SVSU hosted its annual Alumni Celebration on Friday, Nov. 9, at 5:30 p.m. in the Curtiss Banquet Halls.
About 300 guests attended the event, including Jim Dwyer, the director of Alumni Relations, President Donald Bachand, deans of the colleges and several past award winners.Every year, the Office of Alumni Relations honors an alumnus from each of the five academic colleges, a military veteran, a young alumnus and a future graduate.
During the introductory speech, Dwyer noted SVSU’s accomplishments, such as being part of the 10 percent of universities that received the Carnegie Foundation Elective Community Engagement Classification, being rated No. 1 for public university housing, winning the National Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award and for being recognized for four straight years as a Best for Vets university by Military Times magazine.
“Where would we be in this Great Lakes regions without Saginaw Valley State University Alumni?” Dwyer said during his speech. “It’s very clear … the value that our alumni bring to impact the success of the Great Lakes region.”
SVSU alumnus Thomas Taugher, a Michigan State University medical student who helps organize donations of medical supplies to Haitians through Project Piti Pami, gave the invocation before dinner.
Each award recipient and an SVSU faculty member who introduced the speaker gave a speech in a pre-recorded video.
The 1st honoree was Danielle Slonac, a finance, management and supply chain management triple major from St. Clair who received the Future Alumni Award. She graduates in December.
“Looking back, I would have never imagined how much I would grow as a student, leader and person these past few years,” she said in the recording. “This university has provided me with opportunities that I wouldn’t have had anywhere else, and each has helped me learn more about myself.”
Next up was Olivia Arnold, who received the Young Alumni Award. She is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I cannot say enough great things about my undergraduate experience at Saginaw Valley State University,” she said during the recording. “The resources, experiences and lifelong mentors that I found at SVSU have helped immeasurably on the path that I am on today.”
Douglas Szczepanski, a minister and U.S. Army Veteran, received the U.S. Veteran Alumni Award.
Mary Draves, the global director of remediation, environmental technology and environmental operations at The Dow Chemical Company, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.
Ashley Holdsworth-Rossman, an ophthalmologist at Traverse City Eye, also received the Distinguished Alumni Award for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.
Stacey Klump, the director of medical surgical services at Covenant Healthcare, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for the College of Health and Human Services.
Rachel Snell, the interim superintendent at Carrollton Public Schools, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for the College of Education.
James Terry, who is the owner of P.F. Markey Inc. and R & S Cuttergrind and the co-owner of Great Lakes Escape Games, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for the College of Business and Management.
Manvel Trice III, judge for the 10th Judicial Circuit Court in Saginaw County, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for the College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences.