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Michigan State University

The Soul of Service

Quentin Tyler

The Soul of Service


There’s a particular pearl of wisdom from Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington that cycles around my mind often: “At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you give back.”

For more than a century, MSU Extension has improved the quality of life in Michigan by bringing the vast knowledge and resources of MSU directly to communities across Michigan. Powered by more than 600 education professionals throughout the state, we have equipped residents with information, tools and resources to perform professional duties, raise healthy families and enhance communities while empowering children to dream of a more dynamic, vibrant future.

Service to others is central to our work, a necessary ingredient to building trust, engaging with residents and creating a more lively, sustainable world.


These are not simply moments of service. Rather, this is a green-and-white-clad movement of service ingrained in who we are. 

—Quentin Tyler, Director, MSU Extension


Whenever I peer beyond the corner of Extension’s work, I see equally beautiful and powerful actions. Our students advocating for equity and inclusion initiatives. Spartan alumni sharing their time and knowledge to uplift others. Faculty and advisers guiding students through real-world projects. Whether shaping public policy, amplifying unheard voices or striving for social change, Spartans continually demonstrate resilience, empathy, inclusion and innovation in an increasingly complex and evolving world.

These are not simply moments of service. Rather, this is a green-and-white-clad movement of service ingrained in who we are. Spirited and committed to the greater good, our actions directly fulfill our mission to improve lives for those in Michigan and around the globe. We know there are thousands of Spartans doing good. This article will introduce you to just a few. We take pride in that.

PORTRAITS OF SPARTAN SERVICE: Spartan Service & Support Stories

The following six alumni illustrate six different avenues of service and support. By lifting up neighbors, connecting communities and driving toward a more sustainable future, they’re part of an ambitious group intent on ushering in a more hopeful and positive tomorrow.

Contributing Writer(s): Daniel P. Smith

Spartan Service & Support Stories

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