supreme Court. In the program’s second year, Amanda Jenkins was an intern in Senator Debbie Stabenow’s Flint office, and Cassie Hare and Tyler Payne interned for Congressman Dale Kildee in Washington, D.C.

Supporting and Retaining the Best Talent for the Region

The generosity of Dr. E. Malcolm Field supported the creation of The Clifford Spicer Endowed Chair in Engineering and the Malcolm and Lois Field Endowed Chair in Health Sciences. Alan Freed, a distinguished research scientist with NASA for 22 years and also the Cleveland Clinic, joined SVSU in 2007 as the Spicer Endowed Chair in Engineering. Neuroscientist Gary Dunbar will come on board in 2009 as the Field Chair. Thanks to the generosity of university supporters, several new scholarships have been established or enhanced to offer even more opportunities for students.

Honoring An SVSU “Legend”

Among the new funds in development is an endowment honoring recently-retired Richard P. (Dick) Thompson. If you attended SVSU within the last 38 years, your life was likely touched in some way by Dick. He worked in the Admissions and Registrar’s offices, served as Dean of Student Affairs, and recently was Ombudsman and the advisor to the Student Association and the Professional Journalistic Practices Committee. Dick’s genuine concern for students and the enjoyment he found in interacting with them and helping them reach their potential earned him lasting respect and admiration. Soon, alumni and friends will be given the opportunity to help build this new endowment fund that will benefit SVSU students in perpetuity.


On the


Marketing Research




ften graduates ponder what they will do with their degree, and whether their career will be in their field of study. For one alumna, the answer was to lead cutting-edge marketing research using the knowledge from her finance degree. Lynnette Cooke is chief executive officer of the Ziment Group, a leading global marketing research organization serving the healthcare, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. She resides in New York City and works at the company’s global headquarters. Prior to Ziment Group, Cooke was with Newell Rubbermaid. Currently, she serves on several advisory and research boards and is active in multiple professional organizations.

Up-Close with

J. Lynnette M. (Rasalan) Cooke, 1988, B.B.A.

How did you get your start in marketing research (with a finance degree)? I am lucky that I “stumbled” into my career. When I was finishing school, I did freelance work for a marketing research firm. They (The Creative Group) offered me a full-time job and I learned the ins and outs of marketing research on the agency side. Tell us about your days as an SVSU student: I remember professors who had an impact on me. I had ethics classes with Bill Elliott. Today, I put into practice many things that we covered in those classes. Professor David Skinner in the College of Business & Management helped me identify my interest and ability to conduct business and financial analyses. While it may sound trivial, he also taught me how to read the Wall Street Journal. The funny thing is, I think of him often when I’m folding the Journal and reading through the highlights on the front page. Family: Married to Bill Cooke; 2-year-old son, Joseph. Hometown: Saginaw (People look at me like I’m crazy when I point to my hand to tell them where I grew up. Seems the rest of the world isn’t as familiar with the shape of Michigan!)

Last book read: Most of my reading lately is about raising a toddler. Potty Training 1-2-3 was the last book I read. I’ll let you know if I have any success! I did finally read Big Russ and Me, by Tim Russert. Advice to new SVSU graduates: Be true to yourself. Listen to your gut. When you second guess yourself, you end up making poor decisions. When you aren’t sure what your gut is saying, then listen to your heart. I believe that if you are passionate about something in life — whether it is a hobby, a job, a relationship — you will be happy, even through the tough times. What’s on your iPod/car stereo? I confess that I don’t own an iPod (or drive in NYC). I listen to a lot of music in my office and lately I’ve been playing U2 18 Singles and Amy Winehouse Back to Black. Who or what inspires you? My father, Jess Rasalan. He has always been a great mentor and helps keep me grounded. My success as a business person is directly linked to the things he taught me.



NEWS FROM ALUMNI AROUND THE WORLD Email your alumni news to; Mail to SVSU, Alumni Relations, 7400 Bay Road, University Center, MI 48710; Submit Online at



Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) Bachelor of Professional Accountancy (B.P.A.) Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Bachelor of Science Electrical Engineering (B.S.E.E.) Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering (B.S.M.E.) Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) Master of Arts (M.A.) Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) Master of Education (M.Ed.)

