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Jim Dwyer and Alumni Relations have a message for graduates:




EXECUTIVE EDITOR Linda Sims EDITOR Justin Engel, 2005, B.A. MANAGING EDITOR Tim Inman, 1989, B.A.; 1996, M.Ed. WRITERS J.J. Boehm, 2006, M.A. Ann Branch Justin Engel Tim Inman Jan Poppe, 2001, M.A. Jason Wolverton, 2007, B.A.; 2014, M.B.A. CONSULTANT Jan Poppe GRAPHIC DESIGN Jill Allardyce, 2006, M.A. PHOTOGRAPHERS Tim Inman Michael Randolph


NEWS BRIEFS Read about changes, achievements and

10 14

happenings taking place at SVSU.

FACULTY PROFILES Five faculty members discuss their academic and community-minded passions.

COVER STORY Alumni Relations staff hopes new initiatives

reconnect alums with their alma mater. Meanwhile, a family of SVSU students and graduates benefit from one of those initiatives.

20 25 Grads ALUMNI PROFILES Kate Cardinali, Chris Pryor, Dave

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT SVSU researchers aim to make Midland healthier.

VIDEOGRAPHER Dan Goodell CONTRIBUTORS Jason Swackhamer, 1997, B.A.; 2004, M.A. EDITORIAL BOARD Jill Allardyce Andrew Bethune, 1987, B.B.A. J.J. Boehm Ann Branch Jim Dwyer, 1976, B.A.; 1985, M.A.T. Justin Engel Tim Inman Jan Poppe Kevin Schultz, 1992, B.A. Kristen Wenzel, 1993, B.A. REFLECTIONS magazine is published twice a year. For comments, suggestions and inquiries contact: Justin Engel at Saginaw Valley State University • 7400 Bay Road University Center MI 48710 • (989) 964-4883 CONTACT THE UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS (989) 964-4200 ALUMNI RELATIONS (989) 964-4196 SVSU FOUNDATION (989) 964-4052 CAREER SERVICES (989) 964-4954 CENTER FOR BUSINESS & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (989) 964-7015 CONFERENCE CENTER AT SVSU (Box Office) (989) 964-4261 DIVERSITY PROGRAMS (989) 964-4068 GRADUATE PROGRAMS (989) 964-6096 MARSHALL M. FREDERICKS SCULPTURE MUSEUM (989) 964-7125 OSHER LIFELONG LEARNING INSTITUTE (989) 964-4310

Bobrowski, Shantinique Beverly and Brandon Skwirsk find success — and create it for others.

34 Baruth look to create a behavioral intervention that promotes healthier lifestyles. program CLASS NOTES 37 Stay updated on alumni from all eras of SVSU. FOUNDATION 42 SVSU celebrates the success of the Talent. Opportunity. Promise campaign. Q&A Faculty colleagues Becca Schlaff and Meghan


CARMONA CHALLENGE Board of Control chairman’s family and SVSU


supporters step up for endowment.

LOOKING AHEAD President Donald J. Bachand discusses SVSU

Foundation’s successes of today and gives a glimpse of the university’s goals for tomorrow.

Chris Pryor, 1995, B.B.A., 2000, M.Ed., pastor at Victorious Believers Ministries in Saginaw, inspires youth to pursue a college education. See page 26


SVSU ALUMNI ADDED TO BOARD OF CONTROL Governor Rick Snyder appointed two new members to the SVSU Board of Control, both alumni of the university. Patrick McInnis, chief executive officer of Fathead, and Vicki Rupp, corporate service management director for The Dow Chemical Company, were appointed in July. McInnis, 1988, B.S., has served as CEO of Fathead since February 2009. Perhaps best known for its life-sized graphics of professional athletes, the Detroit-based company is an industry leader of officially licensed sports and entertainment graphics for large and small spaces. Fathead maintains more than 600 license agreements with leading consumer brands across many industries and professional sports

Patrick McInnis

Vicki Rupp

leagues. In 2014, Fathead was named a Top Workplace by The Detroit Free Press for the fifth time. An avid sportsman, McInnis also is a minority owner in the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA basketball franchise. Rupp, 1983, B.S., joined Dow in 1983

in Research and Development and then moved into more commercially oriented roles. In 2000, she took on an Environmental, Health and Safety director role for Dow’s Global Performance Chemicals Business. In 2004, she became global director for Regulatory Affairs and Remediation. She also has served as a leader of Dow’s Women’s Innovation Network. In January 2013, Rupp accepted her current position as the global director of Service Management. In this role, she focuses on the operational aspects of the company. McInnis and Rupp replaced Jeff Martin and Jerome Yantz. In addition, Yantz has joined the SVSU Foundation office as an executive development officer.

DEANS APPOINTED, FORMER BOARD CHAIR HIRED A series of additions to SVSU’s leadership brought changes both to the university’s academic colleges and its community relations operations this year. On the academic side, three deans began work over the spring and summer months. Craig Douglas, former director of SVSU’s School & University Partnerships, was named dean of the College of Education. He replaced Mary Harmon, a professor of English who returned to the classroom. Douglas joined SVSU in 2014 after serving as superintendent of Carrollton Public Schools for 22 years. Frank Hall, a former professor and dean at Worcester State University in Massachusetts, was hired as dean of the College of Science, Engineering & Technology. He replaced Deborah Huntley, who was named SVSU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. Hall also has served with the Ocean Studies

Craig Douglas

Frank Hall

Board of the National Academies of Science in Washington, D.C. and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Marc Peretz, former associate provost for International & Advanced Studies, was named interim dean of the College of Arts & Behavioral Sciences. He replaced Joni BoyeBeaman, a former sociology department chair who now serves as executive assistant to Peretz. Peretz was first hired at SVSU in 1989 as a music professor.

Marc Peretz

Linda Sims

Linda Sims, former chair of SVSU’s Board of Control, was hired as executive director of communications and external affairs. The position provides leadership for SVSU’s communications, external affairs and marketing. Sims also serves as executive editor of REFLECTIONS magazine. For more than 30 years, Sims worked in a variety of public relations roles for Consumers Energy, including the last 10 years as executive director of public affairs.


SVSU STUDY SUPPORTS LINK BETWEEN BLIGHT FIGHT, CRIME REDUCTION IN SAGINAW SVSU researchers discovered a connection between a recent drop in Saginaw’s violent crime rate and a Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) initiative aimed at eliminating blighted structures from the city. Andrew Miller, assistant professor of geography, led the study and presented the findings during a May symposium in Saginaw that featured U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee and Saginaw Mayor Dennis Browning. The event focused on Saginaw’s community development since receiving $11.2 million in MSHDA funds to demolish abandoned homes beginning in late 2013. Miller’s analysis was commissioned by Saginaw City Hall officials looking to track the impact of the MSHDA funds the city received. He said the study represents SVSU’s dedication both to community interaction and hands-on learning. “This is a local university using local information to solve local problems,” Miller said. “On top of that, we’re using local students with skills they attained at a local university to service their communities.” Beginning in April, Miller performed statistical analysis while two of his

Student Daniel Johnson, Assistant Professor of Geography Andrew Miller and student Mitchell Kloc presented a crime map study at a Saginaw event in May.

students were responsible for much of the study’s data management and GIS work. Those students were Mitchell Kloc, a professional and technical writing major from Freeland, and Daniel Johnson, a criminal justice major from Sparta who graduated in May. The research revealed that the MSHDA-funded demolitions correlated with a decrease in “priority one crimes” in Saginaw. Those crimes include homicides, burglaries, robberies, arsons and aggravated assaults.

John Stemple, Saginaw’s chief inspector, said he and other City Hall officials turned to SVSU to conduct the study because of the university’s strong record of community engagement. “The City of Saginaw has partnered with SVSU on several occasions with positive results, including participation in the multi-jurisdictional Saginaw County Crime Prevention Council, resulting in a crime statistics basis for creating crime measurement tools,” Stemple said.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH REACHES NEPAL A group from SVSU came to the aid of Nepal residents about two weeks after an April 25 earthquake devastated the Asian nation. The group provided primary care services and delivered medical supplies to Kathmandu and surrounding villages. Pictured are members of that group: (from left) Dustin Spencer, assistant professor of nursing; Rene Hernandez, assistant professor of health sciences; Judy Ruland, dean of SVSU’s College of Health & Human Services; Shanti Rai, a host at the hotel where the group stayed; Smriti Pant, 2011, B.S.N., an SVSU graduate student and Nepal native; and Jarrod Eaton, president of SVSU’s Student Association.


FALL FOCUS SERIES CONCLUDES WITH VISITS FROM PSYCHIATRIST, MUSICIAN AND HISTORIAN SVSU again is playing host to a Fall Focus speaker series, with this year’s themes focusing on topics that test historical narratives and explore music’s influence on the mind. The series’ final three speakers are Nassir Ghaemi, an academic psychiatrist specializing in mood illnesses; Vijay Gupta, a soloist and chamber musician; and Jennifer Stinson, SVSU associate professor of history. All events are free and open to the public. Ghaemi’s Fall Focus appearance will center on one of his books, “A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness.” The New York Times bestseller explores the connections between mental illness and leadership, citing historic figures likely suffering from such illnesses, including Napoleon, Lincoln, Churchill and Hitler. The event is the 12th Annual James E. O’Neill Jr. Memorial Lecture. Ghaemi’s appearance is at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, in the Malcolm

Field Theatre for Performing Arts. Gupta will discuss the ability of music to change an individual’s brain, heal ailments and transform lives. Gupta believes music should be Nassir Ghaemi a fundamental element in any educational curriculum, beyond an extracurricular hobby or even a medium to facilitate instruction in other fields, such as math or science. Gupta’s appearance is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. Stinson will present an excerpt from her manuscript on African Americans and those whose lives bridged African, Indian and Euro-American identities in the rural Midwest. Her presentation will examine antebellum lead diggings, farms and

Vijay Gupta

Jennifer Stinson

forts of Wisconsin and Illinois. This event is the 13th Annual Hoffmann/Willertz Lecture. Her appearance is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4, in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The trio cap off the seven-speaker series that included Eman Mohammed, a photographer from the Gaza Strip; Danielle Allen, political philosopher; Paul Teed, an SVSU professor of history; and Nathan Wolfe, an expert on epidemic diseases.

MARSHALL M. FREDERICKS SCULPTURE MUSEUM ADVOCATES ENGAGE YOUNGER GENERATIONS Isabelle Weiss, a Detroit-based art broker and appraiser, is leading a new group called NEW GARDE in hopes of stirring interest among younger generations in both the artwork and the SVSU-based museum of Marshall M. Fredericks. NEW GARDE has begun networking with college and young professional groups across the state to extend a bridge toward those who could support Fredericks’ art — both in the museum as well as his contributions to public art in cities such as Detroit and Birmingham, Michigan — for generations. The offerings include exhibition tours and cocktail tastings. “NEW GARDE is a platform for

professional and cultural exchange between the Great Lakes Bay Region and Southeast Michigan, built around appreciation and support for Marshall Fredericks and the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum,” said Weiss, also a member of the museum board. “Marshall Fredericks set a very specific tone for American public art — one that defined a specific point in our history, and continues to shape art today. To forget him as an artist — or not even realize he existed — would be a tragedy.” Weiss said the group is hoping to raise interest among people under 40, but NEW GARDE membership is open to anyone interested in the cause.

Marilyn Wheaton, director of the museum, said NEW GARDE was born from the museum’s strategic plan to ensure the artworks’ preservation. “We have an extraordinary museum with an extraordinary collection,” Wheaton said. “And we have an extraordinary staff and board to ensure all of these things are preserved for decades to come, but we can’t assume that, because it’s here now, it will live on in perpetuity. That’s why introducing a new generation to Marshall Fredericks is so important.” For more information on NEW GARDE events or how to support the group, visit




Thanks to a partnership between SVSU and a Buffalo theatre company, the university will host a new play this fall before the show debuts in New York. David Rzeszutek, associate professor of theatre, will direct “Safe.” The play is scheduled for 7:30 David Rzeszutek p.m. from Wednesday to Saturday, Nov. 18-21, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22. All performances are in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. The production arrives a year after Buffalobased Road Less Traveled Productions tasked SVSU with debuting the play. Road Less Traveled plans to follow with its own production of “Safe” in New York in March 2016. The collaboration has allowed SVSU theatre students to work with “Safe” playwright Donna Hoke and Road Less Traveled Productions staff in developing the play for audiences. “This is a fantastic opportunity for us,” Rzeszutek said. “We’re working with a new script and having direct contact with the playwright.” As part of the collaboration, SVSU students have been invited to Buffalo to watch the Road Less Traveled Productions version of “Safe.” “We’ll meet the professional cast and design team,” Rzeszutek said. “This project will offer a whole slew of learning opportunities for our students.” “Safe” follows a legacy of bullying, from when a woman was bullied in her youth to a suicide decades later caused by her son’s bullying of a gay teen. Road Less Traveled Productions was founded in 2002, and has hosted productions that have included Hollywood actors such as Alec Baldwin and James Rebhorn. The company largely produces new plays not seen before on professional stages.

