Year in Review: Top Alma College Stories in 2012
A record enrollment, science discoveries, national Model United Nations success and two Fulbright Scholar recipients were among the top Alma College stories in 2012. Following is a summary:
• In September, Alma College announced its highest student enrollment in its 126-year history. The total headcount of 1,464 students represented a 3.3 percent increase over the previous year. In addition, Alma’s 485 new students shattered the previous high of 458.
Faculty greet "legacy" families at homecoming.
“While these have been difficult economic times, Alma’s commitment to providing a first-class education has never wavered, leading to the development of new opportunities both academically and outside the classroom,” said Bob Garcia, vice president for enrollment. “Students in Michigan and beyond are recognizing the type of education they will receive at Alma College.”
• Research findings on spider signaling were featured nationally, including coverage on the National Science Foundation and National Public Radio websites. Co-investigator and Alma faculty biologist Dave Clark found that spiders eavesdrop on their male counterparts and copy courtship signals as a means of stealing their mates — a behavior mainly seen previously in vertebrate animals.
Jeff Turk, with students
• Three years after receiving a $150,000 National Science Foundation grant, Alma College students directed by science faculty members Jeff Turk and Joe Beckmann developed a molecule that inhibits certain strains of the human influenza virus — a discovery that could guide the future development of antiviral drugs.
• For the 16th consecutive year, Alma College students captured the highest awards at the National Model UN Conference in New York City. Alma’s long-time Model UN competition success received national media attention in an Associated Press story that appeared in more than 50 newspapers across the country. The Huffington Post headline blared, “Alma College Dominates Model UN.”
Kayla Zuiderveen (left)
• Students achieved at high levels in 2012. Kayla Zuiderveen of Falmouth and Heidi Beckmann of Alma received post-graduate Fulbright Scholarships to teach and study overseas. Zuiderveen won the 2012 Barlow Trophy, Alma’s most prestigious award for a graduating senior. Zakkary Hardyniec, Wayne junior, was one of 24 students nationally to receive a summer research fellowship from the American Physiological Society.
• A book by Professor Ed Lorenz garnered a 2012 State History Award from the Historical Society of Michigan. Lorenz, whose book “Civic Empowerment in an Age of Corporate Greed” examines corporate irresponsibility and civic engagement, was inspired by a decade of involvement with the Pine River Superfund Citizens Task Force. Also producing books in 2012 were Liping Bu, co-editor of “Science, Public Health and the State in Modern Asia”; Kate Blanchard, editor, “Lady Parts”; and creative writers William Palmer and Bob Vivian.
• Advances in academic programs in 2012 included national accreditation for Alma’s teacher certification program, the addition of anthropology as Alma’s 33rd major, and the signing of a medical school admission agreement with Michigan State University for Alma students interested in caring for underserved populations.
Clothing and supply donations for the TKEs.
• A tragedy was averted in late January when all residents and guests were safely evacuated from a fraternity house fire that resulted in the total loss of the house. The Greek and campus community responded with support and temporary housing for the TKE residents, and the college ensured that all displaced students had housing for the rest of the term. TKE alumni from around the country rallied to offer assistance in many ways and expressed interest in helping with the rebuilding of a new TKE House.
The choir performs at the Detroit Opera House.
• More than 1,200 people attended “Resonance: A Celebration of the Performing Arts” at the historic Detroit Opera House. The performance featured the Alma College Choir, Percussion Ensemble, Pipe Band and Highland Dancers along with more than 250 high school singers from the metro Detroit area. A recruitment event, alumni party and college visibility initiative all wrapped together, “Resonance” put Alma College front and center for one afternoon in Detroit.
• Oral presentations on Hindu gender behavior, chemical compound properties and the social implications of prohibition in the early 20th century were student research projects selected for recognition at the 16th annual Honors Day. Keynote speaker Leo Chavez offered his insights on international migration. More than 120 students shared their original research and creativity.
• For the fifth consecutive year, the Corporation for National and Community Service named Alma College to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for engaging students, faculty and staff in meaningful service. More than 85 percent of Alma’s 2011 graduating class participated in academic service learning during their time at Alma College.
A graduate receives her degree at commencement.
• Approximately 320 graduates participated in commencement in April. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow delivered the commencement address while David Provost, president and chief executive officer of Talmer Bank and Trust, a 1976 graduate of Alma College and past chair of the Board of Trustees, received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.
• The Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team won its 11th consecutive regional championship. The group presented 12 community-outreach projects, including teaching ethics and entrepreneurship skills to students at a juvenile detention center and launching an entrepreneurship competition for students with business ideas.
• Work crews began renovation of the former Jones Auditorium and bookstore space in the Tyler-VanDusen Campus Center with the intent of transforming it into the new Center for Student Opportunity. The CSO will house a wide range of support services for students and administer the Alma Commitment, a four-year student plan that will include the opportunity for a funded applied experience outside of the classroom in the junior year for all students.
• The Scottish American Society of Michigan selected Alma College to permanently display the official Michigan Tartan Day Stone. Alma was chosen as the permanent host site in recognition of its Scottish traditions.
The 50-year reunion class from 1962.
• Homecoming 2012 featured crisp temperatures, the crowning of Daniel May and Chelsea Duff as king and queen, and a Delorean celebrating the theme “Back to the Future.” The Skinner family served as grand marshal of the homecoming parade.
• Leading experts in cardiovascular medicine discussed critical issues related to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes, at the first Alma College Health Symposium, sponsored by the Integrated Health Studies Institute.
• Trustees approved improvements to Alma’s primary dining facility. Hamilton Commons will receive major renovations and a 6,000-square-foot addition that will reflect current trends in college food service and increase seating capacity by nearly 25 percent. The anticipated completion of the project is September 2013.
The Alma College cheer team
• In athletics, Greg Pscodna was introduced as the new head football coach, Michelle Sabourin was hired to develop and coach a new program in competitive cheer, a new athletics Website was launched, the softball team advanced to the NCAA Division III Softball Regional Tournament, and the women’s soccer team was acclaimed nationally for outstanding work in the classroom. In addition, Alma College hosted the 32nd Annual Michigan High School All Star Football game, which was televised live by Fox Sports Detroit.
Posted: Mon, December 17th, 2012 at 1:54PM