Barbara B. Peterson, 1969, B.A., June 20, 2008 Robert Lisee, 1974, B.A., June 20, 2008 Catherine E. McLoughlin, 1974, B.A., January 24, 2008 Gina Herbert-Lawson, 1975, B.A., January 28, 2008 Barbara L. Meszar, 1977, B.S., July 10, 2008 Carolyn A. (Meeth) Thomas, 1977, M.A.T., April 13, 2008 Cathleen M. Potter, 1981, M.A.T., April 25, 2008 Douglas E. Ruhl, 1981, M.A.T., June 19, 2008 Robert J. Berkobien, 1989, B.S., March 28, 2008 Donna M. Sanders, 1992, B.A., March 23, 2008 Sheri M. (Minnich) Yandall, 1996, B.A., March 28, 2008 Michael L. Cohee, 1997, B.A., June 23, 2008 Rachel A. Moncado, 2000, B.A., March 28, 2008 Robert D. Gerren, 2002, B.A., July 21, 2008

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

32 - Foundation NOTES

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J oh n W il lia m C ar te r


H su an -L un (S ha ro n) H su ‘0 0 , an d K iy on ob u To m it a ‘0 2

Justin Berkobien, 2004, B.A. and his Katherine wife, Julie (Bland) E. Miller, 2004, B.A., Berkobien, 2006, announces her marriage to B.A., welcomed Jason R. Konkel. She is a their first child, teacher at Springport Public Audrey Michelle Schools. Berkobien, April 7, A u d r e y M ic h e ll e 2008. Justin and Tim O’Malley, 2004, B.S., is B e r k o b ie n Julie met in 2003 engaged to Shane McElyea. while working The couple plans to wed April on SVSU’s production of The 2009 in Indianapolis, Ind. Tim is Laramie Project, and Audrey was born employed at Ball State University. exactly five years to the day after their first date. Corinne A. Billmeier, 2005, B.S.N., was married Emily (Logan) September 2008 to Learman, 2004, B.A., Matthew G. Ellis. She is and her husband, Jason employed at Covenant Learman, 2004, B.A., Hospital, Saginaw, Mich. announce their first child,

Keri Swaffer, 2006, B.A., and Kavon Attarpour, 2007, B.A., were married in June and reside in Arizona. Maria D.R. Coss, 2007, B.P.A., is engaged to Phillip Jezierski. She is employed with Bay County. Chelsea L. Dryer, 2007, B.S.W., announces her engagement to Luke A. Reder. She is a treatment specialist with Holy Cross Children’s Services. Shannon M. Schick, 2007, B.A., announces her engagement to Shawn Fallon. She is employed with Mentor Public Schools, Mentor, Ohio.

Lucas Jason Learman, December 19, 2007. Emily has a new teaching job and the family is moving to Lafayette, Ind., from LaPlata, Md.

Neale Spender, 2007, B.S.N., is engaged to be married in the fall to Megan McCormick. He is a registered nurse at Bay Regional Medical Center.



Armen Hratchian, 2005, B.A., and Emily Hammerbacher, 2006, B.A., were married in Lucas Jason June 2008. In lieu of Learman wedding favors, the couple made a donation to the SVSU Foundation AND to help “maintain and expand the same programs that enriched (their) own collegiate experiences.” Hsuan-Lun (Sharon) Hsu, 2000, M.A., and Kiyonobu Tomita, 2002, Michael B. Collins, 2006, B.B.A., M.B.A., announce their marriage. They and Anita C. Galloway, 2007, B.B.A., celebrated in May 2008 with receptions announce their engagement. The in Texas and Taipei, Taiwan. The couple couple resides in Auburn Hills, Mich. resides in El Paso, Texas.