Tom Sesti spent 20 years creating companies, largely from the ground up. Now, as director of SVSU’s Dow Entrepreneurship Institute, the Waterford native wants to set up others for success in the business world. “It’s an exciting opportunity,” Sesti said of his new role. “There’s something I love about helping students. They see Tom Sesti the possibilities out there. Their minds are a lot less encumbered by how we get beat down as adults.” The institute, funded by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, stimulates creation of business ventures, facilitates research aimed at business innovation and provides internship opportunities. Rama Yelkur, dean of the College of Business & Management, said SVSU was fortunate to land Sesti in February after a national search for the position. “An entrepreneur by nature, Tom has extensive experience with companies and brands to start-up, re-launch, and help to grow,” Yelkur said. “He has brought a lot of excitement to our campus and has already been working with students, faculty and community members, helping them launch and grow entrepreneurial ventures ranging from apparel to educational products.” Sesti spent his first months on the job establishing relationships with representatives from SVSU’s five colleges, networking with regional businesses and connecting with students from multiple disciplines. The result is an environment where students with innovative ideas and entrepreneurial interests will flourish. Sesti is familiar with that brand of student — he still counts himself among them. Shortly after graduating from Albion College in 1995, he served as co-founder of a financial business firm. He later co-founded three other businesses and served as a consultant for dozens of others before Ken Kousky, SVSU’s former Dow Entrepreneur-in-Residence, convinced Sesti to apply for his current position. “I’ve been blown away by the students since I’ve been here,” Sesti said. “We have an opportunity here to really carve out a niche for ourselves to engage these students and help pave a path for success with them.”



Students Katheryn Howden and Jarrod Givens are enrolled in a joint nursing program for SVSU and Delta College.

A new dual enrollment program between SVSU and Delta College allows nursing students pursuing both a bachelor’s degree and a career in healthcare to achieve those goals more quickly. Andrea Frederick, SVSU coordinator of the initiative that kicked off in fall 2014, said the program was “a wonderful opportunity” both for prospective nurses and the community’s healthcare partners. “Recently, there has been increased pressure to have more B.S.N.s (nurses with bachelor’s degrees) providing patient care,” said Frederick, an SVSU assistant professor of nursing. “This is one intervention that will help our area to achieve that goal.” The new program fast-tracks the process by offering classes for associate’s and bachelor’s degrees concurrently. In some cases, SVSU classes are offered on Delta’s campus in an effort to centralize attendance. Students who enrolled in the program during its inaugural semester are expected to receive an associate’s degree from Delta College in spring 2016 and a bachelor’s degree from SVSU that same December. SVSU and Delta recruit students for the concurrent program from the Delta Nurse Scholar Program, which typically selects 30 Delta students per semester, based on academic criteria and other factors, including work experience related to nursing.

STUDENTS SET FOR NEXT ‘BATTLE OF THE VALLEYS’ SVSU’s Student Association has selected its charitable partner for the 13th annual “Battle of the Valleys” fundraising competition. SVSU students in November will raise funds for Get Outside For A Healthier Inside, an affiliate of the Saginaw Community Foundation. Get Outside For A Healthier Inside is a young organization whose mission is to increase physical activity in Saginaw. It is specifically focused on building parks and trails for families to enjoy, all while staying close to their neighborhoods. The organization seeks to combat childhood obesity. “Battle of the Valleys” began in 2003 to capitalize upon the football rivalry between SVSU and Grand Valley State University by raising funds for deserving non-profits. Over the past 12 years, SVSU students have raised a total of $306,789, winning nine of 12 annual competitions. A total of $472,279 in charitable donations has been raised between the two schools. The 2015 “Battle of the Valleys” fundraising campaign is scheduled for Nov. 8-14. The winner will be announced at the Nov. 14 game at GVSU.

SVSU students and supporters accept the 2014 Battle of the Valleys trophy after raising $32,294 for the Cory Rivard Jr. Promise Foundation during last year’s fundraiser.



Colleen Booms deBeauclair

Dan Dorion

SVSU’s Cardinal Athletic Hall of Fame Committee awarded its sixth class of inductees Sept. 18. Those honored included individuals such as track and field star Colleen Booms deBeauclair, bowling head coach Dan Dorion, former SVSU President Jack Ryder and baseball standout Mike Villano. Two teams also were inducted: the 198485 women’s basketball team and 1984 men’s golf team. DeBeauclair is considered by some to be the most accomplished SVSU female track and field student-athlete in program history. She earned 14 AllAmerican honors during her collegiate career, which spanned 1980 to 1984. She was a two-time national champion in 1984, winning the 1,000-yard run and the two-mile relay with teammates Sandy Niedergall, Kelly Vasold and Andrea Bowman. Dorion served as head coach of the men’s bowling program for 22 years, winning four national championships in 1991, 1997, 2006 and 2007. He guided the team to the national tournament 18 times. Of those 18 trips, 12 resulted in top three finishes. He coached 24 All-

Jack Ryder

Mike Villano

Gail Goestenkors

Americans including seven who later competed in the Professional Bowlers Association. Ryder was SVSU’s second president, serving from 1974 to 1989. He is the namesake for the Ryder Center, the venue for many of SVSU’s sports events. During his tenure, Ryder and his wife, Lila, were both passionate fans of Cardinal athletics. They also are the namesakes for the “Ryder Athlete of the Year” award, given to the top male and female SVSU student athletes. Mike Villano played on SVSU’s baseball team from 1991 to 1994. His baseball statistics remain some of the most impressive in the program’s history. He holds the record for most homeruns with 26. He also holds top 10 records for RBIs with 142, triples with six and hits with 180. He eventually played in the MLB with the San Francisco Giants in 1996 and the Florida Marlins in 1998. The 1984-85 women’s basketball team earned a 32-1 record. That lone loss came during the NAIA Championship game versus Southwestern Oklahoma.

Bob Becker

Marsha Reall, a 2013 Cardinal Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, was the team’s head coach. The team also featured two women later inducted into the Cardinal Athletic Hall of Fame: Beverly Sanders, the program’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder, and Gail Goestenkors, who went on to serve as head coach at Duke University and the University of Texas. Goestenkors was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in June. The 1984 men’s golf team was one of the most successful in the program’s history. That group holds the school record for the best finish among the 18 times SVSU competed in the national championships at either the NAIA or NCAA Division II level. The team finished as runners-up in the 1984 national championship. The team was coached by Cardinal Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Bob Becker. Players Bob Stephens, Kendall Kinsey and Mike Mueller earned All-American honors that year. Andrew J. Bethune, executive director of SVSU Foundation, was a member of the team.

WOMEN’S GOLF PROGRAM TEES OFF IN 2016 The university will field its first women’s golf team during the 2016-17 academic year. Joe Vogl, 1976, B.B.A., 1982, M.B.A., head coach of the men’s team, will assume the same role for the women’s team. The program joins a lineup of 16 varsity sports at SVSU competing in NCAA Division II’s Great Lakes


Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The players will compete against 13 women’s golf teams in the same conference. “I’m very excited as well as honored and privileged that I have been asked to start a women’s golf program at SVSU,” Vogl said. “Our men’s program, of which I have

been involved with for more than 40 years, has had numerous successes and many traditions; it’s those successes and traditions that I fully expect to duplicate for the women’s program. There is a lot of work to complete before next fall — with the first task of getting the word out, and the second, getting on the recruiting trail.”

SVSU ATHLETICS RECOGNIZED FOR COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT SVSU Athletics was awarded the Community Engagement Award from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the 2014-15 academic year. This marks the sixth time the department was honored for its community activities. The event that earned the award for SVSU Athletics was the Cardinal Kids Club Kick-off Event, which featured a membership drive for the Cardinal Kids Club and a free football clinic. Open to the general public, the event triggered a series of seven free sports clinics for the 2014-15 season. The August 2014 clinic was for

children in grades kindergarten through eighth grade. During registration, inflatables were available for play and children entered for chances to win prizes, including replica jerseys of former SVSU football players who moved on to the National Football League. After the free clinic, the SVSU football team signed autographs and took pictures with the kids. SVSU created the Cardinal Kids Club in 2009 to bring families with young children in the Great Lakes Bay Region to the campus of SVSU to engage in the Cardinal Athletics experience.

Former SVSU football quarterback Jon Jennings, 2014, B.B.A., participates in the 2013 Cardinal Kids Club Kick-off Event.

IN OTHER NEWS... SVSU’s campus housing facilities were ranked No. 1 in Michigan by the website Niche, which graded “Best Dorms” in the United States in 2015. SVSU was ranked No. 26 nationally. Niche calculated the rankings using a weighted formula where 70 percent of a school’s score came from students’ satisfaction with their housing. The website surveyed 60,000 students from 903 colleges and universities. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– The university will welcome scholars to study the art and literature of three renowned figures through a newly established program, the Fredericks-Follett-Roethke Graduate Fellowship in the Arts and Humanities. SVSU is home to archival collections of popular British author Ken Follett, the late Michigan sculptor Marshall Fredericks and the late poet Theodore Roethke, a Saginaw native. The first recipient of the fellowship is Nick Hartigan, a fifth-year doctoral student at the University of Michigan who specializes in the study of 20th-century sculpture. He will conduct a research residency at SVSU in summer 2016.

The College of Education received notification from the Michigan Department of Education that its application to revise the Cognitive Impairment endorsement was approved at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. “This endorsement will help us better prepare educators to meet the unique learning needs of youth who have a cognitive impairment,” said Dorothy Millar, professor of teacher education, who noted that there is a shortage of teachers in Michigan with this specialization. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Students in SVSU’s athletic training program are well prepared to succeed in their field. During a recent exam cycle, all six graduates passed the Board of Certification national exam necessary to become a certified athletic trainer, giving SVSU a 100 percent pass rate. In addition, more than 30 students have presented research at conferences across the nation over the past four years.

In April, the College of Arts & Behavioral Sciences hosted its first showcase of student/faculty collaborations. “Collage: The 2015 College of Arts & Behavioral Sciences Celebration of Research, Community, and Creative Projects” featured faculty and students sharing examples of their research, community and creative projects. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– The Cardinal Formula Racing team earned the fifth-best finish in the accomplished program’s history at an international competition in May. The team finished 26th out of 110 competitors at the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers Collegiate Design Series. The event was hosted at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– SVSU is the No. 1-rated Michigan university or college on the Military Times’ Best For Vets: Business Schools 2015 rankings. SVSU is No. 20 on the national ranking of the best educational institutions for military-affiliated students seeking an education in business.



Izabela Szymanska assistant professor of management College of Business & Management Born in 1980 in Poland, Izabela Szymanska witnessed the birth of the country’s Solidarity movement, and though young during its flourishing decade, was awestruck by its impact. She saw this movement transform her country’s peoples as it empowered them to take responsibility for their lives. Notable were economic changes, as citizens went from being government-supported to owning businesses. Family business and entrepreneurship were fledgling opportunities that motivated a young Szymanska to dream that one day she would study business and entrepreneurship in the U.S. because, as she asks, “Who does it better?” So it is no wonder that the assistant professor of


management chose a case study of family business and innovative changes for her recently-defended doctoral dissertation. And it’s equally no wonder that Szymanska felt that when she arrived at SVSU in fall 2014, she had found a “perfect fit.” That’s because she is teaching entrepreneurship classes as well as working with the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute at SVSU, the Stevens Center for Family Business, and SVSU students. She is quick to point out that SVSU’s focus on family business was not only very attractive to her, but that such a program affiliated with a university is not very common. That, she says, is great for both students and the region.

