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@MSU Newsletter | January 2010



MSU taps an innovative executive and entrepreneur to lead MSUAA

   After a national search, Scott Westerman, longtime telecommunications executive and entrepreneur, has been named MSU’s new associate vice president for Alumni Relations and executive director of the MSU Alumni Association (MSUAA).  Westerman was an area vice president for Comcast Corp. in Albuquerque, NM.  He is a Hall of Fame leader in the cable television industry.  He has been an active Spartan advocate, serving in multiple leadership roles in MSUAA regional clubs and on the College of Communication Arts and Sciences Alumni Board.  Westerman graduated from MSU in 1978, and was named Distinguished Alumnus in 2001 by the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences.  He and his wife Colleen are life members of the MSU Alumni Association and members of the Jonathon A. Snyder Donor Society, having established the Scott and Colleen Westerman Technology Endowment.


She is 14th MSU student to win the prestigious scholarship to Cambridge

    Senior Jessica Muir, of Romeo, has been named a 2010 Marshall Scholar, MSU’s 14th such scholar.  The award covers two-year university fees at Cambridge University, England, cost-of-living expenses, research and travel grants and fares. In 2009, Muir was named a Goldwater Scholar. At MSU, Muir conducted undergraduate research in experimental high energy physics. In summer 2009, Muir studied at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva. In the local community, she serves as the assistant physics director for Science Theatre, a student-run outreach program that performs at schools throughout Michigan.  She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Dean’s Student Advisory Council for the College of Natural Science.  In addition to the Marshall Scholars, MSU has: 16 Rhodes Scholars, 16 Churchill Scholars, 27 Goldwater Scholars, 16 Truman Scholars, nine Udall scholars, six Hollings Scholars, two Gates-Cambridge Scholars and one Mitchell Scholar.


Alumni tour features MSU Professor Dr. Zeynep Ustunol

   Experience a great voyage of discovery into the very cradle of civilization on the MSU Alumni Association tour to Ancient Greece & Turkey, September 5-13, 2010.  Deluxe accommodations are aboard the newly launched 215-passenger state-of-the-art M.S. Le Boreal.  Book by January 26, 2010 and save $2,000 per couple!   This tour is filling quickly. Click here for more information.  In addition, you can save $500 per couple if you book the Treasures of China and the Yangtze River (April 12-22, 2010) tour by Jan. 8.  An optional extension to Yellow Mountain is available. Click here to see a listing of all MSUAA 2010 tours.


Prof selected to carry the Olympic Torch for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver

    James Pivarnik, MSU professor of kinesiology and director of MSU's Center for Physical Activity and Health, is one of 20 “ambassadors” selected by Coca-Cola to carry the Olympic torch enroute to the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada. Pivarnik currently serves as president of the American College of Sports Medicine in Indianapolis.  A professor at MSU since 1994, Pivarnik's work focuses on the importance of physical fitness across many platforms. He recently helped the federal government release the first-ever guidelines on physical fitness, developing the section on pregnancy and postpartum activity. Pivarnik is part of a team that will carry the torch on Jan. 18 and Jan. 19 through Calgary.  


Proceeds benefit Haven House, provider of emergency housing in Lansing

   A new cookbook might be of interest to MSU alumni.  The title is Tailgating on the Banks of the Red Cedar (2009).  Dave Havrilla, ’70, one of the book’s co-authors, says his group from the board of Lansing’s Haven House, a provider of emergency shelter, spent about a year collecting recipes from MSU tailgaters.  The book includes a foreword from George Blaha, the play-by-play announcer for MSU football radio broadcasts. The book costs $15 and includes more than 100 recipes.  It contains a number of photos and is organized in six chapters, from “Appetizers” to “Desserts.”  To obtain your copy, call 517-337-2731 or visit

Spartans on the Move


Longtime veterinarian wins association's highest honor

    Edward C. Liebler, '62, DVM '64, longtime Lansing area veterinarian until his retirement in 2008 and a member of the MSU Alumni Association’s National Alumni Board, has been presented with a Distinguished Life Membership by the American Veterinary Medical Law Association (AVMLA), DeKalb, IL.  It is only the third time this distinction has been awarded since the association was founded in 1993.  Liebler had previously served as executive director and as secretary and treasurer of AVMLA.  Liebler resides in Lansing and is active in many charitable and civic organizations, including the Lansing Host Lions Club.


Alum's program for special needs children now run by Dan Marino Foundation

    In 2000 Joel Altman, ’65, CEO of the Altman Companies, Boca Raton, FL, founded the nonprofit Kids@Home Program, which provides independent living and self-sufficiency training for young people who have aged out of foster care.  The award-winning program in Broward County, FL, has been taken over by the Dan Marino Foundation.  “This is an exciting time for my vision and the Kids@Home program as the Dan Marino Foundation takes our services and support to an entirely new level,” says Altman, who will join the Board of Directors of the Dan Marino Foundation.  “As a member of the Dan Marino Foundation family of services, our ability to continue to meet the special needs of these youths will never be stronger.”  Dan Marino is a former quarterback for the Miami Dolphins and a member of the National Football League’s Hall of Fame.


