MUNDY TWP. — After 30 years of serving the Flint area including the past 12 years in Flint Township, Spring Arbor University (SAU) has a bigger home and even bigger plans for the future.
The Christian liberal arts institution is now located at 5406 Gateway Center. Last week, university officials celebrated the move, completed in January, with an open house and a ribbon cutting, assisted by the Grand Blanc Chamber of Commerce. The new 8,500 square-foot facility is 1,500 square-feet larger than the old site — poised to offer more educational opportunities.
“We are always trying to figure out what is the best location to provide access and exposure and to serve our students best,” said Brent Ellis, SAU president, who did the ribbon cutting honors. With its main campus in Spring Arbor, SAU is a Christian liberal arts institution of higher learning founded in 1873. It now has 12 satellite learning sites operating throughout Michigan including the one in Flint.
Among expansion plans in the works are a master’s degree program in social work, a Leadership in Communication bachelor’s degree and a Non-profit Leadership program, said Kimberly Rupert, provost and chief academic officer. SAU currently offers several master’s degree programs including nursing and business administration. All Spring Arbor programs are not available at all sites.
“We are working hard to try to bring everything we have at our campus site to anyone who wants access to it,” Rupert said. Courses are offered online and in face-to-face classroom settings, she said.
“We have confidence in Flint. We would love to be part of Flint Rising,” Rupert added. “We intend to bring the programs out as soon as we think we have a solid academic program.”
Though every program is not offered at every site one goal is to find out what works best at the Flint site and to offer what is needed and wanted, she said.
Doug Wilcoxson, SAU executive vide president, said that the university trains its students to be community leaders and world changers.
“We want you to know that with our Christ-centeredness in our perspective for learning, we are very people focused,” he said. “The purpose of our education is not just transactional – you pay tuition and you get a degree — but transformational. It is not just having knowledge or skill but taking that knowledge and skill so that it can be applied to impact the world.”
He introduced Linda Sherrell, Assistant Provost, and Josh Wymore, Executive Director East Region, who are the main community liasions for the Flint-area site, he said.
Wilcoxson also took the opportunity to give special recognition to Phil Rose, Spring Arbor executive director for 20 years, for being instrumental in relocating to the new Flint site. Rose has been active with the West Flint Optimist Club and the West Flint Business Association.