Saginaw Valley State University

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Saginaw Valley State University

Motto Something More. Something Better.
Established November 13, 1963 (as private Saginaw Valley College)
July 22, 1965 (as state-supported institution)
Type Public
Endowment $50.5 million[1]
President Donald Bachand
Provost Deborah R. Huntley
Chairman of the Board of Control Jeffrey T. Martin
Students 9,829 [2]
Undergraduates 8,797[2]
Location University Center, Michigan, USA
43°30′51″N 83°57′42″W / 43.5141°N 83.96156°W / 43.5141; -83.96156Coordinates: 43°30′51″N 83°57′42″W / 43.5141°N 83.96156°W / 43.5141; -83.96156
Campus Suburban/Rural

Red and blue

Athletics NCAA Division IIGLIAC (North Division)
Nickname Cardinals
Mascot Cardinal

SVSU Cardinal

Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) is a state university in the U.S. state of Michigan. Originally founded in 1963 as Saginaw Valley College, it is located in the middle of Michigan's lower peninsula in Kochville Township, Saginaw County. However, its official address places it in University Center, Michigan, which it shares with Delta College (which is 3.3 miles (5.3 km) to the north-northwest, in Bay County's Frankenlust Township). It is the youngest of Michigan's 15 public colleges and universities.


Higher education in the Saginaw Valley region dates back to the founding of Bay City Junior College in 1922. Though the junior college was replaced by Delta College in 1961, the area still lacked a four-year baccalaureate institution. Saginaw Valley College was founded as a private institution in November 1963, and became a state-supported institution in 1965.[4][5] The name changed to Saginaw Valley State College in 1974 and again to Saginaw Valley State University in 1987.


In 1955, civic leaders in the Saginaw Valley region met to discuss prospects for a local institution of higher education. The next year, a committee of 300 recommended a two-year community college which would expand to a four-year college. The two-year college, Delta, was approved by voters in 1958 and opened in 1961.

Saginaw Valley College[edit]

Articles of incorporation for what would become Saginaw Valley College (originally called Delta Senior University) were drawn up in 1963, and the state granted a charter to SVC as a private, four-year liberal arts institution. Dr. Samuel D. Marble, the president of Delta College, was appointed president of SVC in 1964. After concurrently holding both presidencies for four months, he resigned from Delta. The first class of 119 students completed two years at Delta and transferred to SVC. The first commencement ceremony was held in 1966 at a Midland church for a graduating class of ten. A site for a permanent SVC campus (the college was operating out of Delta's basement) was chosen in Kochville Township in 1966 and classes were moved to a building on that site the next year. Ground was broken for what would become Wickes Hall in the late summer. Saginaw Valley College received full accreditation by the North Central Association in April 1970. The college's athletic teams were named the Redbirds, shortly thereafter changed to Cardinals after two coaches spotted a kitchen decoration with a cardinal on it at a golf tournament in Kentucky. In 1972, the Cardinals became a charter member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and in 1974 Frank "Muddy" Waters was hired as the college's first football coach.

Saginaw Valley State College[edit]

The name changed to Saginaw Valley State College in 1974. That same year, Samuel D. Marble, the college's president who had also served in that role at Delta College, submitted his resignation. Marble had also served as president of Wilmington College in Ohio. He would be named president emeritus and is honored with a lecture hall named in his honor in Wickes Hall. In November 1974, Jack M. Ryder became president of the college. A report by the Michigan Efficiency Task Force in 1977 recommended to then-Governor William G. Milliken that SVSC and Delta could be run more efficiently if they were combined, an idea which gained no traction. In 1980 the Higher Learning Commission/North Central Association continued this accreditation and granted accreditation at the master’s degree level. Both accreditations have been retained continuously since the original accreditation. Also in 1980, two Japanese students attended SVSC for two weeks, beginning what is now a flourishing international student enrollment. A fire in 1985 destroyed financial records, registration files, and other important records.[6] The college became home to the works of the noted sculptor Marshall M. Fredericks in June 1987.

University and Beyond[edit]

On November 5, 1987, SVSC became Saginaw Valley State University. Dr. Jack Ryder resigned as president in 1989 and Eric R. Gilbertson succeeded him. An off-campus location was opened in Cass City in 1991. In 2000, George W. Bush visited the Ryder Center days before the election where he would be elected President of the United States. The annual Battle of the Valleys, a fundraising competition against rival Grand Valley State University, was established in 2003. In 2009, SVSU alumnus Tony Ceccacci was the lead flight director for STS-125, a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, and an SVSU pennant was sent to space on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis. The pennant is currently on display in Pioneer Hall.[7] On June 18, 2013, President Gilbertson announced his intention to retire when the university's board of control finds his replacement.[8]

Ming Chuan University, the first Asian university to be accredited in the United States, opened their Michigan Campus in Gilbertson Hall in 2014.[9]

SVSU was selected by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching to receive its 2015 Community Engagement Classification . To be selected, institutions provide descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement that showed alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices. The designation is in effect for 10 years.

