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SAU: Top Moments of 2021

Front Entrance

As we all look towards 2022, SAU is excited to share the events and happenings that made this past year a special one. Check out some of the amazing headlines from SAU this year!

Women in Leadership Conference

Women in Leadership

In April, the 13th Annual Women in Leadership Conference featured six workshop presenters and keynote speaker, Sheri Jones. Women from the tri-state area shopped from local vendors, purchased specialty coffee drinks, networked with community leaders, and enjoyed a delicious brunch! The event was generously sponsored by American 1 Credit Union.

An Evening at the Arbor

An Evening at the Arbor

In 2021, our annual An Evening at the Arbor featured our School of Education. Attendees celebrated the hard work and commitment that school teachers invest in their local communities through a progressive event with presentations from students, messages from past alums, and highlights from our amazing education degree programs – what a great night of celebrating educators!

2021 Faith Small Award Recipient

2021 Faith Small Award Recipient

Reverend James Hines was recognized as the recipient of the 2021 Faith F. Small Award to honor his service to the Jackson community. Serving as the lead pastor of Lily Missionary Baptist Church since 1988, Rev. Hines inspires others through his work with Jackson’s youth and within the communities surrounding his church.

Spring 2021 Graduation

5 Graduation Ceremonies – 2020 and 2021

We celebrated our 2020 and 2021 graduates with five commencement ceremonies! In May, families and friends of on campus undergrads, adult undergrads, and master’s graduates gathered on the university plaza for a series of special commencement ceremonies. Some of the graduates have been waiting to cross the commencement stage since they finished their degrees in spring 2020! To all our recent graduates, we offer a hearty CONGRATULATIONS! We’re so proud of all you have accomplished, especially during the challenging academic year. We can’t wait to see how God works through you in your careers, families and communities in the years to come.

Senior's Holding T-Shirts

High Satisfaction Results for Recent Grads

The results for the 2020 class are officially in! Of those surveyed, 97% reported positive outcomes with 87% employed and 10% enrolled in continuing education. Of those employed, 93% indicated that their employment is directly or somewhat related to their field of study. Congratulations class of 2020, we are so proud of you!

50th Spiritual Life Retreat

50 Years of the Spiritual Life Retreat

This fall, students attended the 50th annual Spiritual Life Retreat! During the retreat, students were encouraged by messages from Ben Redmond, SAU Director of Community Engagement. Students learned how to share what the Lord had placed on their hearts as they came away with new perspectives, new friendships, and a refreshed and encouraged spirit!

Homecoming 2021

Homecoming: Autumn at the Arbor

Our campus was abuzz with excitement all week long. Students celebrated Autumn at the Arbor with karaoke, euchre tournament, American Neighbor viewing, Bob Ross painting night, and Cougar Madness. Our Alumni Award Recipients came back to campus and shared some of what God has been doing in their lives. Then Saturday, we welcomed hundreds of you home. We shopped local, caught up at reunions, ate food truck pizza, and watched our women’s soccer team take down Taylor.

Munn Broadcast Center Dedication

Munn Broadcast Center Dedication

SAU was excited to dedicate the Munn Broadcast Center on Oct. 9, 2021, in honor of E. Harold “Hal” Munn Jr. and his wife, C. Ella Munn, in recognition of the lifetime of service they devoted to Spring Arbor University and SAU Radio. 

Hal served on the Spring Arbor University Board of Trustees from 1960-2010. During his tenure as a board member, Hal dreamed, planned, funded and established SAU Radio, the current home of commercial radio station and the new student-led station, 89.3 The Arbor. 

Top Producer of Gilman Scholars

Spring Arbor University was recognized by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for being a top producer of Gilman Scholarship recipients over the past twenty years. Since 2004, 65 Gilman Scholarship recipients have been from SAU, totaling more than $226,000 in awards.

Students Giving Thanks on Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday

Not only did we hit our #GivingTuesday goal of $12,000, but because of the generosity of so many alumni and friends, we more than doubled it! We raised more than $24,400, in one day!

On behalf of our students, thank you!

A multi-ethnic group of elementary age children are coloring together at their desk. Their female teacher is sitting next to them and giving them encouragement.

Elementary Teaching Certification Program

Spring Arbor University is now offering a Post-Bachelor’s Accelerated Certification to Teach (PACT) program that allows students to earn their teaching certificate in an accelerated fashion.

This new program is a non-degree initial teaching certification program designed to certify individuals to become elementary teachers in the State of Michigan. The program is designed for individuals who have earned a bachelor’s degree without a standard teaching certificate. 

For more information on the program, please visit the PACT program.

Gino Wickman

Gino Wickman

Spring Arbor University welcomed New York Times Best-Selling Author Gino Wickman to talk about his new book, Entrepreneurial Leap, and inspire future entrepreneurs from the Spring Arbor and Jackson communities. Wickman wrote the award-winning and best-selling book, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, which has sold over one million copies. He is also the founder of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS).

A big thank you to American 1 Credit Union and Lean Rocket Lab for making this possible!

Advent Series

Advent Project

As we looked towards Christmas Day, the reminder of Jesus’ birth, we had the blessing of hearing messages of advent from SAU alumni who now preach the gospel in their communities. This series of videos followed the themes of Advent— the hope we have in Jesus’ birth and the peace, joy, and love that comes to us. Watch these messages in a culmination of the advent season.

Hanging of the Greens Celebration

Hanging of the Greens

We welcomed back our long-standing Hanging of the Greens event after a year of virtual celebration. It was wonderful to sing carols, eat cookies, meet Santa, watch fireworks, and celebrate the birth of our King together.

Cross in the Plaza

New Endowed Scholarships

In 2021 SAU received a total of $1,701,817.62 for endowed scholarships, providing students the financial opportunity to receive a transformational, Christ-centered education.

This past summer, we received a $1 million endowed scholarship for nursing students making it the largest single cash gift from an alum in university history. This gift was provided by the kindness and generosity of alumni John & Beth Taylor. The first awards from the Beth Taylor Endowed Scholarship were distributed to nursing students in Fall 2021.

Cougar Zone

Women's Soccer Elite 8

Women’s Soccer Elite 8

The Spring Arbor University Women’s Soccer team ends their season in a hard-fought battle versus Oregon Tech in an Elite Eight matchup, losing 1-0. The Cougars battled their way all season as the two-seed headed into the National Championship Final site at Orange Beach, Alabama.

Bethany Balcer Playing Soccer

Bethany Balcer Trains with the US National Team

SAU alumna and former women’s soccer player Bethany Balcer ’19 was called up to the U.S. Women’s National Team for two matches in Australia in November 2021.

David Darling Coaching

David Darling and Jacob Leyrer Crossroads Coach of the Year

This year, two of our very own won the Crossroads Coach of the Year: David Darling, director of tennis and women’s tennis coach, and Jacob Leyrer, director of golf and men’s golf coach. Congratulations!

Alumni Nathan Martin racing in marathon

Nathan Martin Finishes 8th in NYC Marathon

On November 7, SAU alumnus Nathan Martin ’13 ran in the New York City Marathon and came in 8th place with a time of 2:12.57. Martin was the third-fastest American to run in the marathon, after becoming the fastest U.S.-born Black marathon runner last year.