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@MSU Newsletter | April 2015 Home » @MSU Newsletter

Spartan Basketball Team: Dusting off its Dancing Shoes

Coach Tom Izzo Again Leads MSU to Final Four; Spartans Overcome Four Teams with Higher Seeds

Congratulations to the MSU men’s basketball team for reaching its seventh Final Four since 1998—the nation's record during that time span.
 
With the team fighting for an NCAA Tournament invitation for its 18th consecutive season, the Spartans (27-11) once again showed off their March Magic with their run in the Big Ten Tournament. Despite its loss to No. 6 Wisconsin, MSU broke its bubble to land a berth in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 7 seed. 
 
In short order, the Spartans summarily dispensed with No. 10 Georgia and then No. 2 Virginia. And for the second straight year, the Spartans edged out the Virginia Cavaliers to move up to the Sweet Sixteen, in arguably the best defensive game of the year. MSU then faced a speedy No. 3 Oklahoma team, but took down the Sooners to advance to the Elite Eight for the second time in as many years.
 
With a bid to the Final Four on the line, Coach Tom Izzo’s Spartans rallied in an overtime thriller to vanquish the No. 4-seeded Louisville Cardinals. The Spartans secured the team's first Final Four bid since 2010.
 
MSU takes on the No. 1 Duke (33-4) Blue Devils at 6:09 p.m. on April 4, in Indianapolis. The two last squared off on Nov. 18, 2014, in the Champions Classic. Duke won, 81-71.
 
That in and off itself is sure to stir the raging fires already burning in our Spartans’ bellies.
 
The latest news on the athletics' front, including game watch parties, is on Spartan Central.

SPARTANS WILL. POWER – A Global Day of Service

Join fellow Spartans or launch a service project of your own

The SPARTANS WILL. POWER Global Day of Service returns on Saturday, April 18, bringing together Spartan alumni, friends, students, faculty and staff from around the world to serve their local communities.

There’s still time to register for a  project in your community. On April 18, Spartans across the globe will come together to show the world the extraordinary impact we can make in a single day.

Visit the Service Day website to sign-up to participate in an established project, or create your own by April 15, to be part of this tradition of service.

India Tiger and Big Five Safari Travel Tour

MSU alumnus and adventure travel guide will lead you on trip of lifetime

Join MSU alumna and Want Expeditions owner and operator Jessica Pociask on this exclusive wildlife tour to India. Fewer than 3,000 tigers remain in the wild, and many environmental groups have declared that in as little as 20 years, tigers will be considered an extinct species.  If you have ever dreamed of seeing a tiger in the wild, now is the time.

Dates are Oct. 19-Nov. 3. Cost starts at $8,088 per person (double occupancy), plus airfare. 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.

Do you belong to the Class of 1965?

Sign up for Alumni Reunion Days and relive your campus memories

Spartans from the class of 1965 and earlier are invited to return to campus for Alumni Reunion Days, April 24-25.

Registration is open now and plans have been finalized for two days of celebration, camaraderie and fellowship. Some events will be free of charge, while others require a fee.

To register, or to see a complete listing of events, visit the Alumni Reunion Days website.

Admired Former MSU AD, Hockey Coach Mingles with Spartan Fans in Florida

Ron Mason greets, speaks to more than 160 alumni, friends

More than 160 MSU alumni attended Memories Night in The Villages, Florida to hear Ron Mason reflect on both his coaching career and tenure as Athletic Director from 2002 through 2008.

As MSU’s hockey coach from 1980-2002, Mason had the most wins (924) in NCAA history. He coached the 1985-1986 Spartans to an NCAA championship, coached the 2001-2001 team in the "Cold War" outdoor game in Spartan Stadium. And as AD, he was instrumental in the hiring of Mark Dantonio.

Mason's philanthropy included the establishment of the Ron Mason Fund for the pediatric rehabilitation of disabled children at Sparrow Hospital and served as honorary chairperson of the Children’s Network Fund which raised over $19,000,000 from 1989-2008. 

He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.

Pictured, from left: Gale Arent,  MSU Memories Night chair; Ron Mason; Don Hand,The Villages Area MSU alumni club president; and Terry Braverman, former Spartan Fund director and MSU football announcer.

Revered Poet and Alumna to Visit Campus in April and Read From Her Works

Carolyn Forché one of MSU Poetry Festival's headliners

On April 22 and 23, Carolyn Forché will close the April Spring Poetry Festival hosted by the Center for Poetry, within the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities.

On April 22 at 7 p.m., she will give a reading in the College's Theater. The following afternoon at 3 p.m., she  will meet with the public for a conversation on The Poet in the World: Witness in the English Tradition in the MSU Main Library, room W449. She willl discuss her travels as a poet, meeting other poets in countries that have suffered through war, and the view of English-language poetry as written apolitically in the ivory tower. Events are free.

Renowned as a “poet of witness,” Detroit native Forché is the author of four books of poetry.