50th Anniversary[edit]

In 2013, SVSU celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gala banquet on November 9 and various events throughout the year, including an economic summit on October 25. The university also launched a fundraising campaign entitled "Talent. Opportunity. Promise." with the goal of raising $25 million.[10]


Dr. Samuel Davey Marble served as president of SVC from March 23, 1964 to January 14, 1974. He had been the first president of Delta College, from 1958 to 1964. . The lecture hall in Wickes Hall was named in his honor, the Gladys and Samuel Marble Graduate Business Scholarship Fund was established in 1997, and the Samuel Marble Memorial Scholarship was established in 1990 to be awarded to a transfer student from Delta.

Dr. Jack McBride Ryder served as president of SVSC/SVSU from November 1, 1974 to June 30, 1989. He initiated the successful construction of Brown Hall, the Zahnow Library, the science building, and the Ryder Center. He was also instrumental in raising private gifts for the construction of Pioneer Hall, the Arbury Fine Arts Center, the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, and Wickes Stadium. Due to his leadership, SVSC, Grand Valley State College, Ferris State College, and Lake Superior State College were all elevated to universities by legislation signed on November 4, 1987. Dr. Ryder was named a president emeritus of the University on December 13, 1991.[11]

Dr. Eric R. Gilbertson was inaugurated as president of SVSU on August 29, 1989, and, as of November 2013, is the longest-serving of the 15 presidents of Michigan's public universities and the longest-tenured in SVSU's history. During his tenure, the university's endowment has increased twenty-fold and the campus physical plant has tripled in size. Enrollment has nearly doubled during his tenure. Gilbertson is a former president of Johnson State College in Vermont and was the executive assistant to the president of Ohio State University as well as legal counsel to the Ohio Board of Regents. Dr. Gilbertson announced his intention to retire in 2013 upon the appointment of his successor.[8]

On February 10, 2014, Dr. Donald Bachand, the university's provost and academic vice president, was named SVSU's fourth president. He officially took office February 17 and was formally installed June 22.[12][13]


Saginaw Valley State University was accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association as a baccalaureate degree granting institution in 1970. In 1980 the HLC/NCA continued this accreditation and granted accreditation at the master’s degree level. Both accreditations have been retained continuously since the original accreditation. SVSU also has ten programs that have been awarded specialized accreditations. SVSU: Accreditations

Academic Colleges[edit]

College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences[edit]

The College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences is the oldest of the university's five colleges. Joni Boye-Beaman is the dean of the college. The James V. Finkbeiner Endowed Chair of Ethics is held by Francis C. Dane.[14]

The most diverse academic unit of the university, the college offers undergraduate majors in applied studies, art, communication, creative writing, criminal justice, English, French, graphic design, history, international studies, modern foreign language, music, political science, psychology, public administration, rhetoric and professional writing, sociology, Spanish, and theatre. Minors are available in all of the major programs, as well as gender studies, geography, German, philosophy, and Polish. SVSU - College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences: Programs

In addition to the number of undergraduate programs, graduate programs are offered in administrative science, and communication and digital media.

College of Business and Management[edit]

The College of Business and Management is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the premier standard of achievement for business schools. Less than 5% of all schools of business worldwide are AACSB accredited. The dean of the college is Rama Yelkur. The Harvey Randall Wickes Endowed Chair in International Business is Joseph Ofori-Dankwa.

Undergraduate majors are offered in accounting, economics, finance, general business, international business, marketing, and management. Minors are offered in economics, entrepreneurship, finance, general business, legal studies, management, and marketing, as well as certificates in entrepreneurship and international business. An M.B.A. programs is offered at the graduate level. SVSU: College of Business and Management

College of Education[edit]

SVSU offers teacher education programs, advanced educator learning programs as well as certification renewal and endorsements. SVSU: College of Education

Crystal M. Lange College of Health and Human Services[edit]

Named for Crystal M. Lange, the founder of the College of Nursing who served as its dean for 20 years, the College of Health and Human Services offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in health science, kinesiology, nursing, occupational therapy, and social work. The university's Board of Control approved a doctor of nursing practice program in December 2011. Judith P. Ruland is the dean of the college. SVSU: College of Health & Human Services

College of Science, Engineering and Technology[edit]

The College of Science, Engineering and Technology offers majors in biology, chemistry (including biochemistry, business chemistry, and chemical physics), computer science and information systems, electrical engineering, mathematical sciences, mechanical engineering, physics, and optical physics. SVSU: College of Science, Engineering and Technology

Deborah R. Huntley was the dean of the college and has recently been named university Provost. Andrew Chubb has been named the interim dean.


Academic Buildings[edit]

Wickes Hall is named for Harvey Randall Wickes, and is the main administrative center on campus.

Brown Hall is named for Maurice E. Brown. It houses faculty offices and classrooms.

The Melvin J. Zahnow Library houses over 200,000 print volumes and over 400,000 non-print items.

