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MSU Breaks Ground on New Grand Rapids Research Center

By Geri Kelly, College of Human Medicine

A new era of medical discovery began in June, as ground was broken for the Michigan State University Grand Rapids Research Center.
The $88.1 million, six-story, 162,800-square-foot facility will include research program spaces and five core labs that will benefit MSU College of Human Medicine scientists and researchers from MSU’s partnering institutions. The core labs include bioinformatics, flow cytometer, long-term storage, and analytical and advanced microscopy.
The new research center will be located on the site of the former Grand Rapids Press building, at the corner of Michigan Street and Monroe Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids.
MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said the research center will fuel West Michigan’s knowledge economy.
“We envision the MSU research building and Grand Rapids Innovation Park to be a gateway to the Medical Mile and a magnet attracting business in life sciences and growth in the biotechnology sectors,” Simon said.
When the research center opens in late 2017, it will support 260 members of the College of Human Medicine’s scientific research teams, including 34 principal investigators and their labs. At full capacity, the center will support 44 research teams. Some of the areas of scientific study include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, pediatric neurology, autism, inflammation, transplantation, cancer, genetics, women’s health and reproductive medicine.
Read more.

New MSU Golf Center to be Named for Lasch Family

By Tom Oswald, Communications and Brand Strategy

Helping to ensure the future success of the Michigan State University golf program, Richard W. "Rick" and Suzanne Lasch of East Lansing have made a $2 million gift that will be used for the construction of a new men’s and women’s golf center.
At its meeting in June, the MSU Board of Trustees voted to approve naming the facility the Lasch Family Golf Center.
“Private support is positioning Michigan State to compete at the highest levels and to provide extraordinary experiences for all students,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “We are grateful for the vision and generosity of the Lasch family, which will help us to continue to pursue excellence in our athletic programs.”
The Lasch Family Golf Center will be an 18,000-square-foot building that will include an indoor practice area, student-athlete lounge, men’s and women’s locker rooms, coaches’ offices, video room and a kitchen area featuring nutrition/hydration stations.
Construction is scheduled to be completed by January 2016. Read more

Help New Spartans Move into their Digs

Help welcome more than 8,000 new Spartans to campus by volunteering for this year’s residence hall Spartan Move-in. Work alongside other alumni in the campus neighborhood of your choice on Aug. 22 or Aug. 29-31
All volunteers will receive a T-shirt, a meal in MSU’s award-winning dining services and complimentary parking. Register today at

Plan Now to Escape to the Caribbean Next Winter

Want to get away from the freezing temperatures of February?  Sign up for the MSU Alumni Association cruise, Sands & Shores of the Caribbean, February 12-22, 2016.  From Miami, cruise along the white sands and sun-kissed shores of spectacular islands, including Turks & Caicos Islands, Puerto Rico, St. Barts, St. Maarten, British Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. 
Costs begin at $2,999 per person, including airfare from various gateway cities. 
Visit the MSU Alumni Association’s travel website for more information on this exciting trip. To request a travel brochure, simply fill out our online form.

Alumnus and Former Faculty Member Finds Success in Family Business

By Melissa Delekta, Communications and Brand Strategy

Pat LeBlanc has always followed his passion, which led him to become a Michigan State University student, a Spartan cheerleader, a tenured MSU professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and finally the Veterinary Teaching Hospital director. While he loved his position as director, when his late father asked him to take over the family business LeBlanc followed his passion again – and it paid off.
LeBlanc was named the "2015 Michigan Small Business Person of the Year" by the U.S. Small Business Administration at a White House ceremony on May 8 for his chairman of EBW Electronics of Holland, Michigan. The automotive supplier was recognized as the West Coast Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Person of the Year last fall.
Though he has come a long way since, his many years at MSU and his time as a cheerleader taught him valuable life lessons that he has applied to his current career.
“One of the biggest reasons for my success, that I learned while at MSU, has been the power of ‘positive enthusiasm,'” LeBlanc said. “A leader has the opportunity to set the culture for an organization, if the leader is positive, supportive, and up-lifting it creates a great work culture.”

New Book Digs Deeper into Michigan State's Rivalry with that School to the East

David J. Young pens second novel on MSU's history and backstory

The Student and His Professor: John Hannah, Ralph Aigler and the Origin of the Michigan State-Michigan Rivalry explores the long-standing, adversarial relationship between late Michigan State University President John Hannah and University of Michigan Law Professor Ralph Aigler.
Their behind-the-scenes feud—based in large part on the controversial "athletic" scholarship—arguably played a major role in eventually transitioning a lopsided, politically mandated intrastate football series into a bona fide regional rivalry of national interest; one that even included a trophy!
It was late September of 1921; the second week of the academic year in Ann Arbor. The lecture on procedural law had just ended. Professor Ralph Aigler asked the student to step forward. He was impressed with the young man’s presence under fire during didactic dialogue a few minutes earlier. The student performed extremely well considering the arcane question had nothing to do with the assigned readings. They shook hands.
The professor predicted a bright future for the Grand Rapids native. Nine months later, John Hannah would drop out of law school. He planned to transfer to Michigan Agricultural College and study poultry science instead.
Professor Aigler was surprised by the decision. He wished him well. Twenty years later, in late December of 1941, the student and his professor would rekindle their relationship. But this time, it was not nearly as cordial. Ralph Aigler was now a nationally recognized legal scholar in contracts. He was also considered the most powerful man in intercollegiate athletics—a reputation gained while serving as Michigan’s faculty representative to the Big Ten and the NCAA in the interim.
And John Hannah, after working for his alma mater in various roles following graduation, had recently been appointed the school’s president. The board of trustees was impressed with the college secretary—effectively the chief operating officer—and his knack for leadership.
At age 39, Hannah was not content with maintaining the status quo. He had a grand vision for the land-grant school—transforming it into a major research center offering advanced degrees in disciplines unrelated to agriculture and the applied sciences. President Hannah had just announced plans to implement a financial aid program for Spartan athletes. His controversial proposal was based on a concept of justice honed during his one-year of studying law at the University of Michigan.
Professor Aigler, who had long-since lost track of his student, was livid over the announcement from East Lansing. The Jenison Awards were contrary to the 1916 amateur code of ethics, which he had dedicated his career to upholding. A 14-year gentleman’s quarrel between two academic giants followed, one that would profoundly impact institutional relations at the board of trustees level by the mid-1950s.
The story of that feud and its role in advancing the intrastate series is built around four historical events: Michigan State's quest for membership in the Big Nine; the Spartan Foundation Probation of '53; the Paul Bunyan Trophy controversy; and the "name change" civil war of 1954-55. As it turned out, Professor Aigler and fellow Wolverine leaders—obsessed with keeping the newbies in their rightful place—played no small part in trying to influence each outcome. 
Books are available on, Kindle, MSU Bookstore (on campus), SBS Bookstore, Schuler's Books in Lansing and Okemos. 

Spartan Football's Season Tickets Now on Sale

 Michigan State football season tickets for 2015 are now on sale through the Spartan Ticket Office (at $308 for general public and $210 for recent graduates).
To order football season tickets online, visit and click "Order Tickets" under the Ticket tab, then select football. Fans also may purchase tickets by calling the Spartan Ticket Office, locally at 355-1610 or outside the Lansing area at 1-800-GO-STATE. The Spartan Ticket Office, located in Jenison Field House, is open weekdays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Get your head in the game. Get details and watch the team's promotional video.

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