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Michigan State University

Grand Marshal Molly Brennan

Grand Marshal Molly Brennan

Grand Marshal Molly Brennan

The MSU Alumni Office is excited to announce that we will celebrate Homecoming 2023, Sept. 18-23.

MSU welcomes Molly Brennan as this year’s Homecoming Grand Marshal. Throughout decades of achievements in engineering, sustainability, athletics and scholarship, Molly Brennan has proven her dedicated commitment to her home, MSU.

Welcome Home, Spartans 

MSU alumni are known for their global impact. Students come from all corners of the globe and, after graduation, go on to make an impact in countless industries and locations. Every graduate has written their own story, with their own unique accomplishments. But whatever the future holds, there's one thing that unites all Spartans: coming home.

East Lansing is a second home for all graduates – it is a place, and yet it is also a feeling and a community in itself, a piece of every Spartan’s identity throughout the rest of their lives.

Welcome Home, Molly 

Molly Brennan is a Spartan with both academic and athletic legacies. She was the engineering group manager for the Truck and Bus Division of General Motors Corporation, where she won the first World Solar Challenge, setting four solar and electric land speed records in the Guinness Book of World Records. Beyond her illustrious career in engineering, however, she also made significant achievements as a track athlete, scholar and philanthropist. 

“It is an immense privilege and honor to be selected as MSU’s 2023 Grand Marshal,” Molly said. “This role allows me to embody the spirit, tradition and excellence that Michigan State University represents, while leading celebrations that unite students, alumni, faculty and the entire Spartan community.”

A Farmington Hills, MI resident, Brennan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science (and a double major in Humanities) from the Michigan State University College of Engineering and Honors College in 1982. During her time at MSU, she was a two-time All-American in Women’s Track & Field, Captain of MSU’s first Big 10 women’s outdoor championship team, a member of the MSU World Record Sprint Medley Relay team, and was awarded MSU Sportswoman of the Year in 1982. Academically, Brennan was one of the top two students in her class and won a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in England, where she earned an MPhil in philosophy, politics and economics.

After completing her studies, Brennan joined General Motors, where her dedication to innovation and interest in sustainability led her to play a pivotal role in GM's victory in the first World Solar Challenge as both engineer and driver on the GM Sunraycer solar car team. Brennan also became Tau Beta Pi’s first National Laureate recipient and has served in many professional and community organizations.

Throughout her lifetime, Brennan has remained deeply connected to her MSU roots. She served on the College of Engineering Alumni Association Board of Directors, President of the Honors College Alumni Board of Directors, and has been a member of the MSU Alumni Office Alumni Board. Brennan served on committees for MSU's first official capital campaign, MSU2000, as well The Campaign for MSU, and was a keynote speaker at MSU’s 1990 fall commencement. Molly is also an MSU 2005 Alumni Service Award recipient. Spanning to athletics, Brennan was a national committee chairperson for the MSU Student-Athlete Academic Center campaign, earned the 1996 Nell Jackson Outstanding Alumna Award, and was inducted into MSU’s Athletics Hall of Fame.

Brennan’s philanthropic spirit shines through her contributions to MSU. Together with her husband, William Devlin, she has significantly given back to the university; the two have established a joint endowed scholarship for students in the Honors College and College of Engineering, a faculty award in the Honors College recognizing distinguished service to Honors College Students, as well as an endowed fund focused on sustainability within the Honors College. They have also given to the Track program and to Dean’s discretionary funds. She also continues to volunteer her time and knowledge to support students in the Honors College, particularly in the National & International Scholarships & Fellowships Office, aiding students in their pursuit of prestigious awards like the Rhodes Scholarship. Over the years, Brennan’s commitment and legacy at MSU have continued strong — her sons, Eamon and Sean, have even carried on this legacy as proud graduates of MSU: Eamon graduating with a 4.0 in Environmental Studies and Sustainability, and Sean with a double major in Athletic Training and Kinesiology.

From academics to athletics, Brennan’s achievements span across diverse industries and pathways. Her varied skillsets and dedication to numerous passions exemplify what it means to be a Spartan. In celebration of our Grand Marshal, the Spartan community is coming together to support transformational scholarships, programs and initiatives inspired by Molly's unique journey as a Spartan – learn more: MSU 2023 Homecoming | Giving to Michigan State University

Join us as we welcome Spartans back to campus this Homecoming season and celebrate the transformational impact MSU has on the world. An impact that – according to Molly – “empowers us all to reach our fullest potential through personal growth, intellectual exploration, a sense of community and lifelong learning.”

Hear more from Molly in this MSU Today podcast with Russ White.

Author: Megan Cunningham