The Arbury Fine Arts Center is named for Ned and Dorothy Arbury. It houses classrooms and other facilities for the fine arts, including the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum.

The Herbert Dow Doan Science Building is named for Herbert Dow Doan, and houses classrooms, faculty offices, teaching labs and research labs, as well as an on-campus Starbucks.

Curtiss Hall is named for Charles B. Curtiss, a long-time member of the Board of Control. Groening Commons, the large atrium inside Curtiss Hall, is named for William A. Groening.

Pioneer Hall, the home of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, was completed in 1978 and recently underwent a large renovation. It is "certified green" by the U.S. Green Building Council, the first building in mid-Michigan to be so recognized.

Eric R. Gilbertson Hall is home to the College of Education and other classes and departments, including the James A. Barcia Center for Public Policy and Service. Originally named the Regional Education Center, the building was named for the University's third president in 2014.[15] Ming Chuan University's Michigan Campus is located in this building.

The Health and Human Services Building is home to the Crystal M. Lange College of Health and Human Services. The building incorporates the largest aqua-thermal heating/cooling system in the state of Michigan to reduce energy costs by over 35%.

The Doan Center houses the Marketplace at Doan, the main dining hall, and other student-related activities. It is named for Leland I. Doan.

The Ryder Center is the main athletic building on campus and also houses classrooms. It is named for Jack McBride Ryder.

Other Buildings[edit]

The Covenant MedExpress is a $2.6 million clinic open to SVSU students and the public. It is part of a partnership with Covenant Healthcare and has X-ray and lab facilities.

Residence Halls[edit]

(In order of construction)

  • First year suites A-E
  • First year suites F and G
  • Living Center North
  • Living Center South
  • University Village
  • Pine Grove
  • Living Center Southwest

Maps of the SVSU campus


The governing authority of the university is the Board of Control, established by the Michigan Constitution and by statute consisting of eight members appointed by the Governor of Michigan for eight-year terms.[5][16] The university is considered a political subdivision of the state government and, thus, is exempt from federal income tax.

The president of the university is elected by the Board of Control, to whom the Board delegates the authority to conduct university business except certain items specified in the Board's bylaws. The president is ex officio a non-voting member of the Board.[17] The president has a staff consisting of the four vice presidents; the deans of the colleges; the Executive Director of Information Technology; the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity Programs; the Special Assistant to the President for International Programs; the Special Assistant to the President for Government Relations; the Executive Assistant to the President/Planning Officer; the University Ombudsman; and the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs.


2004 data puts the General Fund at $67 million. The sources include: state appropriations (42%, or $28.1 million), tuition & fees (55.2%, or $36.8 million) and "other sources" (2.8%, or $1.9 million).

SVSU's 2004 'self study'(link is broken) provides detail concerning the university's financials and other miscellaneous information.

The 2004 budget includes a cut of $1.3 million from the 2003 budget. Attempts have been made to avoid future budget cuts by means of raising tuition costs. This has sparked controversy, as SVSU has always prided itself on being a university with a very high quality/cost ratio; i.e. the quality of education has ostensibly and historically been more than commensurate with the price of attending the university. The university's mission statement reflects this belief.

As of Winter 2010, per credit hour charges for in-state students is $229.00. Out of state and non-resident aliens pay $557.30 per hour. [18]


The Saginaw Valley State University fields 16 varsity teams at The NCAA Division II level as members of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). The Cardinals compete in the following sports:

The Junior Varsity football program dates to 1974; the Varsity football started in 1975, as did the marching band. The school song is "Cardinal Fight", written by Thomas Root.


National Championships:

  • 1982 - Men's Indoor Track and Field - NAIA
  • 1983 - Men's Indoor Track and Field - NAIA
  • 1989 - Softball - NAIA
  • 1991 - Men's Bowling - USBC Collegiate
  • 1997 - Men's Bowling - USBC Collegiate
  • 2006 - Men's Bowling - USBC Collegiate
  • 2007 - Men's Bowling - USBC Collegiate
  • 2009 - Men's Ice Hockey - ACHA Division III
  • 2010 - Men's Ice Hockey - ACHA Division III

National Runners-up:

  • 1977 - Men's Cross Country - NAIA
  • 1978 - Men's Cross Country - NAIA
  • 1982 - Men's Cross Country - NAIA
  • 1983 - Men's Outdoor Track and Field - NAIA
  • 1984 - Men's Outdoor Track and Field - NAIA
  • 1984 - Men's Golf - NAIA
  • 1985 - Women's Basketball - NAIA Division I
  • 1996 - Men's Bowling - USBC Collegiate
  • 2004 - Men's Bowling - USBC Collegiate
  • 2009 - Men's Bowling - USBC Collegiate
  • 2012 - Men's Soccer - NCAA Division II

Basketball Final Four:

  • 1982 - Women's Basketball - NAIA Division I
  • 1985 - Women's Basketball - NAIA Division I (Runner-up)

Notable alumni[edit]

Famous graduates of SVSU include the following:


External links[edit]