It is in the role of teacher that Szymanska makes her greatest impact. “I work with students on independent studies, take them to business events, and bring speakers into the classroom, all to enrich the student experience. “ And in the very brief time she has been at the university, she has led a student team to the University of Vermont’s Family Enterprise Case Competitions held each winter. She is already planning a return trip in 2015-16, noting the value of this competitive experiential learning for her academic college’s students. Szymanska especially enjoys teaching Introduction to Entrepreneurship, a semesterlong course where students create a comprehensive business

plan. “Some love it and some learn that entrepreneurship is not for them. That’s not a bad thing; rather it’s invaluable for students to participate in that discovery process,” Szymanska said. And some students are excited about becoming an “intrapreneur,” an employee within a company charged with bringing new products or innovations to market. “This can be very appealing to students who don’t necessarily want to start a business, yet who want to bring that entrepreneurial energy to a company.” Szymanska’s enthusiasm and efforts must be paying off, as an influx of student interest in entrepreneurship has led to adding another section of the course this academic year.

Dottie Millar professor of teacher education College of Education

Amy Pierce

associate professor of communication College of Arts & Behavioral Sciences “There’s a saying that the top two fears are death and public speaking,” Amy Pierce said. “What would be worse is to die while delivering a speech.” It’s a joke, but the associate professor of communication is aware of the trepidation students feel before enrolling in her public speaking course. Their initial apprehension is why it’s especially gratifying for Pierce to watch those same students persevere. “It’s satisfying to see a student who can barely deliver their first presentation, and by the end of the semester, they’re confident and well organized,” she said. Pierce has built a career on those success stories. Along with her classroom achievements, she founded a forensics competition program 15 years ago that since has traveled the nation to compete in tournaments as well as took on oversight of the annual Sims Public Speaking Competition, first offered in 1989. Success in both competitions demands strong public speaking skills, measured by clear and concise articulation, critical thinking and confident argument. She founded the forensics team in winter 2001. The program experienced success immediately when it earned second place at that year’s Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League’s Annual Novice Forensics Tournament. The forensics team continues to experience success today. During the last academic year, the program saw more of its students qualify for a national

tournament than ever in its history. “Although winning is always exciting, I strongly believe that forensics is an academic activity that provides students with the confidence to succeed and the ability to develop a work ethic that demands excellence,” Pierce said. The program also teaches students to cope with and appreciate diversity. Students develop personal character and values by leading and participating within the context of the team, social, academic and competitive environments, she said. “This is what I love most about directing and coaching the forensics team,” Pierce said. “I get the opportunity to see students applying the material they learn in the classroom in a real world setting.” She also is proud of her students’ work with the Sims Public Speaking Competition. “Students tell me again and again that the day of competition is one of the most exhausting, meaningful and fun of their college careers,” she said. Her two main goals as an educator are to teach students how to become more competent and responsible communicators, as well as instill in students an appreciation for the importance of communication in their daily lives. “I want students to be confident in their abilities when they leave my classroom and know they possess the tools necessary to succeed in their lives,” Pierce said.

For more than 20 years, Dottie Millar’s research has focused on guardianship alternatives for those with developmental disabilities. “It’s about dignity, selfdetermination and respect,” she said. It’s a modest statement about an issue that affects hundreds of thousands if not millions of people — those disabled or “exceptional” — as well as those who raise, care for, educate and support them. A Braun Fellow from 2011 to 2014, the professor of education used that program’s research stipend to ramp up her research. The efforts paid off. Though humble about admitting it, Millar is considered an expert in this area of research. She will continue her research and publishing, but Millar is now tackling another project, this one closer to home. From asking the question, “can we do more?” was born C of IDEAS. It is an interdisciplinary program involving every SVSU college and partners throughout the region, all with a goal of answering “yes.” IDEAS is an acronym for “Ingenuity and Discovery through Education, Alliances and Scholarship.” The “C” stands for collaboration and also represents the intent that with multiple partners and bright and engaged people working together, a “sea” of ideas and projects will result. Planning for C of IDEAS began in summer of 2014. In January 2015, an exploratory meeting took place, followed by a strategic planning meeting in April 2015. There, SVSU, four ISDs (Genesee County, Bay-Arenac, Midland and Saginaw), community mental health agencies (Midland, Bay, Saginaw), The ARC (Midland), Disability Network, special education teachers and parents of kids with developmental disabilities came together to talk about what they could do. Millar says the resulting goals are aggressive, but do-able. For starters, C of IDEAS

will collect, share and exchange information that enables the community to access and improve existing services. In other words, “communication” will be paramount. Additional goals include research, creating support to further educate those involved with disability and gathering input in order to develop new opportunities. This includes a survey to help determine needs in the region and a policy summit, hosted on the SVSU campus. When asked how SVSU students benefit from C of IDEAS, Millar smiles. “Where do I start?” she muses. “Perhaps engineering students will help adapt a bike for a kid who wants to ride a bike. Occupation Therapy students can work on ways to offer independent living options. Special education majors will benefit from field experiences. Marketing majors can write plans for agencies, political science majors can explore policy issues, and so on.” Complicated and layered, and yet simple, too: honoring dignity, self-determination, respect. And a university and education professor leading the way.


George Corser assistant professor of computer science and information systems College of Science, Engineering & Technology George Corser’s educational background is in the modern sciences. His aspirations in academia, however, call back to ancient Greece. The assistant professor of computer science and information systems knows well the role of technology in learning. Yet his academic ambitions are inspired by the great Greek thinkers who regularly engaged in forums of intellectual debate. “In current times, universities are the center of intellectual activity,” Corser said. “They can provide the kinds of forums ancient Greece had. You can learn information online, but do you really think Plato, Aristotle


and Socrates would have been as effective if they hadn’t met?” Providing a 21st century intellectual forum is at the heart of Corser’s work at SVSU. His efforts extend beyond the classroom. They also involve the community. In August, Corser was responsible for bringing a world-renowned speaker series to the campus when SVSU hosted a TED Talks event. The TED Talks series began in 1984 as a conference where “Technology, Entertainment and Design” converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.

SVSU’s TED Talks featured technology showcases and speakers discussing topics ranging from fatherhood to smartphone security. While Corser spearheaded the idea, he called on students to organize much of the one-day event. Corser’s desire to get students engaged in learning also extends to his research interest: vehicle network privacy, which focuses on network routers installed in vehicles. The technology has obvious practical applications, but using computers to track vehicles raises privacy concerns. “We want to learn about the boundaries,” he said.

“How do you know some system administrator isn’t using this for nefarious purposes? How do we protect ourselves?” Corser was hired at the university in 2014, but he has been familiar with the institution for years. His father — who shares his name — was an SVSU mechanical engineering professor before retiring two decades ago. The younger Corser didn’t join SVSU to follow in his father’s footsteps, however. The university’s relaxed and open work environment appealed to him. “I’ve never had a moment’s doubt about the decision [to teach at SVSU], and I still don’t,” he said.

Marcia Shannon assistant professor of nursing Crystal M. Lange College of Health & Human Services There’s a framed photo in Marcia Shannon’s office showing the assistant professor of nursing flanked by friends, the crests of Mount Everest looming in the background. She points out that the location of the picture is exactly where, years later, someone filmed a video — viewed worldwide — of an avalanche that followed a massive earthquake in Nepal. “That was scary to watch,” she said. While Shannon was safe at SVSU during the spring 2015 earthquake, the disaster struck her on a personal level. She has visited the South Asian nation seven times, including twice while leading a group of SVSU students on study abroad trips.

“Nepal is very near and dear to my heart,” Shannon said. “I’ve been going there for 15 years, and I’ve developed a lot of good friendships.” Seeing the devastation from home, Shannon decided to spearhead a fundraising campaign on campus to support disaster relief and rebuilding. In June, Shannon presented $4,875 in Nepal disaster relief funds to the American Red Cross. “We had to do something,” she said. Shannon’s first visit to the nation happened in 1998, when she and her husband spent their 25th wedding anniversary traveling to the base camp of Mount Everest. Most recently, she took a group of 10 SVSU

students to Nepal in May 2014. They visited health care facilities, both in highly populated communities such as Kathmandu as well as rural regions. They learned about medical practices and medicines used in that part of the world, and presented studies on non-communicable diseases to audiences that included government officials and academic deans. The learning goes both ways, Shannon said. “It’s not just about what we bring to these trips,” she said. “There’s so much to learn from these countries, too.” Shannon hasn’t limited her students’ study abroad experiences to Nepal. Since

arriving at SVSU in 1978, she has led academic expeditions to Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. “There’s great value to service learning and study abroad,” Shannon said. “I wish more students would take advantage of that.” She stressed the importance of understanding other cultures even domestically, considering the growing percentage of minority populations in the United States. “If you can’t see what others are seeing, you’re missing out,” she said. “I haven’t had a single student go on one of these trips and say, ‘I haven’t been changed.’ That’s what I want to do for students: open up the world for them.”



With a new mission to reunite alumni with their alma mater and additional resources to make that homecoming happen, Jim Dwyer and his staff in the SVSU Alumni Relations office have a message for generations of former SVSU students...





his is a story about family. Not the family one is born to. Not the kind one marries into. Not the sort one raises, either. No, this is a story about the family one joins when first attending and then graduating from a university. And this particular story is all about the SVSU family. It is one that includes change, a subject real to every family; a subject often difficult at first to embrace, but that soon becomes a source of invigoration, new life and opportunity to build new traditions. This family story is about moving into a new chapter that parallels the transformation of the university, the strengthening of a region and the return of alumni long absent from a place they once considered home. Since arriving as a student at SVSU in the early 1970s, Detroit native Jim Dwyer, 1976, B.A.; 1985, M.A.T., never left this particular “home.” He was hired at the still-fledgling institution shortly after graduating and through the years has held a variety of roles. Most recently, President Donald J. Bachand appointed Dwyer as executive director of Alumni Relations. The new position meant more than a job change for Dwyer. It represented a shift in the way SVSU engages its former students and helps shape a new vision rethinking how alumni can positively impact the university community. Dwyer and a growing coalition of supporters are sold on that vision. “We want to let our alumni know that they are a very important part of the university’s strategic past, present and

future,” Dwyer said. “We want alumni to know, ‘You’re still family; we need you.’”

New direction

With new resources, staff and tactics, Alumni Relations last winter began rolling out a strategically placed welcome mat meant to invite alumni back. Whereas the department’s goals previously were tied closely to the SVSU Foundation’s initiatives — the two offices even shared a suite until recently — Bachand’s new vision tasks Alumni Relations with inspiring former students to engage with the university in ways extending beyond fund development. Those ways include attending more campus events, serving as mentors to students, hiring them as interns, recruiting future Cardinals, and sharing stories about the SVSU experience with others. “As we seek to advance SVSU’s reputation and draw upon those relationships that can help us recruit bright students, our alumni must be engaged with the university, serving as our ambassadors to a much greater extent and in innovative ways,” Bachand said upon announcing Alumni Relations’ new direction earlier this year. The hope is that new direction will lead to strengthened support from the community. As noted by Bachand and echoed by Dwyer, this is of particular importance in the area of recruitment, where SVSU is navigating the challenges of a declining number of Michigan high school graduates, uncertain state appropriation levels

“We want alumni to know, ‘You’re still family; we need you.’” — Jim Dwyer, speaking about alumni


Refer a new

CARDINAL Alumni know what it takes to succeed at SVSU. That’s why we have created the Refer A Cardinal Program that allows alumni — or other friends — to inform prospective students about SVSU or inform SVSU about prospective students. Learn more about the program on our website and refer a future Cardinal today.