John W. Carter III, 1997, B.A., 2003, M.A., and his wife, Kamesa (Al-Rida) Carter, 2002, B.S.W., announce the birth of their son, John William Carter IV, March 2008 in Jacksonville, Fla.

Where ARE



Thomas L. Frank, 1967, B.A., is an attorney in Saginaw, Mich. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and American and Michigan Trial Lawyers Association.



Eugene Henderson Jr., 1972, B.A., is vice president of student development at State University of New York Rockland Community College. He received honors for organizing a free educational summit at the college with the goal of bringing together parents, students, educators and the community to promote supplementary education. John M. Kunitzer, 1973, B.B.A., is a CPA, and president and CEO at Yeo & Yeo CPAs and Business Consultants in Saginaw, Mich. Terrie (Christiansen) DeWaele, 1976, B.A., has been named principal at Holy Trinity Elementary School, Bay City, Mich.


Debbie (Westphal) Blair, 1980, B.A., is a child abuse investigations program specialist for the State of Florida Department of Children and Families. Arthur J. Halloran, 1983, M.A.T., was named 2008 Saginaw Valley League Teacher of the Year. He has been a teacher for 29 years with the Midland Public Schools and is currently at Midland High School. Sonja (Paquin) Duncan, 1986, B.A., of Cedarville, Mich., was inducted into the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame. She is the Cedarville girls basketball coach and was also named coach of the year. Cheryl Burzynski, 1987, B.S.N., president of Bay Special Care Hospital, was elected vice president of the National Association of Long Term Hospitals Board of Directors.

Barbara A. Mitzel, 1989, B.A., of Adrian, Mich., was appointed to the board of directors of First Defiance Financial Corporation, Defiance, Ohio. She is the area manager for Consumers Energy in Adrian. David E. Molloy, 1989, B.A., is the chief of police for the City of Novi, Mich., Police Department.


Rebecca Caverly, 1990, B.A., 2001, M.Ed., 2005, Ed.S., is the director of curriculum and instructional services for Beecher Community School District, Flint, Mich. James A. Schultz, 1991, B.B.A., is a special agent with the United States Secret Service. Heather L. (Dorsch) Wing, 1991, B.A., married Thomas Wing; the couple has two children, Olivia and Arinn. Laura B. (Zetye) Yockey, 1991, M.B.A., has been hired by Chemical Bank as first vice president and commercial lender.

association made up of less than 1 percent of the world’s life insurance and financial services professionals. He is a financial consultant with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in Frankenmuth, Mich. Troy Hendrickson, 1995, B.B.A., a former SVSU football player, is a senior lecturer at Curtin University Graduate School of Business in Perth Western, Australia. Julie R. (Ursuy) Dillon, 1996, B.A., moved to Beijing with her spouse, David, and three children, Hayley, Sarafina and Tyler. Scott Q. Harper, 1996, B.S., is an assistant professor at Ohio State University. He is married to Hollie A. (Denome) Harper, 1996, B.S., and the couple resides in Powell, Ohio.

S tephen N . R it ch ie ,

Stephen N. Ritchie, 1996, B.S., has been appointed marketing director of Henkel North American Automotive division.

‘9 6

Scott A. Hagenbach, 1994, B.B.A., has earned membership in the 2008 Million Dollar Round Table, an international

Continued on page 36.

Jared A. Roberts ‘96 34 - Alumni Zone

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Jared A. Roberts, 1996, B.A., has been elected partner in the law firm McClelland & Anderson, L.L.P., Lansing, Mich. He practices real estate litigation and commercial litigation. He is also an adjunct professor at the Michigan State University College of Law.

