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Arbor Today: Fall 2019

SAU President Dr. Brent Ellis and other members of the community cut the ribbon during the McDonald Athletic Center Dedication

SAU Dedicates the McDonald Athletic Center

The $1.9-million renovation of the McDonald Athletic Center (MAC) was completed and celebrated through a community dedication on May 16, 2019. The MAC, renamed to honor the late Spring Arbor High School and Junior College coach and teacher Donald “Mac” McDonald, has been the location for SAU athletics for 42 years.

The renovation includes updates to the gymnasium, including arena seating, a resurfaced gym floor, an upgraded sound system and new LED video board, improvements to exterior aesthetics, upgrades to the women’s and men’s locker rooms and a brand-new lobby entrance featuring former hall-of-fame athletes as well as accomplishments from current SAU athletic teams.

The complete transformation of the MAC would not be possible without significant support from several donors, including the lead gift from Charlie and Beth (McDonald HS ’61, JC ’63, ‘65) Kuntzleman, as well as the sponsorship from American 1 Credit Union, which allowed for the improvement of The Arena within the MAC.

Speaking at the dedication celebration, Martha Fuerstenau, CEO of American 1 Credit Union, remarked, “We are excited to partner with the university with this gift for the naming of The Arena because we think it’s a good idea to support what you support. SAU graduates are perfect hires for American 1 Credit Union because we need big thinkers and lifelong learners. We need people who are ethically minded and have a servant’s heart; we have recruited and employed SAU graduates for decades, for this very reason.”

“The newly renovated McDonald Athletic Center will offer the best possible experience for our athletes,” said SAU President Dr. Brent Ellis. “We are extremely thankful for the generosity of Charlie and Beth Kuntzleman, who provided the lead gift for this project. The SAU community will benefit for years to come, thanks to the generosity of the many donors who contributed to this project.”

SAU Alumnus Dr. Jacob Atem Receives CCCU Young Alumni Award

The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) has announced that Dr. Jacob Atem, a 2008 graduate of Spring Arbor University and the co-founder, president and CEO of the Southern Sudan Healthcare Organization (SSHCO), has been named the 2019 CCCU Young Alumni Award winner.

Atem’s passion for helping others and his love for South Sudan stems from his own experience as one of Sudan’s Lost Boys during the Second Sudanese Civil War. As a student at SAU, he experienced the antithesis of his lost boy experience: a welcoming community of faith, full of mentors and friends ready to invest in his life.

In the midst of his studies, Atem co-founded the SSHCO which built a clinic in his hometown. Today, SSHCO sees over 3,000 patients monthly for less than $5 a person, fulfilling Atem’s dream of bringing hope to where it is lost.

“For me, I wouldn’t be who I am today without God,” says Atem. “One of my favorite verses says, ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ This Scripture has truly impacted my life, and after realizing I could work hard to help others, now I am returning to give to my country and share my story.”

Four SAU Programs Receive National Rankings by

SAU’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership (MSCL), Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MTESOL) have recently been ranked as top programs in the state and nation by

SAU’s MSN was listed among “The Best Online MSN Programs” for 2018, making it only one of three top-ranked programs of its kind in Michigan.

SAU’s MSCL was listed among “The Best Online Master’s in Communications Programs” for 2019. The program was additionally awarded “Best Student Coaching” in the nation, due to its Student Success Coach Program, which helps students to succeed in the classroom and in their personal lives.

SAU’s MBA with a concentration in Human Resource Development was listed among “The Best Online MBA in Human Resources Programs” for 2019. The program was additionally named the “Most Accelerated” program in the nation, as students may earn their degree in as little as one year while taking one course at a time.

SAU’s MTESOL was listed among “The Best Online Master’s in English Language Learning Programs” for 2019. The program was additionally named the “Most Accessible” program in the nation, due to the program’s streamlined application process.