Founding a future, the University plans 50th anniversary

Plans for SVSU’s golden anniversary are under way.

In 2013, SVSU will celebrate 50 years of existence since the institution’s foundation in November 1963. The celebration will begin in January 2013 and will continue throughout the anniversary year. The planning of anniversary-related events in honor of the milestone are in the preliminary stages.

An 11- member anniversary planning committee has been formed to develop plans and ideas for the celebration. The committee is led by Carlos Ramet, executive assistant to the president and executive director of public affairs.

“All of the anniversary events and projects are aiming to commemorate the positive development SVSU has undergone over the last 50 years,” Ramet said.

Anniversary publicity has already begun through SVSU’s biannual alumni magazine, Reflections.

“The five issues of Reflections leading up to fall 2013 will each look at a different decade at SVSU, beginning with the 1960s,” Ramet said.

Regularly scheduled events such as homecoming, family day and the annual Alumni Celebration will also take on the anniversary theme, and the Fall Focus lecture series will bring in speakers connected to the University.

SVSU will also host a 50-50 Economic Summit in October 2013 as an opportunity to attract business leaders, guest speakers and students.

“The Economic Summit will be an opportunity to look at the past 50 years and SVSU’s role within the region,” Ramet said. “There will also be some economic forecasting to predict SVSU’s role in the future.”

Harry Leaver, executive director of the Center for Business and Economic Development, said the summit provides an opportunity to celebrate past accomplishments and to look toward the future to imagine the opportunities that lie ahead for SVSU.

“SVSU has been and will continue to be a major contributor toward the regional economy,” Leaver said. “SVSU’s impact has come in a variety of fashions ranging from being a major employer in the region, to engagement with economic development organizations, to producing outstanding graduates that populate many businesses throughout the region and beyond.”

The music and theatre departments are planning a collaborative show to commemorate the golden anniversary. This collaboration is led by Ric Roberts, associate professor of theatre, and Kevin Simons, assistant professor of music.

Basil Clark, professor of English, and Brad Jarvis, associate professor of history, will publish the second volume of the SVSU History chronicle.

Clark authored the first volume published in 1998, titled “Saginaw Valley State University: The Early and Formative Years 1963-1989.”

“The year 1989 marked a change in presidency from Dr. Ryder to President Gilbertson, making it a natural point to end the first volume,” Clark said.

The second volume will include 1989 to the present with the working title of “Saginaw Valley State University: The Years of Growth and Maturity 1989 to 2013.”

Clark and Jarvis plan to release the book in late summer 2013.

“It is amazing to see how the footprint of the University has changed in the last 25 years,” Jarvis said. “There have been massive changes in the number of students, the increasingly on-campus lifestyle and the whole nature of the university.

“We are in the middle of a large transition period.”

Jarvis said it has been a pleasure to research and learn more about the changes SVSU has undergone.

“I am proud to help make a longstanding contribution to SVSU history,” he said.

Ramet said that the golden anniversary means more than simply engaging students, faculty, staff and alumni.

“This is not just about having a celebration, but about being able to reintroduce SVSU to the surrounding community and region,” Ramet said. “This is our chance to tell the story of who we were and how we have developed into who we are today.”

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