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and competition from other higher education institutions. Alumni are prime candidates to strengthen that community support. Not just because of their contacts in the community, but also because they are the community. Of the university’s 42,000 living graduates, 15,000 reside within the nine counties closest to campus, and 83 percent live in Michigan. Dwyer and his staff aim to build support among alumni exponentially, with every alumnus recruited for the cause becoming recruiters themselves. In other words, Alumni Relations wants to send a proverbial snowball down the hill and watch it build into an avalanche of momentum that talks, walks, shares and supports SVSU’s story. Dwyer believes the benefits alumni experience when reconnecting with SVSU grows that momentum. David Kowalski understands those perks well. The SVSU alumnus — now president and owner of Euclid Automotive in Bay City — has been a beneficiary for years. But it wasn’t always that way.

was able to see me graduate.” And as happens with families and work commitments, other priorities commanded his time and attention. Aside from attending some home football games, Kowalski’s interaction with his SVSU family for years was limited to passing glances out car door windows while driving along Bay Road. “I had no idea what was happening at SVSU,” Kowalski said. He was brought up to speed on the university’s development about a decade ago when his son enrolled there. “When I saw how far [SVSU] had come since I had been here … wow!,” Kowalski said. It’s that same sense of awe he expects other graduates will experience once they re-engage with SVSU. After all, Kowalski’s renewed interest in his alma mater proved a fruitful, fulfilling experience. Whereas once his love of the institution was frozen in time — those recollections of a proud grandmother among many lasting reminders of a remarkable undergraduate experience there — his reunion strengthened his kinship with the school. “There’s this real sense of ‘A sense of belonging’ Thirty-six years ago, Julia Kowalski belonging since I became involved again,” he said. “I belong with this gifted her graduating grandson a university now.” congratulatory card As part of his reunion and a single stick of with SVSU, he joined the gum. Alumni Association’s Board Many may have of Directors in 2010. He seen this as a modest served in that capacity offering, but David until earlier this year Kowalski knew his when he was appointed grandmother. From inaugural chairman of her, this was a tribute the Alumni Ambassadors fit for kings. She had Council, where former watched him honored David Kowalski Board of Directors earlier during SVSU’s members serve as SVSU commencement ambassadors once their terms on ceremony, and the occasion left her the board expire. They also mentor beaming with pride. new board recruits. “Of all her children, of all her Although, not every recruited grandchildren, I was the very first alumnus has to serve on a board in she saw graduate,” the younger order to experience that renewed Kowalski says now of earning his kinship with SVSU. Engagement bachelor’s degree in business of all degrees can benefit both administration in May 1979. “That the former student and their alma was pretty special for her, and that mater. made it special for me.” “This is going to be great for Julia Kowalski died two months the university,” Kowalski said. “By later. saying, ‘We want you to be part of “Looking back, that was one of my something,’ I think SVSU’s relations most memorable moments,” David Kowalski said, “that my grandmother with alumni will blossom.”

Something special

Since Alumni Relations underwent its makeover earlier this year, a number of initiatives have been enacted. Two of the initial changes were substantial and strategic. Alumni Relations for years operated out of one office within a third floor suite in Wickes Hall. Now the department has an entire suite on the first floor, where windows give visitors a view of Alumni Relations before they even enter the building. “We’ve gone from being invisible to being the front door,” Dwyer said. “That demonstrates how our alumni are a priority in this new plan.” Another significant change involves staff size. One of those first floor windows is in the new office of Kevin Schultz, 1992, B.A., director of Alumni Relations. Since his hiring in 2008, he had been the only full-time staff member working for Alumni Relations. Now there are four employees: Dwyer; Schultz; Pamela Wegener, 2013, M.Ed., associate director; and Linda Schmidt, administrative secretary. Schultz says his department’s evolution was inevitable. That

progression largely falls in line with the school’s development. “In the big scheme of things, SVSU and Alumni Relations have been going through this growth, and now we’re really gaining traction,” he said. “We’re starting a whole new era with a new commitment to alumni.” Wegener says the changes have created a comfortable atmosphere in the office and among the alumni who interact with the staff. “It’s been really remarkable,” she said. “It truly feels like home.” Dwyer has been encouraged by early feedback from alumni. “I’ve been incredibly pleased by the reaction of alumni so far,” he said. “Their willingness to get engaged in a variety of ways — whatever their talents — shows that people still realize this place is special.” That feeling of being part of something special at SVSU is contagious, Dwyer said. “As we create this bonding, there’s a sense — our students and those who are pondering enrolling here can see — that when you come to SVSU, you’re a member of the Cardinal family, and we help each other. “In the end, it’s all about family.”


“I chose SVSU because...” “SVSU gave me so many opportunities such as...” “After graduation from SVSU, I...”

Your SVSU story will help to connect and inspire current and future Cardinals. We are proud of your success and your experiences so we want to share them on SVSU’s website and across social media channels. To share those stories go to: SVSU’s Alumni Relations team includes (from left) Jim Dwyer, executive director; Linda Schmidt, administrative assistant; Kevin Schultz, director; Madison Shumate, social media intern and a health science major; and Pamela Wegener, associate director.


Red Pride… Pass it on!

Order yours today online at the Secretary of State: Drive with Red Pride and support the Alumni Legacy Endowed Scholarship fund.

Robert and Jill Loftus are graduates and longtime supporters of the university. They pass on their Red Pride wherever they travel. Literally. By fastening state of Michigan SVSU license plates to their vehicles, the Loftus family not only provide mobile billboards of SVSU excellence, they also support future generations of Cardinals. That’s right — more than 70 percent of the license plate fees fund the Alumni Endowed Legacy Scholarship, which provides tuition aid to children of SVSU alumni.


ALUMNI LEGACY PROGR AM Alumni Relations is building a program to reward alumni families for their continued support across generations. The initiative includes a VIP card for alumni parents, providing personalized service through Alumni Relations and special events for those families while their child is enrolled at SVSU. The program also includes the new Alumni Legacy Endowed Scholarship, given to children of SVSU alumni. Among the inaugural recipients of the scholarship is Peter Gembrowski, who is one of eight members of his immediate family to attend SVSU. Read about his family and their Cardinal heritage on page 20.


AN ALUMNI AFFINITY GROUP Affinity groups are formal — or sometimes informal —

organizations of SVSU alumni who traveled in similar circles during their undergraduate or graduate experience. They are usually affiliated with a college, program of study, athletic team, student organization or “program of distinction.” Alumni Relations leaders plan to ramp up their support of existing groups while advocating for the formation of new organizations. Those interested in organizing an affinity group can contact Alumni Relations at (989) 964-4196. Former students once part of SVSU’s Roberts Fellowship Program, football teams and Greek programs have formed their own respective affinity groups, along with students from other nations such as Saudi Arabia and China. Among the existing affinity groups is the Cardinal Caucus, a collection of Lansing-based SVSU alumni now working in Michigan’s legislative or government offices. REFLECTIONS followed the Cardinal Caucus in a video feature available at or by scanning this code with your smartphone:

Joshua Roesner, 2012, B.A., discusses his work with the Cardinal Caucus, an SVSU alumni affinity group with graduates who work in government posts in Lansing. Roesner and other Cardinal Caucus members are featured in a REFLECTIONS video available online.


The Gembrowski family includes (from left) Grace, Adam, Anne, Mary, Claire, Marty, Kami the dog, Sharon, Peter, Luke and Matthew.

Gembrowski family exemplifies generational commitment to SVSU


n a beautiful breezy June afternoon, the 10 members of the Gembrowski family gather for a photo at their Freeland home where they are hosting yet another graduation party. They laugh, joke and tease each other while the photographer sets up. Once he gives the signal, each brother and sister falls into place unrehearsed as if they’ve done this family photo thing a time or two. In the center is the matriarch, Sharon Gembrowski, 1997,


B.A. She smiles proudly as the camera snaps off a few shots. To the untrained eye, this might look like any old picture. But if you know the story of the Gembrowski family, then you know there’s something else you can see in this photo: a flock of Cardinals. Sharon Gembrowski isn’t the only SVSU grad in the family. Seven of her eight children have either graduated from SVSU or are currently attending, turning most family functions into unofficial alumni outings. “From a very early age we had high expectations for everyone,” she said. “We told them they need a degree, but they could choose the school and program they wanted.” And all but one of those children picked SVSU. The result is what Jim Dwyer, executive director of Alumni Relations, believes is the largest collection of immediate family members to attend SVSU. “I can think of a few families with three or four children, but seven? That’s pretty remarkable.” The Gembrowskis are a model of the kind of generational

The Gembrowski Cardinals

Sharon Gembrowski, 1997, B.A., was far from the last member of her family to attend SVSU. Seven out of eight of her children have graduated from or are enrolled at SVSU.


Grace Hoffman, 2009, B.S.N., now works as a nurse practitioner at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids. Claire Gembrowski, 2011, B.B.A., now works for the lean manufacturing/ purchasing team in Ford Motor Company in Dearborn. Mary Gembrowski, 2013, M.S.O.T., now works as an occupational therapist at Covenant Healthcare in Saginaw. Luke Gembrowski, 2014, B.S.M.E., now works as a mechanical engineer for Nexteer Automotive in Buena Vista Township.

Enrolled at SVSU

Anne Gembrowski is a nursing major. Adam Gembrowski is a computer science major. Peter Gembrowski is a mechanical engineering major.

commitment Dwyer and his Alumni Relations office hope to encourage with new outreach efforts. “They truly are the poster children for what we are trying to accomplish long-term,” Dwyer said. “We want to cultivate a spirit of loyalty to the university, and the Gembrowskis are living our charge: ‘Red Pride … Pass It On.’” Peter Gembrowski, one of the youngest of the Gembrowski children and a freshman at SVSU, was among the first recipients of the Alumni Legacy Endowed Scholarship. Alumni Relations created the scholarship this year to benefit children of alumni. “This program tells our alumni, ‘You are family for life,’” Dwyer said. For this particular family, the SVSU legacy began with Sharon Gembrowski. She enrolled in 1980 after high school, but eventually put her degree on hold when she and her husband, Marty, moved to Grand Rapids. Today, Marty is director of I/S Operations at The Dow Chemical Company.

Though being a mom was a full-time job, she realized it would be wise to finish her degree. She returned to SVSU in fall 1991, just after their fourth child was born. Her education was a sacrifice for the entire family. Sharon’s mother watched the kids so she could go to class. She’d often do her grocery shopping in the middle of the night. It was common in the early 1990s to see her coming to campus to drop off a class assignment, five or six kids in tow. “I remember late at night we would all get together to do our homework,” said oldest daughter, Grace Hoffman, 2009, B.S.N., now a geriatric nurse practitioner in Grand Rapids. “She took us to the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum so we could see where mom went to school. It was great.” Marty Gembrowski boasts that his wife was “insanely disciplined,” keeping checklists and calendars to make sure everything was in order and taking a class or two at a time to get through it. She walked across the stage during commencement in May 1997. A couple weeks later, her twin boys, Peter and Matthew, were born. And on this June day, it’s those twin boys’ high school graduation the family is celebrating. Matthew will be the first child to attend college elsewhere, while his twin brother readies for his first year at SVSU, studying mechanical engineering. “Being part of a big SVSU family is cool,” Peter Gembrowski said. “I’ve always gone to campus to do things with my brothers and sisters. I’m right at home.” Sharon Gembrowski said one of the things she appreciates most about SVSU is the university’s value. All of her children received some form of scholarship to attend and graduated with little to no debt. “SVSU provided an opportunity for my kids to advance their lives,” she said. “I’m just so happy that so many decided to go there.”





eaders in Midland County have always been serious about improving health outcomes for county residents. In 2014, they enlisted a serious research partner to better understand where they stood and what it would take to be a healthier county. The SVSU team of five faculty and 15 students — all undergraduates — spent nearly a year gathering, analyzing and sharing data. Those who selected SVSU for the project were seriously impressed when the team submitted its final report. “We are extremely pleased with the quality of the work performed by SVSU students and faculty,” Sharon Mortensen, president and CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation, said after the report was made available in May 2015. The foundation joined with the Health and Human Services Council of Midland County and other agencies on the study.


“The faculty team met numerous times with our small planning group. They adapted their work to the needs of our community and provided a finished product that will greatly benefit Midland County.” Based on a successful prior study by SVSU — and an exemplary record of community engagement — the Midland County consortium approached the university to lead the research. “We were very satisfied with the work SVSU did on the Midland County needs assessment and the corresponding Midland County Dashboard,” Mortensen said. “The responsiveness of the staff and faculty to our community needs has been outstanding. When it was time to again conduct the health survey, we thought this provided another great opportunity to work with our local university.”

“’s really all about the children, how they’re raised and continuing those positive health behaviors.” — Nathan Peters

‘I’m well ahead of my peers’

While Midland County leaders are pleased with the final product, SVSU faculty and students are thrilled with the learning experience. Nathan Peters, 2015, B.S., worked extensively on the research. County-wide health surveys are typically conducted by phone, but SVSU was committed to going into the community. The exercise science major from Deckerville was among those on the front lines asking people to complete surveys. “It’s amazing to shake the hands of the people you know will benefit from what you’re doing,” he said. “Once families responded, that made me even more proud, because not only are we trying to help the adult population, it’s really all about the children, how they’re raised and continuing those positive health behaviors.”

Peters has begun his graduate program at the University of South Carolina. He received a research and teaching assistantship (full tuition, plus stipend) and plans to complete his Ph.D. in exercise science there. His involvement in this study and other research projects has prepared him well for the demands of graduate school. “Every conference I attend to present research,” he said, “I get asked, ‘Are you doing this for your dissertation?’ SVSU and our kinesiology department have given me every possible tool to be successful. I am very confident that I’m going to be well ahead of my peers.”

