Skip navigation

@MSU Newsletter | April 2014 Home » @MSU Newsletter

Pedal, Paddle & Pinot Adventure

Join fellow Spartans for a bike tour through California wine country.

     Tim Potter, manager of the MSU Campus Bikes Service Center, will host a 6-day, 5-night Pedal, Paddle & Pinot adventure (July 13-18, 2014) featuring several days of biking amidst the picturesque vineyards and wineries of Sonoma County.  Besides a bike tour of wine country, participants will visit the Pacific coast and paddle in the protected waters of Tomales Bay; hike amidst giant redwood stands; and enjoy exclusive visits to vineyards and wineries.  Each day includes biking through rolling hills, along rivers or amidst scenic vineyards. The daily mileage is 20-30 flatter miles with longer options for those looking to pedal more. Travelers will enjoy fabulous farm-to-table meals, the incredible local wine (yes, there will be Pinot Noir and many more varietals) and spend nights in two unique properties: a coastal lodge and a modern, LEED-certified "eco-friendly hotel located near the Healdsburg town square.  Host Potter has worked as a bike tour guide, mechanic, interpreter and driver in Japan for Americans and for Japanese cyclists in the Canadian Rockies.  He is on the board of the Ride of Silence organization and co-founded the University Bike Programmer's Network.  For more information and to request a brochure, click here.

Inside Out

New President’s Report takes an in-depth look at the MSU student experience.

    Every student takes a unique path to success, and it’s fascinating to go behind the scenes to look at individual life experiences. That’s what this year’s MSU President’s Report aims to do—capturing the individual magic of students’ lives. Last year the report took a macro view and looked at MSU’s impact all around the world.  This year, the President’s Report will try to turn things inside out.  What’s it like to be an undergraduate student at MSU?  The Communications and Brand Strategy team took an inside look by following nine students for an entire semester and filming their experiences.  Even cooler?  The filmmakers were also undergraduate students.  The footage is being turned into a 30-minute documentary that will be this year’s report, Inside Out.  Check it out!

Help Save Archival Footage

Alumni can help this project to save historic footage.

    The MSU Archives & Historical Collections has hundreds of film reels and videotapes documenting Spartan football, basketball and other sports from the 1940s up to the 1990s, when digital cameras took over.  This film and video collection is vulnerable to degradation of its media, and must be restored and digitized soon—before the content is lost.  The collection also has valuable footage of the Spartan Marching Band, plus 4H and Extension events. Together, the materials document the special place of MSU sports, music and youth development to Michigan life and culture.  You can help preserve this important piece of Spartan history with a gift to the MSU Film and Video Preservation Fund! A gift of $50, $100, or $500 will greatly assist digitization efforts.  Join the team and help save these priceless Spartan memories!  To help preserve this history, click here

New Engagement Director

Daniel Mathis will lead the MSUAA’s engagement team.

    Daniel Mathis, MA ’09, has been named MSUAA Associate Director for Alumni Engagement.  Daniel joined the MSUAA in March 2013 and worked the midwest and west regions to develop both alumni clubs and alumni interest groups.  Previously he served the MSU Admissions Office and worked outside of the MSU family in higher education advancement, most recently as executive director of the Eastern Michigan University Alumni Association.  Daniel will lead the team of Dave Brown, Kim Kittleman, Tim Bograkos, Vicki Essenmacher and Claire Brender.  “With Daniel as their advocate and servant, I am certain that we are only just beginning to change the world, as only Spartans Will,” says Scott Westerman, MSUAA executive director.  Mathis is a 2007 graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in Social Science.  His MA from MSU is in higher, adult and lifelong education. While at MSU in graduate school, he served as a graduate assistant in the Office of Admissions leading to his first full-time position as an admissions counselor at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. In 2010, he joined the staff of the Eastern Michigan University Office for Alumni Relations as an Assistant Director and subsequently led the organization as its interim executive director for two years. Daniel returned to the Lansing area in March for his current position in the MSUAA.

Spartan is Name President

A finance expert takes over the Allen Park campus of Michigan’s largest private college.

    Kristine L. Barann, '88, vice president of finance at Baker College, Allen Park, has been named as the college’s president beginning the next academic year.  Barann has more than 25 years of financial, consultant and managerial experience across multiple industries.  Prior to joining Baker College in 2010, Barann was involved with the campus as an adjunct professor of accounting and a member of its Board of Regents from 2005 to 2010.  She also worked as business manager of the Trenton Public Schools, finance director for the City of Allen Park and manager at Plante & Moran, LLC.  “I'm thrilled to continue my career at the Allen Park campus of Baker College,” says Barann. “I look forward to working with our outstanding educators and dedicated staff to continue to provide quality higher education and training in the Downriver area.”  Barann graduated with honors from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She earned her CPA certificate in 1990.  Baker College is the largest private college in Michigan, serving more than 35,000 students on 12 campuses and in three satellite locations.  

