Legen – wait for it – dary.
I’d say that’s an accurate adjective to use to describe how I feel about the past four years. Saginaw Valley State University has provided me with truly legendary opportunities, and I couldn’t be more grateful for them. But, as cliché at it sounds, all things come to an end. As I prepare to graduate in a couple weeks, I wanted to take this chance to say farewell – sports style, of course. Here are my picks for my personal SVSU All-Star team (in no particular order).
The first pick I’d like to share with you all is someone who’s shaped each and every student’s SVSU experience – President Don Bachand. Not that I’ve ever been president of a four-year university, but I can’t imagine it’s an easy job. His schedule must fill up faster than he’d like, but no matter how busy he is, he always finds time to stop students in the hallway and ask them how they’re doing. Thanks for everything you’ve given to SVSU’s leadership over the years, and also thanks for giving me such an awesome voice to impersonate.
Next up is a name I imagine makes a lot of people’s SVSU All-Star roster. Dick Thompson spent over four decades on SVSU’s staff, and that’s not to mention his years as a student and student-athlete. To me, Dick partially represents my time in Student Association. As the SA Ombudsman, I couldn’t have had a better professional Ombudsman to look up to. Dick was also a tremendous personal mentor to me. Thanks for all the stories, laughs and lessons. Despite his second retirement, Dick will never be forgotten on SVSU’s campus.
Third, we have former academic advisor Neil Baumgartner. Neil was my supervisor as I became a Peer Advisor at the turn of my sophomore year, but he has since moved to Boise State University. Neil was the most influential mentor I’ve had at SVSU, and I owe a lot of my personal development to the time he spent with me. He also represents my time as a Peer Advisor in the Academic Advising Office. Being a PA has, by far, been the most rewarding job I’ve ever had, and it has taught me a lot about the value of higher education, as well as going the extra mile to help someone. Thanks, Neil, for always being a truly genuine boss, coach and friend, as well as for embodying empathy better than anyone I’ve ever met.
Up next is Bryan Crainer, Associate Dean of Student Life and Leadership. Bryan represents my time in Forever Red, an organization that has taught me the importance of giving back, meeting new people and building “professional friendships” with peers. Bryan has been a reminder to me to set high expectations for what people, including myself, can do when they put time into something. He has always provided me with guidance and advice when I’ve went to him in need. Thanks for your commitment to being straight with students on what they can do to better their situation, as well as guiding them toward paths that help them accomplish their goals.
The final individual to be drafted is David Schneider, the department chair of Communication. Dr. Schneider has been a tremendous professor – one that has high expectations for his students, but also sets high expectations for himself. He’s continuously reminded me of the importance of academics, as well as the idea that learning is more important than grades. Thanks for the many hours in your office, as well as for guiding me through the conducting of my research.
The first group I’m adding to the list is those involved in the Roberts Fellowship. I’ve absolutely loved my time growing in leadership with my fellow Fellows, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group to challenge ideas with, as well as listen to Brian digress. Speaking of Brian, Brian Thomas and Julie Foss have been excellent faculty members of the program, constantly motivating us to shoot higher. I’ve never enjoyed being told I’m wrong as much as I have in my time as a Roberts Fellow, but I sure am glad for it. Thanks to the Fellows, Brian and Julie, as well as the many others who have helped with the program, as it truly has reshaped the way I think and perceive the world in which I live.
The next group drafted is The Valley Vanguard editorial staff. It wasn’t until I started writing for the Vanguard my junior year that I realized how much I missed writing for a newspaper. I really enjoyed my brief tenure as the Sports Editor, and I’ve loved being on the writing staff. Thanks to everyone, particularly Connor Doyle, for giving me a shot at writing this silly column.
The final group on the roster is my friends, family and awesome God. By no means would I be the person I am, nor would I have achieved the things I have achieved, were it not for those close to me. I have received a tremendous amount of support, encouragement, help and motivation from them, and I can only hope that the by-products of my time at SVSU will be beneficial to them all. Special thanks to my parents, brother and girlfriend for supporting, putting up with, laughing with and celebrating with me for the past four years.
Last but not least, I want to draft you. The reader. I’ve absolutely loved my time writing this column, and I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading it. I tried my darnedest to cover the sports balls and throw some laughs in along the way. It’s been an absolute pleasure giving you something that hopefully brightened your day, and you surely brightened my past four years.
Thanks again to all those that are on this roster of All-Stars, as well as those that are not on the list. I will always treasure my time at SVSU, and I have so much to remind me that It’s a Great Day to Be a Cardinal.