More work, more reward

Playing a role in stories such as Peters’ is why Josh Ode, 2001, B.A., professor of kinesiology at the time of the study, returned to his alma mater. In July, Ode accepted an appointment to oversee SVSU’s


community engagement activities as associate vice president for academic affairs. He noted that the team on the Midland study was interdisciplinary, and in his estimation, a prime example of community-based research. “We said, ‘This can be done another way,’ and that’s exactly what we did. We included multiple students in a service-learning project to get data that was requested, and personalized it for Midland. We asked the kind of questions — above the traditional survey that’s done on a regular basis — they wanted to know.” The research process also included meetings every two weeks where students reflected upon what they had learned. “That’s really what service-learning is,” Ode said. “You take what you learn in the classroom, put it into practice, and then you go further. You have students talk and reflect about what works and what doesn’t, identify the challenges, and determine how to move forward.”

Putting the research to work

Many of the students have completed their SVSU degrees and have started careers or graduate school. Faculty will evaluate their research work for scholarly publications and move on to other projects, but they remain in the Great Lakes Bay Region community. That should assist with an important next step: using the research to improve the health of Midland County’s people. Leslie Perry, 2007, M.A., already has submitted grant proposals based on the study’s findings. More Midland-area physicians are writing prescriptions requiring patients to exercise, and she sees a need for these patients to have a dedicated liaison to keep them informed, encouraged and

held accountable. The study identified significant health differences among population groups. For example, 49 percent of respondents with a high school diploma engaged in no physical activity regularly; the same was true for just 11.6 percent of respondents with a bachelor’s degree. As engagement director for Greater Midland, a non-profit group that includes popular facilities such as the Midland Community Center and Tennis Center, Perry wants to see more people take advantage of community assets — many of which are free of charge — for health and wellness. “We have enough programs and resources, but not enough people are using them,” she said.

Lasting benefits

More recommendations and action items will be developed, and eventually a new health study will be needed, but bonds forged between professors and students will continue for many years to come. Peters praised SVSU’s exercise science faculty, especially Becca Schlaaf, B.S., 2008, assistant professor of kinesiology, for how he was mentored. “Faculty want students to be successful,” he said. They encourage students to get outside of the classroom and participate in these community-based research projects. “You can’t get any closer with a faculty member than I have at SVSU. If I would have gone somewhere else, there is no way I could have had the experience I did. I would not be where I am today if I had gone anywhere besides SVSU, and I’m really confident in saying that.”

“That’s really what servicelearning is. You take what you learn in the classroom, put it into practice, and then you go further.”

— Josh Ode Josh Ode, assistant vice president of academic affairs, is pictured here at The Tridge in Midland.




hen Kate Cardinali, 2004, B.F.A., talks about design, you can tell she loves it. But when she starts talking about teaching others, having fun and giving back to the community, that’s when she really gets excited. Cardinali is the owner of Innovative Media Design, a marketing solutions firm located in her hometown of Bay City. IMD is approaching nearly a decade in business and Cardinali is as passionate about it today as the day it was founded. One big reason for that, she said, is because IMD employs interns from SVSU and local high schools. She enjoys working with them to help grow their skill set. “One thing I’ve always focused on is the constant education of students in our area,” she said. “Looking into the future, I hope to continue to build those relationships with local universities like SVSU to help young people.” When Cardinali was a student at SVSU, she held two different internships and studied abroad for a semester in Italy. She said that

experiential learning allowed her to gain valuable experience and confidence. Using that momentum, she launched IMD, and hasn’t looked back since. “I love what I do,” she said. “When you own your own business, you have the ability to do what you want and have fun doing it.” Recently, Cardinali worked with one of her employees — an SVSU student — to design a new logo for the SVSU Alumni Association. She said it was a satisfying experience getting a chance — as an alumna — to work with a current student to create the design. “I’m very proud to work with someone who is in the same program I was 15 years ago,” she said. “It’s pretty awesome to have that connection back to the university.” And it’s an ironic connection, some would say, for a person who can’t spell her last name without the word “Cardinal.” “I received a lot of good direction from faculty and staff when I was at the university,” Cardinali said. “I still remain in touch with several of the faculty and really enjoy working with SVSU.”

Kate Cardinali

Designing ‘real world’ learning for students



Chris Pryor

Having faith in community


hris Pryor, 1995, B.B.A.; 2000, M.Ed., knows his decision to attend SVSU changed his life for the better. Today he helps others see the possibilities of a better life through a college education, earned perhaps, right in their own backyard. The pastor at Victorious Believers Ministries in Saginaw, Pryor preaches a simple equation: salvation + education = success. It was a mantra his father, the late Bishop Marvin C. Pryor, said often. And so attending college after high school was never up for debate in his family. Pryor’s experience at SVSU and the relationships he built while on campus helped him forge a bond with the university that still exists today. He encourages young people in his ministry to attend SVSU, helps fund scholarships for students and is actively involved in a number of programs that bring young people from the Saginaw community to campus. Every other week, he also invites area college students to eat meals cooked by members of his ministry so they can get a taste of home cooking even when away from home. To Pryor, the role of church and university are very similar. “Both exist to educate and better people’s lives,” he said. “I do so from a spiritual

aspect and SVSU does so from the academic side.” More than a decade ago, his connections at SVSU helped lead to a job at pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, where he enjoyed a successful business career. When his father passed away in 2010, Pryor answered the call to serve and assumed his father’s role as the head of the church. During that transition, Pryor sought the advice of former SVSU president Eric Gilbertson. The conversation they shared resonates with Pryor to this day. “We were just sitting in his office reflecting on everything,” Pryor said, “And I remember him saying that leaders always take the time to step back and think. That’s always stayed with me.” Today, the community leader boasts that he “truly bleeds SVSU red.” One of his main goals, he said, is to help youths and adults fulfill their destiny. Pryor has great expectations for the Great Lakes Bay Region and strongly believes the next generation of leaders is being built on the campus of SVSU as well as through his congregation of Victorious Believers Ministries. “My focus is to expand people’s mindsets,” Pryor said. “To show them what else is out there in their life.”


Dave Bobrowski

Grad’s program teaches at-risk and homeless youths in Denver 28 SVSU.EDU

Photo by Glenn Asakawa


omewhere in Denver, Colorado, a teenager is on a computer and he is smiling. He’s learned things he never thought he would, accomplished things he never thought he could, and now can see a future that once was only a dream. And he has SVSU alum Dave Bobrowski, 2010, B.S., to thank for that. Bobrowski is the founder of a program called TechBridge, which focuses on teaching technical skills to at-risk and homeless Denver youths, ages 15 to 24. The program gives students the opportunity to learn basic skills in Microsoft Office and Internet usage before expanding into more complex topics like Web development and eventually business analysis and database management. Founded just over a year ago, Bobrowski said nearly 40 students have worked with TechBridge. “I want to give these youths the skill sets and knowledge to help place them in a job and work through that culture shock of getting into work for the first time,” he said. By day a business analysis team leader for the city and county of Denver, Bobrowski had the idea for TechBridge for some time but needed additional resources and support to get it off the ground. He partnered with a local organization called Arts Street, which has a similar mission but focuses on visual arts, music and theater. Together, the two organizations partnered with Urban Peak, an established shelter and educational facility for homeless youth that has been serving the Denver area for more than 25 years.

“I aim to shape TechBridge into an end-toend service for these youth,” Bobrowski said. “Starting from mentorships all the way to job placement and coaching through the first six months of employment.” Bobrowski said his passion for serving the community really blossomed during his time as a student at SVSU. During his capstone computer information systems course, Scott James, professor of computer science and information systems, talked to the class about the value of using their skills to work on community projects. Bobrowski said those “life lessons” stuck with him. “[James] was the one who really started talking about finding projects that could benefit the community,” Bobrowski said. “We talked a lot in that class about working with schools, organizations or businesses that just couldn’t afford the kinds of services we were able to provide.” After graduation, Bobrowski served as a volunteer police officer in the Coleman Police Department reserves. There, he started to recognize the importance of proactive programs and opportunities to keep kids out of trouble. That experience, coupled with the birth of his own daughter, helped him appreciate the value of working with young people. And now that he’s founded TechBridge in Denver, he has aspirations to grow the program to help even more kids. “Some of these kids are really struggling and I don’t want to see that,” he said. “I want to be proactive in helping them stay out of the criminal justice system and help them find success in the future.”



Shantinique Beverly From charter school to SVSU: Paying it forward


ew SVSU alumna Shantinique Beverly, 2015, B.S., turned a blue-collar work ethic into a Red Pride success story, her supporters say. The health sciences graduate enrolled at the university thanks in part to an SVSU program that provided the Detroit native with both a scholarship and staff support tailored specifically for students such as Beverly who attended a charter school. Since then, she has remained on a mission to pay forward the help she received from others. “That scholarship was a very important opportunity for me,” Beverly said. “It brought me here, and I’ve been so thankful to be at SVSU. It’s been a great experience.” And she’s not done with SVSU yet — her next step is to finish a Master of Science in Health Administration & Leadership. Then she plans to seek a job as an administrator in a medical facility. Beverly’s ultimate career goal is to become a nurse anesthetist. That longterm goal means more school is in her future, but she is excited for the opportunities her education will provide. One of Beverly’s key supporters was Roberto Garcia, a school improvement and transition specialist in SVSU’s School and University Partnerships office. Garcia and the office staff began working with Beverly when she graduated from Detroit-based M.L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts. Beverly was one of about 100 students benefiting from an SVSU program that provides staff and scholarship support specifically for charter

school graduates. “I think the world of her,” Garcia said. “She’s a blue collar student who stayed committed to her education and was really resilient. She’s a great example of a charter school success story.” Some of that success story was told in the way she helped others. After making a connection at an SVSU career fair, Beverly joined the United Way of Saginaw County’s Healthy Kids Healthy Futures Partnership AmeriCorps program. There, she utilized her SVSU education to implement programs promoting better health in children ages 7 to 11 who attended the AmeriCorps initiative at Saginaw’s Salvation Army headquarters. “I really enjoy helping other people,” she said of the experience. “Knowing I’m making an impact feels good.” SVSU opened the door to other opportunities for Beverly, too. She was among eight students who participated in a faculty-led study abroad trip to Ghana in January 2013. The trip, led by Joseph OforiDankwa, SVSU’s Harvey Randall Wickes Chair in International Studies, and Mamie Thorns, special assistant to the president for diversity programs, included a visit to an abandoned castle where centuries ago captors housed slaves. “It was such a humbling experience,” Beverly said. Beverly said she is grateful for all the opportunities she’s had because of SVSU. “I couldn’t see myself going anywhere else.”


Brandon Skwirsk

Paging Dr. Skwirsk


ome students don’t discover their career callings until college. Brandon Skwirsk, 2015, B.S., on the other hand, knew he wanted to join the medical field before he reached his teens. Still, it was his experience as an undergraduate at SVSU that sealed the proverbial deal. A combination of classroom studies and field-based learning provided the Flint native with definitive proof that his plan to pursue a career as an ER doctor was more than a childhood phase. “I fell in love with it here,” Skwirsk said of the way his SVSU experience reinforced his passion for the medical field. Beyond learning in demanding classes, Skwirsk had opportunities to job shadow ER doctors and help communities. He participated in a unique SVSU initiative known as the medical scribe program, which tasks students with helping Covenant HealthCare physicians create medical documentation. Then, as a member of SVSU’s chapter of the Phi Delta Epsilon fraternity for prospective medical doctors, he helped raise more than $6,000 for Hurley Medical Center’s Children’s Miracle Network in 2013. “It really validated what I wanted to do,” Skwirsk said of those opportunities. “This definitely prepared me for where I’m going.” This fall, he began his studies as a medical student at the Michigan State University


College of Human Medicine. Gary Lange, professor of biology and one of Skwirsk’s mentors, notes his former student “is bound to make SVSU proud” in his medical career. “Brandon impresses me with his intelligence, care and dedication to his academic studies,” Lange said. “In all the classes he has taken from me, Brandon immersed himself into his work to deeply understand the specific field of biology. All students strive to understand the general concepts of a course, but Brandon delved significantly deeper into the subjects to discover universal principles about the study of life.” Skwirsk’s out-of-the-classroom learning included participating in the university’s Alternative Breaks program, which sends volunteers to locations across the globe during college winter and spring breaks. In December 2011, he traveled to San Francisco, where he helped victims of homelessness. “The experience of working in a community has been invaluable,” said Skwirsk, who rarely misses a chance to donate blood when local organizations set up donation centers on campus. As he begins the next chapter of his life — med school — Skwirsk already is a nostalgic alumnus. “Every chapter has to have an ending,” he said. “I’m just glad this is where I spent mine.”