Freedom’s Long March

Novel about a barbarian tribe within the Roman Empire.

    Paul Murray, ’76, has published a novel that makes the reader consider which is better—to be a part of civilization and its demands on time and lifestyle, or to live freely apart from any government?  Freedom’s Long March (New Friends Publishing, 2013), available from, focuses on the Tencteri tribe living along the east bank of the Rhine River.  The tribe has been living peacefully, although uneasily, with a Roman garrison posted on the opposite side of the river.  This changes when a Roman detachment crosses the river to collect firewood. The incursion sets off a chain of events that forces the Tencteri to choose between annihilation or a mandated march of one thousand miles to help the Romans conquer another barbarian tribe.  Within that framework is a love story between the daughter of the tribe’s chieftain and a blacksmith, who organize a resistance against the Roman commander.  Murray is a journalist who resides in Rock Springs, WY.  At MSU he studied ethnic, racial and religious intergroup relations.

Greenspan’s Anguish

Essays from an economist whose analysis goes outside the conventional box.

    James Eggert, MA ’68, is a writer and emeritus faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, WI, where he taught undergraduate students for 33 years.  Although his field is economics, Eggert thinks outside the box and will inject ecological principles and spiritual insights into his analysis, which is in the collection of essays, Greenspan’s Anguish (Green Dragon Publishing Group, 2013).  Eggert, winner of an outstanding teaching award and for many years the advisor for the student environment club, GreenSense, currently serves on the Town of Colfax planning commission and is a member of the Wisconsin Environmental Educators as well as The Thoreau Society.  Eggert has published other books including What Is Economics (4th edition), Invitation to Economics, Low-Cost Earth Shelters, The Wonder of the Tao and Meadowlark Economics.  According to one review, “This is a book full of things to talk about with your friends and family, as well as inspiring internal dialogue. There are delightful discussions of meadowlarks, of the nature of capitalism, of 'economist' Henry David Thoreau," of craftsmanship and high jumping, of topsoil and the art of repair, and many other things that constitute a joyful and complete human life.” 

The Story of Insula

Two brothers from Latvia tell the story of a refugee camp at the end of World War II.

    Ventis Plume, ’59 and his brother John Plume, ’65, were born in Latvia prior to World War II, to a forest ranger and his wife. The Soviet regime in 1941 had their father listed for deportation to Siberia. Tipped off by a friend, their father escaped the mass arrests by hiding out. In 1944, the family, with thousands of other Baltic refugees, fled to Germany. Five years later, they arrived in the United States of America to begin a normal life. Thus began a long journey that would lead them through a new life in a new land.  Now, six decades later, the Plumes have published Insula—Island of Hope (Bookstand Publishing, 2013), which tells the story of many Latvian refugees who were temporarily interned in Insula, a refugee camp located in the Bavarian Alps near Berchtesgaden, the home of Adolf Hitler and other high ranking Nazis.  The book boasts a foreword by former Latvian president Vaira Vike-Freiberga and has been described as “required reading in public schools.”  

Two Championships In Basketball

Both men’s and women’s basketball won Big Ten championships this season.

    For the women, it was a satisfying Big Ten regular season co-championship with Penn State—its second league title in four years.  Seniors Klarissa Bell and Annalise Pickrel, along with Coach Suzy Merchant, became the first MSU class and coach in history to win two Big Ten championships—in 2009 MSU won the title outright.  For the men, after a series of key injuries derailed its regular season championship pursuit, it was a rousing Big Ten Tournament championship—where a healthy contingent beat Northwestern, Wisconsin and Michigan to win its fourth tournament title since 1999.  For Tom Izzo, the tournament win was redemption for a team that prior to the tournament was missing key players at any given time.  The rousing 69-55 win over the archrival Wolverines gave MSU momentum entering the NCAA tournament—with a number of ESPN analysts, and even President Obama, picking the Spartans to win it all in 2014.

Newsletter Archive

Side Notes

It’s Your Network!

Join our worldwide organization of Spartans helping Spartans and discover how the MSUAA is "Your Personal Network for LIfe."

Locate a Club

The MSUAA has clubs in every corner of the U.S.  Locate a club near you!

Alumni Reunion Days

This year's reunion will feature the Class of 1964.  For more information, visit the Alumni Reunion Days web site.

Alumni LENS

The MSUAA offers a wide array of enrichment options.  

Project 360/24

Spartans from around the globe share their personal videos from one day, Nov. 6.

Watch the MSUToday Show

MSUToday appears regularly on the Big Ten Network. View online or watch them on the Big Ten Network.

Got MSU Memorabilia?

Help University Archives & Historical Collections document Spartan students of all generations.  Donate your papers, photos, scrapbooks or videos—contact the Archives at 517-355-2330, e-mail, or visit

Upcoming Events

Alumni Reunion Days

April 24, 2014

Italy's Lake District

April 29, 2014

Twitter Facebook Search