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Director's Message: An Eternal Impact



  • Author:
    W. Scott Westerman III
  • Published:
    Fall 2016

Education is the one profession from which all other professions emerge, a crucial calling which influences the plot line of the chapters we write in the human adventure.

At every significant twist and turn of our lives, there is a teacher  who plants a seed of knowledge that blossomed into opportunity. Many of the alumni I talk with can point to a particular professor who had an influence in their lives.

For me that person was Tom Muth at the College of Communication Arts and Sciences (CAS). He inspired me to think of broadcasting as a business that had its foundation in the Communications Act of 1934, where every action had to affirm the “public interest, convenience and necessity.” His broadcast law class required total concentration, attention and preparation. He made sure you not only knew the content, but also understood the context.

The discipline he expected and the philosophy of selfless service he imparted became the formula for success that many of us incorporated into our personal and professional lives.

When we endow something we care about at MSU, we’re ensuring what President  Lou Anna K. Simon calls, “a margin of excellence.”

Endowments attract great students and faculty—reassured by alumni invested in long-term outcomes—who will have an impact across the generations.

This was on our minds when my wife Colleen and I established our own endowment at CAS. In the 15 years since, we have watched its beneficiaries grow to become leaders, lifesavers and world changers in their own right.

The highest compliment was learning that students who benefitted from our giving were now writing their own extraordinary Spartan stories. Philanthropy was an important dimension of these stories. Tales that began during an encounter with an exceptional teacher and came to fruition with a desire to perpetuate the magic.

In this issue of the MSU Alumni Magazine, we will meet some of the talented teachers who are impacting young lives thanks to endowed professorships. I hope they inspire you to consider your own contributions toward perpetuating Michigan State’s margin of excellence.

“A teacher,” wrote legendary historian, journalist and educator, Henry Adams, “affects eternity.”

So do the men and women who endow gifts that allow MSU to attract the best and brightest, to reveal new vistas of knowledge and to inspire the next generation to “Pass It On.”

W. Scott Westerman III

Executive Director, MSU Alumni Association