Becca Schlaff and Meghan Baruth

Duo’s research project to boost healthy lifestyles and student opportunities


f you ask assistant professors Meghan Baruth and Becca Schlaff which they like best — teaching or research — they will each answer “both” and say their ability to do both at SVSU is a big reason they are happy to be at the university. And perhaps what they enjoy most is the active engagement of students in research. This opportunity, they argue, is experiential learning at its best, gives SVSU students a competitive edge for grad school acceptance, and enhances students’ confidence, communication and critical learning skills. REFLECTIONS spoke to Baruth, assistant professor of health sciences, and Schlaff, 2008, B.S., assistant professor of kinesiology, about a recent research project they oversaw. What prompted this research project? SCHLAFF: Ultimately, we want to develop our own behavioral intervention program through original research. That will happen next thanks to a grant from the Allen Foundation Student/Faculty Research Grant, where we will look at developing a behavioral intervention program for pregnant women that addresses both diet and activity.

BARUTH: We have similar interests in looking at physical activity and healthy eating, so it was easy for us to get together and decide on a project that was evidence-, intervention- and community-based. Describe the intent of the current project, “Improving Health Behaviors Among Older Adults.” BARUTH: We worked with inactive adults over age 50 to develop strategies that addressed eating better and exercising more. SCHLAFF: Much of the time with our participants was discussion-centered, talking about goal setting, self-monitoring and also creating an environment for social support. How did the SVSU students benefit? BARUTH: Three students actually led the research. They coordinated finding participants, led measurement and education sessions, worked one-on-one with participants and entered data. SCHLAFF: I love the fact that one of the things they learned is that research isn’t perfect and there is value in failure. Our students get to be engaged and do work at the undergraduate level that is often seen at the graduate level.

REFLECTIONS asked the three students involved with the SVSU project to discuss their experience. All noted it was Baruth and Schlaff’s passion and mentoring that gave them confidence and clarity. This put them on a well-planned path to graduate school. Nathan Peters, 2015, B.S., is enrolled in a Ph.D. program in exercise science at the University of South Carolina. Ultimately, he hopes to perform research and teach at the college level. This is what he had to say: Dr. Schlaff helped me see that I could do research and teaching rather than either/or, as I love them both. Dr. Baruth talked in class about her own research at University of South Carolina and it was just what I wanted. My advisor at USC said that most applications just offer basic GRE and ACT scores but my vitae read like someone with a master’s degree. Tatum Goldufsky, 2015, B.S., is enrolled in Michigan State University’s Master of Human Nutrition with a full graduate assistantship. Goldufsky also plans to become a registered dietician, pursue a Ph.D., perform research and teach at the college level. This is what Goldufsky had to say:

I talked a lot to Dr. Baruth, who helped me see I could marry my passions for communitybased health, nutrition, physical activity and teaching. Dr. Schlaff sparked my interest in MSU. Both faculty members knew I was very shy and pushed and challenged me. I am where I am because of them. Valerie Adams, 2015, B.S., is enrolled in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Duke University. Ultimately, she plans to open a physical therapy clinic and specialize in women’s health. This is what Adams had to say: Dr. Schlaff gave me the courage to approach her because she made it clear in class that she cared about us as people. So, after class, I introduced myself and learned we had a mutual interest in nutrition. She encouraged me in my research efforts and became my honors thesis advisor. The skills I gained from research ranged from learning to look at the big picture to communications, developing an inquisitive view, confidence, working with all members of a team and taking things in stride. For sure, these experiences helped my acceptance into Duke.




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CLASS NOTES We want to hear from you! Send your Class Notes information and a high resolution photo to: Mail to: SVSU, Alumni Relations, 7400 Bay Road, University Center MI 48710

GUIDE TO DEGREES 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 in Electrical Engineering (B.S.E.E.) Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (B.S.M.E.) Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) Education Specialist (Ed.S.) 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.) Master of Science (M.S.) Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T.)

1960S Roselyn Argyle, 1966, B.A., held the grand opening of Great Lakes PACE in April. Opening the allinclusive senior care center has been a long-time dream of hers and will help the elderly community in the region.

1970S Kathy Lopez, 1978, B.A., College of Education certification officer, was recognized for her 30 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet April 10. Sandra Niedergall, 1985, B.A.

Congratulations to the 1984 men’s golf team for being inducted into the 2015 SVSU Cardinal Athletic Hall of Fame in September.

David Gilmour, 1981, B.A., deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs at the Department of State, was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as ambassador to the Togolese Republic, Department of State.

Colleen Booms deBeauclair, 1984, B.S.N., one of SVSU’s most accomplished SVSU female track and field student-athletes, was inducted into the 2015 SVSU Cardinal Athletic Hall of Fame.

Gail Goestenkors, 1985, B.A., was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame with a long list of accomplishments from her time with the NCAA, USA National Team and SVSU.

Trish Burns, 1988, B.A., former director for the Public Libraries of Saginaw, accepted the role of director for the Bay County Library System in March.

Nancy Graebner, 1986, B.B.A., CEO of St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea Hospital, was selected to serve on the Board of Directors of Chelsea State Bank.

Emmie Busch, 1989, B.A.; 1993, M.A., coordinator of scholarships and development communications for SVSU Foundation, was recognized for her 20 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet.

Janet Greif, 1984, B.A.; 1998, M.Ed., former principal of Midland Public High School, was selected in early April to serve as superintendent for Bay City Public Schools.


Daniel Horne, 1989, M.B.A., was appointed associate dean of the Providence College School of Business in Providence, Rhode Island.

Douglas Newcombe, 1982, B.B.A.; 1987, M.B.A., retired from his superintendent position with Bay City Public Schools after serving the district for 25 years.

Tim Inman, 1989, B.A.; 1996, M.A.T., director of photography, advertising and publishing services for University Communications, was recognized for his 30 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet.

Sandra Niedergall, 1985, B.A., was promoted to senior associate athletic director for compliance and senior women’s administrator at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Vicki Rupp, 1983, B.S., was appointed to the Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control.

Scott James, 1989, B.S., professor of computer science and information systems, was recognized for his 15 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet. Gary Lange, 1986, B.S., professor of biology, was recognized for his 20 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet. Patrick McInnis, 1988, B.A., was appointed to the Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control.

Rebecca Sczepanski, 1987, B.B.A., presented about legal issues regarding fiduciary status and identification of ERISA and state law fiduciaries at the Savannah Fiduciary Seminar in Georgia. Thomas Trombley, 1980, B.A., received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Michigan Historic Preservation Network.




Mary Aumann, 1995, B.B.A., manager of enterprise applications for SVSU’s Information Technology Services, was recognized for her 25 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet.

Gregory Baade, 2013, B.S., former track and cross country athlete for SVSU, won the Mount Clemens Marathon Let’s Move Festival of Races event April 25 with a finishing time of 2:55:16.0.

Marcilyn Daniels, 1992, B.A., former general sales manager of WEYI-WBSF in Flint, was appointed to vice president and general manager of Nexstar Broadcasting Group’s NBC affiliate WETM TV 18 in Elmira, New York. John Flores, 1990, B.B.A.; 1997, M.Ed., assistant director of SVSU’s Academic Advisement Center, was recognized for his 25 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet. Jennifer Harden, 1997, B.A., earned her master’s degree of library and information science from Wayne State University on May 7, graduating with honors. James Hernandez, 1996, B.S.W.; 2012, M.Ed., Financial Aid advisor, was recognized for his 15 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet. Trisha Heintskill, 1999, B.A.; 2004 M.Ed., associate director of Scholarships and Financial Aid, was recognized for her 15 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet. Michael Holliday, 1992, B.S., manager of the information technology support center for Information Technology Services, was recognized for his 25 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet.

Bill Vitti, 1993, B.B.A.

Roselyn Nekervis, 1991, B.A.; 1996, M.A.T., received the Covington Honor by being chosen as Executive of the Year Member for her work at Midland, Bullock Creek and Coleman community schools.

Amy Bushey, 2000, M.Ed., social studies teacher at H.H. Dow High School in Midland, received the 2015 Dow High Saginaw Valley League Teacher of the Year Award.

Jason Swackhamer, 1997, B.A.; 2004, M.A., director of SVSU’s Web Communications, was recognized for his 10 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet.

Bryan Crainer, 2006, B.A.; 2011, M.Ed., SVSU’s associate dean for Student Life and Leadership Programs, was awarded the Outstanding Adviser Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for District 5. He was recognized for his work as adviser for Forever Red.

Gloria Turner, 1995, B.B.A., periodicals assistant for the Melvin J. Zahnow Library, was recognized for her 25 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet. Robert Tutsock, 1999, B.S., director of environmental health and safety for Campus Facilities, was recognized for his 25 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet. Daniel Villaire, 1990, B.A.; 1996, M.A.T., lecturer of English, was recognized for his 10 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet.

Dennis Kula, 1990, B.B.A., was elected Bangor Township supervisor by the township’s Board of Trustees.

Bill Vitti, 1993, B.B.A., was hired as chief sales officer for Internet Truckstop Group, where he will split time between the Arizona and Idaho offices.

John LaPrad, 1998, B.S.; 2009, M.A., manager of technical services for Information Technology Services, was recognized for his 20 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet.

Melissa Woodward, 1999, B.A., administrative secretary for Sponsored Programs, was recognized for her 15 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet.


Andrea Bridgewater, 2009, M.A., was elected vice president of the Disability Network of Mid-Michigan’s board of directors.

Jessica DeVerney-McLaughlin, 2009, B.A., is the new strategic grant specialist for the Grants and Contacts office for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. She transferred to this position from the tribe’s Planning department after five years. Brett Elliott, 2009, B.A., was selected to serve as executive director of the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Gregory Green, 2001, M.Ed., principal of Clintondale Community Schools in Clinton Township, was appointed by the Board of Education to replace the retiring superintendent. He assumed this role in August.

Brian Harmon, 2006, B.A., was one of the 25 agents from the Michigan Department of Corrections to receive the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM) award for 2014. Harmon is a Macomb County probation officer. Joseph Hickey, 2008, B.A., independent author of the young adult series “Secret Seeker Society,” released the third book of the series in June. The second book in the series placed 8th in the World’s Best Story contest, and his first book has been on the Amazon best-sellers list. Dawn Iseler, 2002, B.B.A.; 2004, M.B.A., director of auxiliary operations for SVSU Housing Operations, was recognized for her 15 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet. Barbara Jacques, 2001, M.A.T., music teacher for Midland Public Schools, received the 2015 Gerstacker Teacher Proficiency Award during a May celebration. Jeffrey Jaster, 2003, M.Ed., former Northeast Middle School principal, accepted the position as Midland High School principal. He assumed the role in July. Clayton Johnson, 2004, B.S., became a partner with the region’s largest law firm, Braun Kendrick. Mark Kunitzer, 2007, B.B.A., was hired as assistant systems manager for Yeo and Yeo Computer Consulting. Brady Lake, 2006, M.Ed., was hired as the new principal for Caledonia High School during a unanimous decision by the school’s Board of Education. Kenneth Lee, 2004, B.A., former associate attorney with Hubbard Snitchler and Parzianello PLC, was hired as attorney with McKeen and Associates in Detroit. He will practice personal injury and medical malpractice.

EMAIL YOUR ALUMNI NEWS TO: Mail to: SVSU, Alumni Relations, 7400 Bay Road, University Center MI 48710

Ryan Peruski, 2008, B.B.A., joined Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP’s Detroit office as an associate in the Insurance Department.

Tori Otstot, 2008, B.A.

Sarah McAlpine, 2006, B.B.A.; 2009, M.A., was promoted to talent acquisition brand manager for Truven Health Analytics in Ann Arbor. Philip Mikulski, 2001, M.Ed.; 2008, Ed.S., former Gaylord High School principal, was hired as the West Branch-Rose City Area Schools superintendent. He began this role in July. Kristy Navarro, 2009, B.A., became an associate attorney at Sarah’s Law Firm in Alma after recently graduating with her Juris Doctor degree from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. Mark Novak, 2006, T.C., was named Baseball Coach of the Year by The Midland Daily News for his work at Meridian Schools. Tori Otstot, 2008, B.A., English teacher at Bruton High School in Williamsburg, Virginia, received the High School Teacher of the Year Award and the York County School Division Teacher of the Year award. Lindsay Oswald, 2002, B.B.A., grant writer for St. Joseph County, was appointed to county clerk and register of deeds. Oswald began this position in July. Jennifer Pahl, 2000, B.B.A.; 2004 M.B.A., director of SVSU Admissions, was recognized for her 15 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet.