T he S VS U Foundat ion


welcomes t wo fa mili ar faces

n Kevin Schultz and Andy Bethune


evin Schultz, 1992, B.A., joined the university in May 2008 as director of alumni and community relations, replacing Andy Bethune, who has assumed the position of executive director of the SVSU Foundation. These changes in titles and positions are designed to better engage alumni, grow the university’s annual fund, develop major gift fundraising and increase visibility in the donor/ alum/business communities. Bethune, 1987, B.B.A., joined the University in a part-time capacity in 2002 as golf coach; in 2004, he became assistant vice president for development and alumni relations. In that role, Andy worked closely with the Alumni Association board to establish a community Red Pride Friday, the Alumni Family Fun Day, new alumni chapters in Detroit, Lansing and the tricounties, and increased participation in and support of the Alumni Association golf outing. In his new Foundation role, Andy adds, “I enjoy serving my alma mater and helping students with scholarship opportunities.” Prior to joining SVSU, Andy spent 12 years as president of the Sawmill Golf Club Corporation. The lifelong resident of Saginaw County resides in Saginaw Township with his wife, Andrea, and daughters Mackenzie (11) and Abigail (8). Schultz has been highly involved with SVSU since his

days as a student. He was inaugural president of the SVSU Communication Guild, founder of the SVSU Sims Public Speaking Contest, and business manager of The Valley Vanguard. After graduation, Kevin stayed involved with his alma mater, both as Alumni Association board president (1995-97), adjunct faculty member and executive committee member of the “Campaign for Distinction.” Before joining SVSU, Kevin held fund and alumni development positions with Davenport and Northwood universities. Kevin is already up and running with his goals for the Alumni Association. “So many great things are happening at the University that parlay into greater opportunities than ever to engage more and more students and alumni in supporting SVSU.” High on Kevin’s “to do” list are growing affinity programming among alumni, including association membership growth, and creating student cultivation programs between alumni and current students. Kevin and his wife, Rebecca, 2002, M.A., and their children Riley (11), Raegan (10) and Rhea (4), reside in Saginaw Township. Friends and alumni can contact Andy at or Kevin at


CLASSNOTES Justin Freeland, 1998, B.A., was named coach of the year. He is the girls varsity basketball coach at Bullock Creek High School, where he teaches U.S. history and English. Jason E. Murray, 1998, B.S., is a network engineer at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. Andrew D. Booms, 1999, B.A., has been named pastor of St. Michael’s Parish in Port Austin, Mich. Brian C. Paluk, 1999, B.B.A., is a finance manager at AlixParnters, L.L.P. in Southfield, Mich. He completed his M.B.A. at Wayne State University with a concentration in international business. He and his wife, Dana, have a 2-year-old daughter, Sophia.

Matthew L. Rzepka, 2001, B.B.A., launched Valley Oak Financial in Kalamazoo, Mich. He is the managing partner and owner of the company. Jenny J. VanDuinen, 2001, B.A., is a teacher at Houghton Lake Community Schools. Michael S. Vasicek, 2001, M.A., was awarded a Doctorate of Education at Wayne State University. He is the undersheriff of Midland County, Mich. Helen J. Gibbons, 2002, M.A.T., earned the 2008 Gerstacker Proficiency Award in Teaching. She teaches at Adams Elementary School, Midland, Mich.

Jonathan R. Laundra, 2000, B.B.A., is a financial advisor with Wachovia Securities, L.L.C., Bay City, Mich.

Carlos L. Ramirez, 2001, B.B.A., is a regional director of marketing for Westways Staffing Services Inc., Phoenix, Ariz.

36 - Alumni Zone

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Teresa (George) Sullivan, 2003, B.A., received the Spirit of Rotary Award by the Midland Rotary Club.

Ashley Marcol, 2004, B.S., graduated with a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree from the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. She will complete her residency in podiatric surgery at Detroit Medical Center.


Noelle (Ott) Palasty, 2001, M.A.T., 2008, M.Ed., has been hired as principal at Wardcliff Elementary School, Okemos, Mich. She and her husband, Christian, have two sons, Merrick and Keegan.

Joseph A. Morris, 2003, B.B.A., hosted the first SVSU Arizona Alumni chapter event in July 2008 in Tempe, Ariz. He is a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, Phoenix, Ariz.

Julie E. Truckner, 2003, B.A., is a communication specialist at Schiavone Enterprises, Saginaw, Mich.