Her first poetry collection, Gathering The Tribes (Yale University Press, 1976), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. In 1977, she traveled to Spain to translate the work of Salvadoran-exiled poet Claribel Alegrí­a, and upon her return, received a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, which enabled her to travel to El Salvador, where she worked as a human rights advocate.
 
Her second book, The Country Between Us (Harper and Row, 1982), received the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and was also the Lamont Selection of the Academy of American Poets.
 
Her third book of poetry, The Angel of History (HarperCollins, 1994), was chosen for The Los Angeles Times Book Award. Blue Hour is her fourth collection of poems (HarperCollins, 2003). She is currently at work on a memoir of her years in El Salvador, Lebanon, South Africa, and France. Read more.

Rash of Injuries Take Toll on Spartan Women's Basketball Team

Nevertheless, two sophomores emerge as bona fide superstars

The MSU women’s basketball team was marred by injuries and transfers during the season. Still the team eked out a winning season with a 16-15 record.
 
With two Spartans going down with knee injuries, another with a head injury, and a fourth transferring mid-season, sophomore guards Aerial Powers and Tori Jankoska carried the load and were two bright spots for a team that missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008. 
 
Powers continued her standout career with her second First Team All-Big Ten selection, while Jankoska earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors.
 
Powers averaged 21.9 points per game and 12.1 rebounds per contest to set new single-season highs for both scoring (626) and rebounding (375). She ranked in the top 10 in the nation in both categories. 
 
Jankoska followed up a successful freshman campaign with an impressive season herself. The former Miss Basketball in Michigan averaged 17.5 points with 6.9 rebounds per game, while leading the team with nearly four assists per game. She notched 68 three-pointers this season, tying for fifth on MSU's single-season three-pointers list.  Her 132 career treys put her at No. 8 on MSU's career three-pointers list.  
 
Senior Becca Mills finished her college career by starting all 31 games to notch 100 career starts, becoming just the 10th Spartan to ever do so. Mills also finished her career with 91 blocked shots — seventh most in program history.
 
"I am incredibly proud of what this year's team accomplished under such challenging circumstances. While we could have participated in postseason play, after talking with our senior student-athletes (and our entire team), it truly is in our student-athletes' best interest right now to rest, recover and then we can begin to prepare for the future as the spring unfolds," Coach Suzy Merchant said.
 
Pictured, from left: Spartan Women's Basketball Team standouts Aerial Powers and Tori Jankoska.

MSU Hockey Star Hildebrand Named Big Ten Player of the Year

Michigan State junior goaltender Jake Hildebrand has been voted the Big Ten Player of the Year, it was announced by the conference office on Monday, March 16. Hildebrand was one of four Spartans who earned All-Big Ten honors as defenseman Travis Walsh was named Second Team All-Big Ten, forward Matt Berry garnered Honorable Mention All-Big Ten and defenseman Josh Jacobs was voted to the All-Freshman Team.

Additionally, Hildebrand was the unanimous Goaltender of the Year selection, earning him a spot on the All-Big Ten First Team.

"Jake gives us a chance to win each night and he's certainly very deserving of this honor," MSU head coach Tom Anastos said. "He has been our team's best player all season and it's nice to see his body of work recognized by the league's head coaches and media. It's great to have four members of our team - Jake, Travis, Matt and Josh - honored and it's something we all take pride in as a program."

Hildebrand has been the Spartans' backbone this season, having started all 34 games and allowing two or fewer goals in 20 of those contests. He is the Big Ten leader in both goals-against average (2.12) and save percentage (.930). His six shutouts are the second most of any goaltender in the nation. Read more.

Gymnasts Lisa Burt, Elena Lagoski Named First Team All-Big Ten

Michigan State junior Lisa Burt and sophomore Elena Lagoski have both been named to First Team All-Big Ten, as announced by the Conference office on Monday. It is the first All-Big Ten honors for both athletes, following in the footsteps of senior Alina Cartwright, who was an All-Big Ten pick in the 2014 season. This marks the first time MSU has had two gymnasts named to the First Team since Rhiannon Banda-Scott and assistant coach Nicole Curler were in 2007-08.
 
Named a Big Ten Gymnast to Watch for in 2015, Burt has proven her consistency, taking the all-around crown in five meets this season. A career high 39.475 came in the home opener against Minnesota (Jan. 25), where Burt posted a career high 9.825 on vault and a then-career-best 9.900 on bars. The Port Orange, Fla. native has taken four bar titles this season, setting a career high 9.925 on the event at Illinois (Feb.20), while also recording four first-place finishes on the beam. As of March 16, Burt is ranked 23rd nationally and 11th in the conference with a 39.345 RQS as an all-around competitor.
 
"I'm really excited for Lisa because I feel like she has been the rock of this team all year long," said head coach Kathie Klages. "I'm thrilled that she made the First Team All-Big Ten. She has been extremely valuable to this team, she is definitely our MVP." Read more.

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