Craig Pfenninger, 2004, B.A.; 2008, M.Ed., accepted a position as principal for UnionvilleSebawaing Area Schools. Timothy Rex, 2002, B.A., administrative secretary for the Melvin J. Zahnow Library, was recognized for his 20 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet. Ronald Trepkowski, 2001, M.A., chief of University Police, was recognized for his 35 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet. He plans to retire in January, 2016. Michael Villano, 2001, B.A., standout SVSU baseball player from 1991-94, was inducted into the 2015 SVSU Cardinal Athletic Hall of Fame. Nicholas Wagner, 2004, B.A.; 2007, M.A.T., director of Institutional Research at SVSU, received the Mary H. Anderson Adjunct Faculty Award during the 2015 All University Awards Banquet.

2010S Valerie Adams, 2015, B.S., is enrolled in the highly competitive Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Duke University. She is also planning on getting her Ph.D. in epidemiology in the future. Rashed Aldubayyan, 2015, B.S., is attending George Mason University’s master’s program in applied information technology. He plans to become an information technology project manager. Robin Allen, 2010, M.A.T., was named Midland Daily News Softball Coach of the Year after leading Midland High to its best season in years. Sydney Allen, 2010, B.A., is now the communications and outreach coordinator at George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center. Adeline Bauer, 2010, B.S., who graduated with her Doctor of Optometry degree in 2014 from the Michigan College of Optometry, is now participating in a Cornea and Contact Lens residency there. When completed, Bauer will head to Marquette to begin her career in an Ophthalmology practice. Meghan Bauer, 2011, B.A., was hired at the Carilion Clinic Neuropsychology department as neuro-psychometrician in Roanoke, Virginia.

Shantinique Beverly, 2015. B.S., is attending SVSU’s Master of Science in Health Administration and Leadership Program. When complete, she plans to seek a job as an administrator in a medical facility. Lindsey Bulgrien, 2014, M.S.N., joined Deckerville Healthcare Services Rural Health Clinic in April. Tiara Cameron, 2014, B.A., was hired in March at Delta College as a document management specialist. Ashley Chrysler, 2012, B.A., was a member of Michigan State University College of Law Team that won the nation’s largest law school-level moot court competition at the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy competition in Chicago this April. She also received an award for ninth-place oralist. Amy Cooper, 2012, M.A.T., math teacher at Valley Lutheran High School, received the Distinguished Lutheran Secondary Educator Award from the Lutheran Education Association. Amanda Dunford, 2013, B.A., former public relations specialist for the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, was hired as an associate at Lambert, Edwards & Associates in Detroit. Jacob Dunkerson, 2013, M.S.O.T.; 2015, B.S., was accepted into the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program and doctoral program at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. There, he is being trained in the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center.

Jason Wolverton, 2007, B.A.; 2014, M.B.A., former Marketplace at Doan director at SVSU, received the Terry Ishihara Award for Outstanding Co-Curricular Involvement staff award during the 2015 All University Awards Banquet. Tish Yaros, 2003, B.A.S., administrative secretary for Information Technology Services, was recognized for her 20 years of service at SVSU during the All University Awards Banquet.

Joshua Fleming, 2013, B.A., is attending the University of Michigan’s prestigious Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy on a full scholarship.

Valerie Adams, 2015, B.S.


Patrick Fryfogle, 2015, B.S., received a job offer at Dow Corning Corp. after his time as a laboratory co-op student there. Kyle Hall, 2014, B.S., was one of the six SVSU students who passed the national board exam for athletic training, giving the school a 100 percent pass rate. Andrea Hasse, 2010, M.Ed., was hired as the new principal of Hamilton-Parsons Elementary School in Leonard, Michigan. Samantha Jackson, 2015, B.A., is attending the University of Michigan Law School. She hopes to become an attorney. Jonathon Jennings, 2014, B.B.A., former SVSU quarterback, signed with the Canadian Football League’s British Columbia Lions in April. Rebecca Kinder, 2013, B.S., started in March as an associate recruiter for Quicken Loans. Joseph King, 2012, B.B.A., joined the Isabella Bank Investment and Trust team as a financial advisor. Sarah Krohn, 2014, B.A., joined the Joseph M. Day Company in Saginaw as service coordinator for the Boiler Service Group. James L. Leavitt, 2014, B.S., was one of the six SVSU students who passed the national board exam for athletic training, giving the school a 100 percent pass rate. Evan Linskey, 2015, B.A., is attending Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs to pursue his master’s degree. He hopes to work in watershed environmental management.

Lexee Longwell, 2015, B.A., this summer traveled to London to join the Ovation Limited Theatre Co. as an intern at the arts group’s venue, Upstairs At The Gatehouse. She hopes to become an actress, using the experience gained through her appearances in 19 SVSU productions. April Lukowski, 2015, B.S., is attending the University of Michigan’s Ph.D. program in chemical biology. Stephanie Marr, 2015, B.A., has been chosen for the English Teaching Fellowship by Heart for Change, an organization that brings English teachers to Colombia. After teaching in Colombia, Marr hopes to teach in China, Taiwan and South Korea.

Terrance Moore, 2015, B.A.

Colin Ohl, 2013, B.P.A., earned his certified public accountant certification in January and is a CPA with the Michigan Department of Treasury. Kyle Parks, 2015, B.P.A., joined McMahan, Thomson and Associates of Midland as a staff accountant.

Blake Mazur, 2015, B.A., was hired by Hollywood Studios in Orlando’s Walt Disney World as a full-time audio technician.

Adam Pelc, 2013, B.P.A., earned the title of member experience advocate supervisor at Catholic Federal Credit Union.

Paige Mielke, 2015, B.S., was one of the six SVSU students who passed the national board exam for athletic training, giving the school a 100 percent pass rate.

Alyssa Pollard-McGrandy, 2014, B.S., was one of the six SVSU students who passed the national board exam for athletic training, giving the school a 100 percent pass rate.

Susan Mokrzycki, 2011, M.A.T., special education teacher at Warren-Mott High School, received the Excellence in Education Award from the Michigan Lottery. Terrance Moore, 2015, B.A., is attending police academy. He has worked as a deputy corrections officer for the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Department at the Saginaw County Jail for two years and will be able to accomplish his goal of becoming a patrolling deputy once he graduates from the academy.

Kristi Lizyness, 2015, B.S., is attending the medical program at Michigan State University College of Medicine.

Jessica Morrison, 2010, B.S., received her Ph.D. in microbiology, cell and molecular biology from Oklahoma State University, where she is now a postdoctoral researcher.

Jonathon Lockwood, 2015, B.A., accepted a position at Michigan College Access Network as an AdviseMI adviser.

Marie Nesbitt, 2014, B.A., was hired as a supply chain information management specialist for The Dow Chemical Co.


Robin Shisler, 2013, B.S.N, received the Women in Transition $2,000 scholarship from the Midland American Association of University Women to pursue her doctor of nursing degree at the University of Michigan-Flint.

Katie Polzin, 2010, B.A., was offered the program coordinator position for the Defiance County Juvenile Court and Probation of Ohio by the judge of that district. Teresa Potter, 2011, B.S., received First Team recognition from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School award for East Jordan High School. Garrick Salois, 2015, B.A., is attending University of Rochester’s Ph.D. program in neuroscience to study for a career in brain research. He found this career path through his work in SVSU’s Brain Research Laboratory. Luke Sheppard, 2015, B.S., was hired by Bridgeport Middle School as a full-time math teacher. He did his student teaching at the school prior to graduation and will now work there with his older brother, Caleb Sheppard, 2011, B.A.

Micah Skidmore, 2015, B.P.A., First Team All-GLIAC recipient for men’s golf, joined the Rehmann Group financial firm as a fulltime accountant in the Rehmann Robson tax division. Brandon Skwirsk, 2015, B.S., is attending the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. He hopes to become an emergency room doctor. Jared Slater, 2015, B.S., was one of the six SVSU students who passed the national board exam for athletic training, giving the school a 100 percent pass rate. Miranda Strasburg, 2015, B.S., is attending Oxford, Ohiobased Miami University’s Ph.D. program in ecology, evolution and environmental biology. She hopes to become a biology professor. Cally Taylor, 2011, B.S., was hired as new member relations director at the Greater Midland Community Center. Yulia Ward, 2012, B.A., opened the Old Town Pizzeria in Saginaw with business partner Chris Chapin. Joshua Wenzlaff, 2015, B.S., was one of the six SVSU students who passed the national board exam for athletic training, giving the school a 100 percent pass rate. Zachary Wenzlick, 2015, B.S., received a job offer at Dow Corning Corp. after his time as a laboratory co-op student there. Kim Zurawski, 2013, B.A., was hired as a social studies teacher for Deckerville schools.



Jenn Boehm, 2003, B.B.A., and her husband J.J., 2006, M.A., welcomed their daughter, Caroline Mary Boehm, on June 6.

Eugene Bricault, 1994, B.A. - March 16

Nic Taylor, 2003, B.A.; 2007, M.Ed., and wife Jaclyn welcomed Brooks Robert Taylor on May 15.

Donald Buschlen, 1974, M.A.T. - June 21 Angela Davis, 2001, B.S.W. - April 29

John Pittel, 2004, B.A., and wife Kim, 2003, B.A., welcomed their son Alan John “AJ� Pittel on March 23.

Lori Denter, 1995, B.S.W. - July 8 Agnes Freeman, 1981, M.A.T. - May 12

Andrew Smith, 2008, B.S.M.E., and wife Ashley, 2009, B.S.M.E., 2014, M.B.A., welcomed Sawyer Jean Smith on April 16.

Loretta Getson, 1975, B.A. - February 11 Alan John Pittel, 2004, B.A.

Christopher Grappin, 2013, B.S.M.E. - May 15

WEDDINGS Brian Dawson 2014, B.B.A., announced his engagement to Rachel Rombalski, 2013, M.S.O.T. William Flynn, 2010, B.B.A., announced his marriage to Kylie Hart.

Steven Gorden, 1989, B.B.A. - May 10

Michael Knapp, 1988, B.B.A. - February 19 Chad S. Panek, 2012, B.S.N., announced his marriage to Karen A. Dise.

Joanne Koch, 1980, B.B.A. - February 19 Walter Lashore, 1973, B.B.A. - April 14

Joseph T. Pacek, 2005, B.A., married Jenna A. Kruchkow on May 15.

Ellen Laury, 1974, B.A. - March 1 Norene Mallory, 1977, B.A. - June 3

Andrea Gibbs, 2005, B.B.A., announced her marriage to Joshua Bond. Hailey Haremski, 2011, B.B.A., announced her marriage to Kurtis Neuwirth. Michael Mertz, 2012, B.B.A., announced his marriage to Whitney Walding, 2013, B.P.A. Samantha A. Noah, 2010, B.P.A., announced her marriage to Brian D. Michael

Joseph Rau, 2010, B.B.A., married Erin E. Little on May 1. Victoria E. Smith, 2015, B.S., announced her marriage to Matthew C. Grundas.

Joseph McLearn, 2006, M.A.T. - May 8 Kerri Michalowski, 1982, B.S. - March 19 James Newton, 1977, B.A. - August 3

Bridget Sobek, 2009, B.A., announced her marriage to Alexander Dobyan.

Ruth Owczarzak, 1989, B.B.A. - February 25 Jane Ponder, 1985, B.S.W. - January 23

Cody Witter, 2013, B.B.A., married Eric Becker, 2013, B.A., on June 8 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Vance Richards, 1972, B.A. - March 6 Renee Sharon, 2013, M.S.N. - March 19 Jane Tobias, 1994, B.A. - April 2 Victoria Tringal, 1991, M.A.T. - February 3 Robert Turvey, 1988, B.S. - August 3 Kenneth Wightman, 1983, B.S. - March 3

Cody Witter, 2013, B.B.A. married Eric Becker, 2013, B.A.



