May 17, 2017
SVSU student shows perseverance to complete degree
Emotions filled Natalie Jacobs as she crossed the stage during Commencement exercises at Saginaw Valley State University Saturday, May 6. Her seven years of college culminate a lifetime of determination overcoming medical challenges.
A graduate of Farmington Hills Harrison High School, Jacobs recalled her family's feelings when she arrived at her SVSU residence hall in August 2010.
"My grandma was so excited, she cried," Jacobs recalled. "My parents didn't know if I'd make it, living on my own."
Jacobs has a diagnosed learning disability, but she also possesses a remarkable work ethic and incredible resolve. A communication major, she is scheduled to complete her final two courses this summer.
Her hardest course? "Biology. I enjoyed the course, but it was hard," Jacobs said.
Her parents, Paul and Lori Jacobs, wrote a letter to SVSU President Don Bachand, expressing their appreciation.
"It is clear without the encouragement of many, many professors she wouldn't have made it," the couple wrote. "They believed in her as much as we did. Natalie is a hard worker and understands that she has to work harder than most to pass her courses. She regularly would visit her professors during office hours, and asked them for help and support.
"That support - and acceptance at all levels of the university of a student with disabilities - was provided without hesitation by most of her professors. It was remarkable how many went out of their way to help her. No corners were cut, but for a student that required additional support, it was provided every step of the way."
Natalie Jacobs said Daniel Villaire, SVSU lecturer of English, provided encouragement at a particularly difficult juncture when she questioned whether she could finish what she started.
"He helped me get my college career on track," she said. Natalie's college career is nearly complete. Her life after college is about to begin.
"The investment made by society and by your staff will pay off for decades to come," her parents wrote, "and we hope it encourages and inspires everyone involved that this is worth it."