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Community Voices, December 2015

The Fall Semester has come to a close and the activity on campus has dropped to a minimum for a few weeks.  There are a few high school athletic events held on campus over the semester break as our students and faculty spend time with their families for the holidays and recharge for the spring.  The pause also gives us time to reflect and celebrate the great work of our students and their many accomplishments this fall.

We often hear the results of our athletic teams’ competitions, but many of these students are also recognized above and beyond for their accomplishments in the classroom. Recently two football players, Donovan Woods and Davontay Stevens, were named First Team Academic All-Americans, placing them amongst a select group of 24 top Division II student-athletes from around the country. Donavon and Davontay were among thirty-three Mustang student-athletes who were also honored by the Northern Sun Conference (NSIC) this fall as Academic All-NSIC for their outstanding performance in the classroom.

We are also pleased that the SMSU Theatre production of “We Are Proud to Present …” has been selected as an invited production at the upcoming Region 5 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. It marks the first time since 1976 that an SMSU production has been chosen to perform at the Region 5 Festival, the largest in the country representing six states.  SMSU’s selection is one of just six that were chosen from more than 80 applicants.

Also impressive, our SMSU Student Senate joined a national initiative titled, “It’s On Us,” to lead a campus awareness campaign on sexual assault awareness.  The campaign raised awareness of how it is on each of us as Mustangs to take a stand and do whatever we can to educate and prevent sexual assault on college campuses across the country.

Community outreach was a part of the work of our SMSU band programs this fall as well.  The SMSU Pep Band held a “Play like a Mustang” event hosting area high school students as they experienced the thrill of performing in a collegiate pep band at a home football game.  They music department carried the spirit of the holidays on to December with their annual Merry Tuba Christmas concert welcoming  tuba, euphonium, baritone and trombone players of all ages to come together for a fun day of rehearsal and performance.

Last month I invited everyone to campus to enjoy the work of our students at our Undergraduate Research Conference. One of the projects deserves continued recognition.  “Migrant Voices: The Marshall Area Narrative Inquiry Project” was coordinated by Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Kerry Livingston, and students in her Applied Research methods classes participated. The students conducted interviews of 50 individuals who migrated to the Marshall area within the past 30 years. Their individual stories were featured at the conference and were truly a highlight.  I am excited that we will have an opportunity this Spring Semester to further share these stories.

These are a few of the highlights that stood out for me and that give me a great sense of pride as I reflect on the privilege of being  a part of this wonderful university and community.  From everyone at SMSU, thank you for being a part of the Mustang family, and best wishes for a great New Year!


Published in the Marshall Independent on Saturday, December 21, 2015.

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