Stacey L. (Glowacki) Rutherford, 1999, B.A., is a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines, Detroit, Mich. She is married to Eric M. Rutherford, 1996, B.A.

Kimberly Noey, 2001, M.A.T., earned the 2008 Gerstacker Proficiency Award in Teaching. She teaches at Plymouth Elementary School in Midland, Mich.

Matthew R. Johnson, 2003, B.B.A., and his wife, Erica (Bischer) Johnson, 2005, B.P.A., moved to Maryland. Matthew is starting his Ph.D., and Erica works as a coordinator for student organizations and involvement at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Ashley Marcol ‘04

Vanessa L. Marr, 2002, B.A., is a graduate teaching assistant at Wayne State University. Chad M. Goodnight, 2003, B.A., of Baltimore, Md., is a science teacher at Dundalk High School, Baltimore County Public Schools. He also coaches wrestling, field hockey and track.

Stephanie M. Shooks, 2004, B.B.A., is the legislative director for Senator Roger Kahn, Lansing, Mich. Mary M. Bedford, 2005, B.P.A., has been promoted to senior accountant at Yeo & Yeo, P.C., CPAs, Saginaw, Mich. Andre L. Buckley, 2005, B.B.A., 2007, M.B.A., has joined Tri Star Trust Bank as an assistant portfolio manager. He is a Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce 1000 Leaders alumnus. Kevin Davidson, 2005, B.A., and his wife, Jillian F. (Dieterle) Davidson, 2006, B.A., reside in South Boston, Va.


Sharidy Hathcock ‘07 Claudia Finn, 2005, B.A., a police officer with the Northville Police Department, was honored by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers for a demonstrated record of removing drunk drivers from Michigan’s roadways. Christena L. (Johnson) Hutchinson, 2005, B.A., of North Carolina, is a proud military wife (USMC) and stay-athome mother. She volunteers with her husband’s unit on the base. Jason J. Law, 2005, B.S.E.E., of Ontario, Canada, is employed at Colt Worley Parsons, Sarnia, Ontario. Megyn McKay, 2005, B.A., a substance abuse counselor for Catholic Charities of Jackson, Mich., was honored by the Jackson Business and Professional Women and the Harriet A. Meyer clubs. She was nominated for the 2008 Virginia Allen Young Careerists honor. Ellen E. Rodman, 2005, B.A., is a state scheduler for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. Pete N. Chapman, 2006, M.B.A., is a project manager for Spicer Group, Inc., Saginaw, Mich.

Eric Woughter, 2006, B.A., has been named the new varsity girls basketball coach at Traverse City Central High School.




Jennifer J. (Davidson) Weaver, 2006, B.A., has been named marketing assistant/proposal writer for Wolgast Corp., Saginaw, Mich.

Kavon Attarpour, 2007, B.A., graduated from the Maricopa County Police Academy and has taken a police officer position for the City of Scottsdale, Ariz. Jennifer A. Downing, 2007, B.S.W., is a social worker for Tuscola County Medical Care Facility. Sharidy Hathcock, 2007, B.S., is completing a year residency to be a Certified Prosthetist. The residency is at Virginia Prosthetics Inc., Roanoke, Va. Bryan Sutherland, 2007, B.A., was named Rookie Teacher of the Year by his school district. Shelby L. (Schluckebier) Wright, 2007, B.A., is a teacher for the School District of Ocseola County, Fla. Mikelle C. Lintz, 2008, B.B.A., is an account manager in Brentwood, Tenn., for Tallen, Inc.

SVSU’s Career Planning & Placement office has job postings for both full-time entry level and experienced positions! Visit the Cardinal Job Network at and take advantage of this opportunity to move to the next level in your career. For more information, call (989) 964-4954 or SVSU REFLECTIONS - 37

Cardinals Show Their Red Pride at Alumni Event The SVSU Alumni Association hosted more than 200 alumni and guests at the 2008 Tri-City Alumni Event at the Great Lakes Loons, which took place June 5 at the Dow Diamond. Alumni of all ages gathered at the ballpark for a BBQ and exciting baseball game.



