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SVSU History: Through 1960's

Quick Facts

  • Nov. 13, 1963 State grants a charter for Saginaw Valley College
  • March 23, 1964 Sam Marble is SVC's first president
  • Sept. 8, 1964 The first SVC class from Delta College enroll as juniors at SVC
  • July 22, 1965 SVC becomes a state-supported institution. The college is briefly named Saginaw Bay State College (until March 28, 1966)
  • April 17, 1966 First commencement (10 students)
  • Jan. 3, 1967 SVC moves from the basement of Delta College to its current site.
  • 1969 Wickes Hall, Doan Center, a theater, and SVC's first dormitory are constructed.

Beginning through 1969

Before 1963

  • 1920: A junior college program is launched in Bay City with the establishment of Bay City Junior College.
  • 1955: Civic leaders of the Tri-County area meet to discuss problems of higher education. Leland Doan, of Midland, is named chairman of the Tri-County Founding Organization.
  • 1956: The Committee of 300 is appointed to study the educational needs of the community. They recommend a two-year community college that would expand into a four-year college.
  • 1958: Citizens of the three counties approve the founding of a community college, later to become Delta College.
  • 1961: Delta College, formed from Bay City Junior College, opens.
  • 1962: First graduation class from Delta College.


  • July 2: The Articles of Incorporation are written. The document expresses an effort to form a non-profit educational corporation. The idea, which later becomes SVC, is originally referred to in the document as Delta Senior University.
  • Nov. 13: The state grants a charter to establish a private, four-year liberal arts institution known as Saginaw Valley College. The concept becomes reality and the institution is born.


  • March 23: Delta President Marble is appointed SVC's first president. He holds both presidential posts for four months before becoming exclusively SVC's president.
  • July 6: President Marble recommends to the college's Board of Directors that a campus site be purchased with 'minimum liability' and 'maximum potential' to the communities of Saginaw, Bay City and Midland.
  • Sept. 8: The first class of 119 students complete their first two years at Delta College. They then enroll as juniors at SVC. Classes take place in Delta's basement and remain there until 1967.


  • 1965: In his Annual Report for 1965, President Marble makes it clear what his two strategies for SVC are. The first is to raise a sum of not less than $4 million for the initial buildings and operation of the college as a private institution. The second is to secure the support of the State of Michigan and turn over some or all of the assets to a new state-supported institution.
  • July 2: The goal of raising $4 million is achieved in the final 24 hours of a fundraiser.
  • July 22: Michigan Gov. George Romney signs a bill that makes SVC a state-supported institution. The college is briefly named Saginaw Bay State College.
  • Oct. 16: The schoolÕs first board meeting of the state-supported college is held. Founding members include Charles Curtiss, Jean Treadway, Dorothy Arbury, William Groening, Herbert Fox, Maurice Brown, Melvin Zahnow and Wade McCree.


  • Feb. 12: After some debate, the campus site is finally selected for SVSC. It is Section 23 of Kochville Twp. where SVSU resides today.
  • March 28: The Michigan House of Representatives vote 96-0 in favor of renaming Saginaw Bay College as Saginaw Valley College.
  • April 17: The first commencement ceremony is held at St. John's Episcopal Church in Midland. Ten students are the first to graduate from the institution.
  • May 26: The North Central Associates of Colleges and Secondary Schools awards SVC its first accreditation extending two years.
  • August: The school's first exchange student and teacher arrive from Tokyo, Japan
  • Oct. 17: The student government and campus newspaper are formed.
  • Nov. 1: The first issue of the newspaper is released. After five issues, it is named The Valley Vanguard.


  • Jan. 3: SVC moves out of the basement of Delta College and into its current site. Classes are held in the Project Ô66 building, the current site of such offices as the Mail Room and Campus Facilities. Some delays in construction are encountered during that first semester and there are complications directing traffic around the school.
  • February: The Valley Vanguard is given its name during a contest held by the student newspaper (then called The What's Its Name). Sports reporter Tom Basinski comes up with the name.
  • September: The school bowling team is formed to become SVCÕs oldest sport. The team begins play at Stardust Lanes.
  • October: A water tower is built on campus. It stays there until November, 2000.
  • Winter: Plans are in the works for SVC's first literary magazine, The Collage.


  • 1968: This is the year in which the first certified teachers graduate from the Saginaw Valley College of Education. This marked a milestone for the area and began the trend of future teachers to start their education locally at the institution. This also helps to market the school to potential students from outside the Tri-City area. Until the teacher program is certified in 1971, Alma College recommends SVCÕs graduates for certification in education.
  • February: The first State of the College address is given by President Marble.
  • May: A report on the physical education program and facility is received from a college consultant, Richard C. Havel, of Wayne State University. Plans get underway to develop a gymnasium on campus.


  • 1969: SVC is undergoing heavy construction with the building of Wickes Hall, Doan Center, a theater, and the school's first dormitory, Great Lakes Hall.
  • April 26: SVC's theater is built in time to host the college's fourth commencement ceremony. Today the theater, located next to the Project 66 building, is used as an all-weather facility.
  • Fall: Golf becomes SVC's second intercollegiate sport.
  • Oct. 26: The school hosts its week-long campus dedication program.