SVSU Alumni Recognized in Annual Award Presentation

Since 1976, Saginaw Valley State University’s Alumni Association has recognized more than 140 graduates for their personal and professional success and civic engagement.

This year, the association has honored five people with the Distinguished Alumni Award and three with the Young Alumni Award. The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes graduates of SVSU for distinguished service and accomplishment in any field of human endeavor that enhances the prestige of the university while the Young Alumni Award is presented to young SVSU alumni who contributed to student and campus life at SVSU, maintain a connection to the university, demonstrate a strong work ethic and show evidence of professional achievement and civic service.

The Alumni Association also recognizes an outstanding graduate who has served the United States with distinction through one of the branches of the armed forces and who has achieved personal and professional success with a Veteran Alumni Award. This year’s award was presented to Lt. Randall (Randy) Ott (1997, B.A.), who has transitioned from active duty to serving in the Navy Reserve. In 2020, Ott was deployed to Djibouti, a country on the Horn of Africa, serving as a public affairs officer for Camp Lemonnier. Since returning to Michigan, he has resumed his position as an instructor of communication at Western Michigan University. He resides in Kalamazoo.  

The Distinguished Alumni recipients are:

Shaun Johnson, College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences ― Shaun Johnson (2002, B.A.) presently serves as senior vice president and general counsel at Consumers Energy in Jackson, Michigan, where he is responsible for the legal department and all legal matters affecting the company. He also has overall responsibility for a number of other corporate functions. He joined the company in 2016. Johnson began his legal career at Dykema, a law practice in Detroit, where he served as an attorney and lobbyist for several public utility and energy clients throughout the United States. After being named a partner at Dykema, Johnson led the firm’s national Energy Practice. Johnson recently concluded a term as the chair of the Michigan Bar Association’s Administrative Law section and currently serves on the board of directors for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. From 2005-2008, he served on the SVSU Alumni Association board of directors. He resides in Dewitt.  

  Alberta Lee, Carmona College of Business ― Alberta Lee (1982, B.A.) is senior vice president of people and culture for the Cleveland Cavaliers. She joined the organization as vice president of human resources in 2014.  In her current role, Lee works in collaboration with executive leaders across all professional level sports organizations. She is involved in a variety of professional organizations and serves as a member of the Board of Visitors for Cuyahoga Community College and as an executive leadership board member for the American Heart Association. She resides in Macedonia, Ohio.   

  Jared Morningstar, College of Education ― Jared Morningstar (2005, B.A.) is a teacher at the Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy (SASA), where he has taught English language arts to gifted and talented 9th and 10th grade students for about 15 years. In 2012, he was one of 14 teachers in the nation to be named a High School Teacher of Excellence by the National Council of Teachers of English. In that same year, he was named Michigan’s High School English Teacher of the Year and Michigan’s Creative Writing Teacher of the Year (Touchstone Award) by the Michigan Council of Teachers of English. He resides in Mt. Pleasant.  

  Beth Charlton, College of Health and Human Services ― Beth Charlton (1989, B.S.N.) brings nearly 33 years of hands-on experience to her role as president/CEO of Covenant Healthcare in Saginaw. With more than 4,000 employees, the organization is one of the region’s largest employers. The organization provides nearly 2 million patient interactions annually within the Great Lakes Bay Region, including at its level II adult and pediatric trauma center. Charlton serves on several area boards, including the Great Lakes Boys and Girls Club, the Saginaw Chamber the Michigan Hospital Association, MMR and The SVSU Foundation. She resides in Freeland.  

  Derrick Tabor, College of Science, Engineering and Technology ― Derrick Tabor (1974, B.S.) retired in 2021 from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), under the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Tabor began his career as a research chemist at Eastman Kodak Research Laboratories, then joined the faculty of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., where he conducted independent research and served as department chair. Prior to joining NIMHD, Tabor served as a program director in the Minority Opportunity Research Division at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. He resides in Montgomery Village, Maryland.  

Recipients of the Young Alumni Award are:

Jordan Place is a co-founder and president and CEO of 3P. She currently serves as an emergency medicine resident physician at Ascension Genesys Hospital in Grand Blanc. While at SVSU, Place was involved in the Roberts Fellowship and Honors Program, was a member of the Phi Delta Epsilon international medical fraternity, participated in the Standing in the Gap Christian Fellowship organization and was on the homecoming court.  

Jesse Place, co-founder and CFO of 3P, teaches chemistry and environmental science at  Heritage High School in Saginaw. As a student at SVSU, he was a member of the Roberts Fellows, Foundation Scholars and Honors Program, participated in the Standing in the Gap Christian Fellowship organization and was a member of the homecoming court.  

Jordan and Jesse Place reside in Grand Blanc with their daughter.  

Thomas Taugher, co-founder and chief revenue officer of 3P, is an emergency medicine resident physician at Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw. While a student at SVSU, Taugher participated in the Honors Program and was a member of Phi Delta Epsilon (international medical fraternity) and Standing in the Gap Christian Fellowship. He also was involved with AIESEC, an organization that helps youth develop leadership skills through international internships and volunteer opportunities. Taugher held student positions with the Center for Academic Achievement and the chemistry stockroom, and he conducted behavioral neuroendocrine research. Taugher lives in Saginaw.