., throws the first pitch of the

Russell Beaubien, 1991, B.A


A Cardinal family en

joys an evening at the

Dow Diamond.


A., 2004, M.A., s: Jason, 1997, B. . The Swackhamer st Cardinal, Ashlinn 03, B.A., and newe Amy (Denton), 20


er and Current SVSU students, Meghan Bau t. even the at ni Kim Cataline met alum

38 - Alumni Zone

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2, B.A., 2006, M.A., Kari Schloff, 200 Loons fans L-R: John Busch, ch. Bus ry Randy Schloff, and Hila

SVSU Football Coache s talk about the 2008 se ason with Pamela Clifford, Alu mni Relations. L-R: Neil Ba

umgartner, 2005, B.A., 2007, M.A., Pamela Clifford, Mike An cona, Herb Haygood, An dre Griffin.




veryone has a story. Though the cover story about former SVSU Student Association presidents continues to write itself every day, it is a story nonetheless with some sense of an ending — how Student Association experiences helped shape the lives of those SVSU alumni. As the newest Student Association president, my story has just begun to be written. When I came to SVSU, I was not really sure where I would go or who I would become. I just knew that I really wanted to make an impact on the campus and get as involved as I could. In my fifth year at SVSU, I had the opportunity to work within the Student Association as the Health & Wellness Committee Chair. With this position came great responsibility and excitement, working on such things as health and wellness fairs, “go green” week, and SVSU’s Relay for Life 2008, which raised more than $42,000 for cancer research. It was in this role that I developed my passion for working with students like myself to make the University a little bit better place, and my desire to give back. This is the reason I chose to run for Student Association president. I’m not quite sure what this year will have in store for me, but I can only imagine how amazing it will be having such an opportunity to work so closely with individuals who care about Red Pride and about a great university that has become a second home to me these past five years. A new chapter of my story will continue this fall. I hope to be remembered as a leader who led by example and was not afraid to try new things. I would love to go through my year as president, look back and feel a sense of accomplishment and become a better leader. This experience will be so valuable in what life has in store for me after I leave SVSU because I will not only learn about myself, but about others. I want to develop as a leader and listen to what others’ needs are, as well as work with the administration and with people who are already in the workforce. I hope to learn how to be successful and, most importantly, how to help others be successful as well.

While former Student Association presidents reminisce about their college years (see story, page 20). Angela Seeley looks ahead as the newly-elected president of Student Association for the 2008-09 academic year.

Editors’ post script: As “Reflections” goes to print, the 2008 Battle of the Valleys fundraising totals are in. Under the leadership of Angela Seeley, SVSU students raised $47,278.39 to GVSU’s $28,002.37 - an amazing effort, especially since GVSU has almost 24,000 students. Angela wrote her editorial long before BOV, and though her leadership legacy is still being written, she should know that she has already made her mark on SVSU and the Student Association.


Join us for an evening of fabulous food,

entertainment and prestigious Alumni Awards! The Celebration will be held Saturday, Nov. 8 in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts, in SVSU’s Curtiss Hall. A social hour and strolling dinner begins at 6 p.m., followed by the distinguished alumni awards presentation and entertainment by national comedy troupe, the Capitol Steps. Capitol Steps is a troupe of former Congressional staffers-turned-comedians.

“They’re the best. There’s no one like them, no one in their league.” —Larry King, CNN For ticket information, contact Alumni Relations at (989) 964-4196 or

ROETHKE November 10 & 11, 2008

This Celebration is made possible in part by a grant from Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Saginaw Arts & Enrichment Commission.

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Pulitzer-winning poet Theodore Roethke and the 11th Triennial Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize at Saginaw Valley State University

7400 Bay Road • University Center, MI 48710

Profile for Saginaw Valley State University

Reflections Magazine - Fall 2008  

Magazine of Saginaw Valley State University.

Reflections Magazine - Fall 2008  

Magazine of Saginaw Valley State University.

Profile for svsu