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SVSU ATTRACTING MORE
OUT-OF-AREA STUDENTS

Dr. Gilbertson Eyes Future as University Heads
To 40th Year Milestone

December 4, 2002       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Campus map shows new buildings on the drawing board
 
Dr. Eric Gilbertson leads growth of regional learning center

Why is Saginaw Valley State University one of the fastest-growing institutions in the state?

Perhaps because its tuition is the lowest of any public four-year degree-granting institution in Michigan. Maybe because of its location in the population center of the Saginaw Valley. Certainly because of its beautiful parklike setting and magnificent facilities. And undoubtedly because of inspired leadership, personified by Dr. Eric Gilbertson, its dynamic third president.

In the past 10 yearsSVSU has seen a 34 percent increase in enrollment, from 5,915 to the present 9,200. Two-thirds of the buildings on campus have been built since 1989. And the cement mixers almost never stop at SVSU, a statement once made about Michigan State University under the late MSU President John A. Hannah in the 1950s and 1960s.

"We aren't stopping," Dr. Gilbertson told the Bay City Rotary Club this week. "We will continue to grow to sustainable size." He projects about a three percent per year growth rate for the next few years, with enrollment leveling off at about 10,000.



Jerome L. Yantz, chairman of the Bay City accounting firm of Weinlander-Fitzhugh CPAs, is a new member of the SVSU Board of Control and one of Gilbertson's most enthusiastic supporters.

Yantz points to the "economic benefits and quality of life aspects" the university brings to the area and notes that $122 million in new construction has occurred at SVSU since Gilbertson's tenure began in 1989. The president succeeded Jack Ryder and the founding president Sam Marble, who Gilbertson calls "a great visionary."

The greatest enrollment growth at SVSU is coming from students living out of the university's 24 county service region. About half the students come from a 40 mile radius of the Saginaw County campus on West Side Saginaw Road. A growth area is residential students, Dr. Gilbertson said. The present on-campus population of 1,500 is projected to grow to 1,700 in the next few years.

Under direction of the board to "make the university more cosmopolitan, the administration has admitted 354 international students from 50 countries, comprising about six percent of the enrollment. "Most of our students are not world travelers, so we bring the world here to them," said Gilbertson.

Among the new buildings going up on campus are a $30 million regional education center, a student center and student recreation center, an expansion of the Melvin Zahnow Library and the Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Gallery. A new entrance to the university with a boulevard off Bay Road will be ready for the 40th anniversary in 2003.



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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at carraroe@aol.com)

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