Campaign celebration:



hen you believe that real needs and opportunities never end and that every student and student experience matters, then you must also believe that every gift makes a difference. Every gift. Every gift counts. Every donor matters. Every recipient benefits. Everyone wins — students, faculty, families, community and corporate partners. Every one. During the Talent. Opportunity. Promise. campaign, gifts ranged from $1 to $5 million. Gifts came from community supporters, alumni, students, faculty, families, foundations and corporations. And each and every one of them counted. Each gift has helped fund scholarships and support faculty, enabled the university the ability to create programs that attract students, and enhanced the learning experiences of thousands of students here on campus as well as in the Great Lakes Bay Region. That is why we gratefully celebrate the successful completion of our most recent regional fundraising effort, Talent. Opportunity. Promise.

Celebrating student success and campaign results

Standing in front of a display listing the names of the donors for the Talent. Opportunity. Promise. campaign are the campaign chairs and President Donald J. Bachand. Shown here are (from left) D. Brian Law, John A. Decker, Bachand, Herbert A. Spence III, and Jenée L. Velasquez.

biochemistry major. “Conventional testing requires an 18- to 24-hour incubation period of the sample. The rapid testing we use can yield results in four hours. Like many college students, Emily Greeson spent much of “It’s exciting that our work gives us real experience using her summer working. Unlike many college students, Greeson’s specialized equipment, and it provides a benefit to the work was an opportunity to be engaged in applied learning, community.” while making a difference in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Greeson was happy to talk about her experiences with Greeson, along with other SVSU students, worked in the guests at an open house celebrating the SVSU department of chemistry successful completion of the campaign. research lab processing water The Sept. 16 event acknowledged the many samples from the Saginaw Bay. donors who supported the university during The beach monitoring endeavor the campaign and involved SVSU students, is a collaborative effort between faculty and staff who served as ambassadors SVSU and the Bay County Health to talk to guests about the impact of private Department and represents one support. of many projects managed by “When we say every gift counts, we can the Saginaw Bay Environmental also say that these gifts are already doing Science Institute at SVSU. SBESI is what they were designed to do,” President a new research, STEM learning and Donald J. Bachand said. “The university has community partner-based program Attendees gathered around campaign displays at the already begun to attract more talented focused on watershed work Sept. 16 celebration. students and faculty, provide a broader and receives funds from Talent. population of students access to college, Opportunity. Promise. campaign and build and support programs that position the university gifts. as an even stronger partner in shaping a robust future for the “We were providing rapid bacteria testing of recreational region and state.” waters in the Saginaw Bay Watershed,” said Greeson, a


According to Andrew J. Bethune, executive director of the SVSU Foundation, $28 million was contributed to the campaign, exceeding its goal of $25 million. “The community’s overwhelming support of the campaign demonstrates its commitment to SVSU and confidence in the university to provide opportunities and academic programs that prepare students for the work force and to be active citizens,” Bethune said. Throughout the course of the evening celebration, hundreds of SVSU supporters enjoyed 11 display areas, each manned by deans, faculty and students who talked about the opportunities made possible through support of the campaign. During a brief presentation, guests heard remarks from Bachand; Jenée Velasquez, executive director of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation and campaign co-chair; Scott Carmona, owner of Sunrise National Distributors and chair of the SVSU Board of Control; George Copeland, a management major; and Bethany Thrun, a nursing major. Guests also viewed the campaign’s new donor recognition wall, which lists the names of more than 4,000 individuals and organizations that supported SVSU over the course of the campaign. “SVSU is an outstanding educational value and a pillar in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Dow is proud to offer its support,” said Rob Vallentine, president and executive director of The

Dow Chemical Company Foundation and Dow’s director of global citizenship. “The university is preparing students for the workforce of tomorrow and leading our region to success in a very competitive global marketplace.” SVSU is highly successful at preparing students for viable careers and community-engaged lives, which contributes to the success of our region. That is, in no small part, thanks to the private support of its donors. Every one of them.

Andrew J. Bethune, executive director of SVSU Foundation, speaks at the Sept. 16 event.



George Copeland, a management major, talks to John D. L. Humphreys, chair of the SVSU Foundation Board of Directors. Humphreys’ wife, Martha, and Nicholas Sanislo, a health science major, listen in during the Sept. 16 campaign celebration.

Mamie T. Thorns, special assistant to the president for Diversity Programs, and Michael Hayes, president and CEO of the Midland Center for the Arts and Sciences, converse. Vicki Rupp, new member of the SVSU Board of Control, listens in.


The most recent three SVSU presidents attended the Sept. 16 event. They are Jack M. Ryder, Donald J. Bachand and Eric R. Gilbertson.

SUPPORT MAKING A DIFFERENCE The Talent. Opportunity. Promise. campaign began in 2010, was launched on campus in 2012 and went public in spring 2013. Gifts to the campaign have “touch points” with every college and helped create programs that are student-specific as well as communitypartnership based. Gifts also enabled the creation of a new endowed chair position, an expansion of a teacher leadership development program and the creation of STEM@SVSU.

GIFTS INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING: $5 million from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation for the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow STEM Scholars Network. The initiative has allowed SVSU faculty and undergraduate students to engage with the region’s middle- and high school-aged students during summer camps involving studies in robotics, math and other sciencebased subjects.

A $2 million commitment from Bob and Bobbi Vitito to fund the Vitito Global Leadership Institute for business students. To date, 34 students have completed or are participating in the institute.

A $1.2 million gift from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation to fund the Gerstacker Fellowship II and name the updated Gerstacker Regional Aquatics Center.

$2.7 million from The Dow Chemical Company Foundation for the Dow Science and Sustainability Education Center to enhance STEM education at all academic levels in the region.

A $1.5 million gift from the Harvey Randall Wickes Foundation to fund the Harvey Randall Wickes Endowed Chair in Nursing. Kathleen Schachman was appointed to the position in August 2014.

CAMPAIGN LEADERSHIP Just as we believe that every gift counts, we know that every volunteer and supporter matters. Our campaign leadership has steered and championed the campaign to its successful conclusion.

CHAIRS John A. Decker D. Brian Law Herbert A. Spence III

A $1 million gift from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation to fund the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Student Research and Creativity Institute. More than 200 SVSU students have received funding for projects ranging from science research and art mural creations to presenting at conferences and creating regional outreach programs for kids and seniors alike.

Jenée L. Velasquez

STEERING COMMITTEE David J. Abbs Donald J. Bachand K.P. Karunakaran, M.D. Dominic Monastiere Terence F. Moore Linda L. Sims

A $1 million commitment from Janet M. Botz, 1974, B.A., to create the Botz Liberal Arts Fellowship Program. The program pairs liberal arts students with corporate partners for internships.

A $1 million commitment from Board of Control Chairman Scott Carmona, 1981, B.S., and his wife Nancy, to fund scholarships in business and engineering.

Jerome L. Yantz

A $300,000 gift from Morrie and Julie Stevens and Stevens Worldwide Van Lines to name the Stevens Center for Family Business. This unique program partners the center with SVSU’s College of Business & Management, SVSU business students and regional, familyowned businesses in various opportunities for networking, internships, research, business development and the like. More than 60 regional businesses are members of the center.

HONORARY CABINET Hugo E. “Ted” and Ruth J. Braun Charles B. and Susan Curtiss Linneaus C. and Phae H. Dorman E. Malcolm, M.D. and Lois Field David M. and Jacqueline V. Hall B.J. and Laura Humphreys Alan W. and Jean M. Ott Thomas M. and Virginia K. “Ginger” Marx Margaret Ann Riecker*

A commitment from Mary Lou and Rose Ederer to fund the SVSU Literacy Center, which fosters motivation for reading, writing and math, and provides tutoring to help elementary, middle and high school students master these skills.

A commitment from Dow Corning Foundation for the Dow Corning Foundation-SVSU STEM Community Partnership, now in its second year. In its first year, 13 teachers and their classes participated in creating STEM projects for the 2014-15 academic year.

A $500,000 gift from Jo Anne and Donald Petersen to name the Jo Anne and Donald Petersen Sculpture Garden outside the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum.

The Talent. Opportunity. Promise. campaign produced 92 new funds; 374 existing funds were supported; and 4,372 donors and 2,202 alumni donors supported the campaign.

Jack M. and Lila Ryder Martin H. Stark* Robert J. “Bob” and Marianne M. “Bobbi” Vitito Judith Yeo




ALUMNI RISE TO THE CARMONA CHALLENGE, SECURE FAMILY’S $250K MATCHING GIFT Last February, Scott, 1981, B.S., and Nancy Carmona offered a remarkable proposition: If SVSU alumni collectively contributed $250,000 by mid-August to the concluding campaign, the Carmonas would match that amount with a gift to their two endowed scholarships. During the Carmona Family Alumni Challenge, 484 SVSU alumni contributed $301,190 to SVSU, earning the Carmona matching gift and making a meaningful difference in the lives of SVSU students. Fifteen new endowed scholarship awards will be possible each year because of the success of the challenge. And other gifts to support annual scholarships and programs will offer financial resources and support to faculty, staff and students. Carmona, the new chairman of the


SVSU Board of Control, explained why he issued the challenge. “Today’s college students have to meet a variety of daily demands while pursuing degrees to prepare to meet future obligations,” Carmona said. “SVSU alumni have really stepped up, providing additional scholarship support to SVSU students. Scholarships help ease today’s financial burden and, more importantly, help students complete their education to secure a better future for their families.” As the Talent. Opportunity. Promise. campaign entered its last phase, he proposed The Carmona Family Alumni Challenge as a call to action to build a larger base of support from SVSU alumni. He was not disappointed.

Scott, Nancy, Eric and Ryan Carmona

“The generosity of our alumni demonstrates their commitment to SVSU,” President Donald J. Bachand said. “It also proves that alumni working together for a common goal can have a profound impact on our students.” “We’re immensely grateful to Scott and his family and to all the alumni who stepped up and helped meet the challenge,” said Andrew J. Bethune, executive director of the SVSU Foundation. “This outpouring of Red Pride speaks directly to our campaign theme. This support means that talent, opportunity and promise will thrive.” Thank you, SVSU alumni. Thank you, Carmona family. Together, we are making a positive difference in the lives of our students.

Vision for the future shared by SVSU President Donald J. Bachand

Throughout its 50-plus years, SVSU has reached a number of milestones: the purchase of land and the approval of the charter, the establishment of colleges, the building of a comprehensive and modern campus, noteworthy private support including the university’s first seven-figure gift, and a growing base of almost 45,000 alumni. The Talent. Opportunity. Promise. campaign helped mark the 50th anniversary of the university. That, too, was a major milestone. Milestones are absolutely important. They mark ambitions and achievements. Yet true milestones are never just about reaching a goal and stopping. They need to be constantly replenished with new indicators of success, new aims and new objectives. As such, they essentially exist in relation to the people they serve. As a “living” institution, SVSU is

always moving forward, always evolving. Our campaign celebration gave us an opportunity to pause for a moment to acknowledge the important progress we’ve made thanks to private support, and to recognize the people behind that support. But we didn’t pause for long, because there is still — and always will be — much to do. Though we are constantly working to do more and to be better at what we do, our top priorities have not changed a lot. We strive to provide the best educational opportunities to prepare our students for the workplace, act to instill in them a sense of civic engagement, and increase scholarship support to make a college degree — with real world learning experiences — more accessible. We will continue to align university priorities to the employment needs of

our region and state. We are planning even more significant improvements to programs and facilities, including elevating the profile of the College of Business & Management. Currently located on the third floor of Curtiss Hall, the College of Business & Management is not as visible as it should be. With more accessibility and prominence, the college can engage prospective and current students as well as regional business partners. This is a future vision for SVSU; stay tuned as plans move forward. And we will continue to engage the university and its colleagues in more meaningful ways to our donors and community. Consequently, we will reach and celebrate more milestones in the years to come as we continue to serve and support the people of this region.



7400 Bay Road • University Center, MI 48710

WIN BIG! Stay connected, stay current and update your alumni contact information at Connecting with your Cardinal family will be well worth a few minutes of your time. Update your profile before Sunday, Nov. 15, and have your name* entered into a random drawing to win gift cards worth up to $100 from the SVSU bookstore. The Barnes & Noble College-operated store carries Cardinal clothing and gear similar to those worn by the Gembrowski family, shown here. By providing this information, SVSU also will be able to update you on numerous new exciting perks and benefits, notify you of upcoming alumni events and provide you weekly updates from SVSU President Donald J. Bachand. * SVSU will verify your status as an alumni.

Gembrowski family Freeland, Michigan

Reflections Fall 2015  

The alumni magazine of Saginaw Valley State University, Fall 2015.

Reflections Fall 2015  

The alumni magazine of Saginaw Valley State University, Fall 2015.