Attorney works for one of Michigan's leading business law firms

   Nancy Lckhart Farnam, ’83, has been elected to the partnership of Varnum LLC, a business law firm based in Grand Rapids with more than 150 attorneys in five offices. Farnam represents a wide range of employers in the design, documentation, administration and taxation of qualified retirement plans, welfare benefit plans and non-qualified deferred compensation plans.  Established in 1888, Varnum is a leading Michigan law firm providing a broad range of legal services to meet the complex needs of its clients. In 2008, the MSU College of Law Diversity Services Office named Varnum as Law Firm of the Year, recognizing the firm "for making extraordinary strides to diversify the legal profession and support MSU College of Law diversity initiatives."  


Recognized for contributions to the Building Owners & Managers Association

   Andrew L. Gutman, ’91, CFO, Farbman Group/NAI Farbman, Southfield, has been awarded the 2009 President’s Award from the Building Owners and Managers Association of Metropolitan Detroit for his significant contributions to furthering the organization’s mission. “Since joining Farbman Group in 1997, Andy has constantly led by example, demonstrating the true meanings of hard work, diligence and perseverance,” says Andrew V. Farbman, president and CEO, Farbman Group.  Gutman started with Farbman Group as a senior financial analyst more than a decade ago.  He has been CFO for the past six years. He conceptualized innovative programs like Michigan Now!, which sought to encourage job growth in Michigan..

Sports News


Mark Dantonio takes MSU to its third straight bowl game

    MSU will play Texas Tech in the 17th annual Valero Alamo Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010, in San Antonio, TX. The game is televised nationally by ESPN with kickoff set for 9 p.m. EST. It is the third straight bowl game for MSU since Mark Dantonio was named head coach, matching the second-longest bowl streak in school history.  MSU previously went to three straight bowl games in 1995-97. The Spartans made a school-record four straight postseason bowl appearances under George Perles in the late 1980s.  It will be MSU’s 20th postseason bowl appearance overall.  In 2003, MSU lost to Nebraska, 17-3, in the Alamo Bowl. "An invitation to the Valero Alamo Bowl is a great reward for our young football team," says Dantonio. "We're looking forward to representing the Big Ten and Michigan State in San Antonio.” 


Women's golf coach is named National Coach of the Year by Golf World

   MSU Women’s Golf Coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll has been named the mid-season National Women’s Coach of the Year by Golf World magazine.  The weekly magazine explains that “Slobodnik-Stoll has built a program that consistently advances to the NCAA Championship while rarely landing a five-star national recruit. It doesn't matter to Slobodnik-Stoll, who takes pride in finding diamonds in the rough and fashioning a team whose sum is greater than the whole of its parts. Such is the case in 2009-10, as Michigan State picked up arguably the biggest win in school history at the Lady Tar Heel ... this after winning the Mary Fossum Invitational back in East Lansing.”  The Spartans finished the fall ranked sixth in the Golf World/NGCA coaches' poll. The magazine predicts that MSU and Purdue will battle it out for the Big Ten championship this year.

Guest Column


By Stella Cash, MS '80, Interim Executive Director

   As I reflect on the accomplishments and changes in the MSU Alumni Association during my two years as Interim Executive Director, I would like to focus on the alumni staff who have moved this organization forward under my leadership. During the past two years, we have expanded the expertise in the association by hiring a new director of sales and sponsorships, a new membership and marketing director, a student/young alumni coordinator, a one-on-one coach for career services, and a director for international alumni engagement. All of this has been accomplished while maintaining a positive budget. 
   These additions have allowed us to increase revenue from sales and sponsorships, stabilize membership, provide additional services and programs to members, and expand engagement with the international community and our young alumni. I am very proud of our new Economic Stimulus program, which offers free membership in the MSUAA for unemployed Spartans, and also of our second initiative to bring over 100 underprivileged third to fifth graders to campus on a football Saturday.  We often reference…."Study hard, stay in school, so you can go to college"; however, many of these students and their families have never stepped foot on a college campus. How exciting to introduce them to MSU! 
   The Alumni Association has transitioned into every aspect of the new University Advancement model, and I believe it is a stronger organization because of this change in the way we do business at MSU. 
   We have revised over half the bylaws of the association to serve as the framework for association decision making; established a finance committee that works with our director of Budgets, Finance and Endowments; re-defined the IT Committee of the board as the Communications Committee to reflect changes in communication strategies.  We also improved policies and procedures for the nomination process for the national board.
  The national board, comprised of 75 members, has emerged as a working board through committee appointments; it has had more applicants this past year than there were openings.
  I want to thank my staff, colleagues on campus, the board, and the many Spartans that I have met for their support and trust in me. I truly believe we have positioned the MSUAA as the Triple A Alumni Association . . . with a focus on the Arts, Academics and Athletics.