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Alma Matters

  • Author:
    Robert Bao
  • Published:
    Fall 2012


CINCINNATI, OH-Jun. 8: About 44 area Spartans attended the Detroit Tigers vs. Cincinnati Reds baseball game at Great American Ballpark.

DC SPARTANS-Jun. 20: About 65 area Spartans gathered for a summer kickoff happy hour with UM and University Row at the Sign of the Whale, Washington, DC. The event helped raise $575 for the Rachel P. Kahn Memorial Scholarship. May 19: About a dozen area Spartans participated in the Hands-On-DC Workathon, spending the day at Maury Elementary School (see photo).

GREATER ATLANTA, GA-May 10: About 120 area Spartans attended a golf outing at Windemere Country Club, Atlanta. Special guests included MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis, Head Football Coach Mark Dantonio (see photo), and NFL Hall of Fame Kicker Morten Anderson. Funds were raised for the club's endowed scholarship fund.

JACKSON-Jun. 3: About 15 area Spartans marched with Sparty in the annual Rose Parade during the Jackson County Rose Festival.

OAKLAND COUNTY-Jun. 13: About 47 area Spartans gathered for a presentation, "A Supernova in the Lab: Nuclear Research at MSU's Cyclotron," at the Bloomfield Township Library, Bloomfield Hills. Special guests included Zach Constan, outreach coordinator at MSU's National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.

DETROIT SPARTANS-May 5: More than a dozen area Spartans participated in a "Clean the D" teambuilding experience by cleaning an area along 8 Mile Road. The team picked up litter, did some painting and repaired fences.

EASTERN WAYNE COUNTY- Apr. 27: About 185 area Spartans attended a Spring Football tailgate at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. Special guests included George Blaha, MSU football play-by-play announcer, seen in the photo with MSU cheerleaders and the club's board members. About $1,000 was raised for MSU scholarships and book awards.

SACRAMENTO, CA- June 3: About 15 area Spartans gathered for the Sacramento Area's Big Ten Alumni Picnic, a day of food, games and getting to know fellow Spartans. Apr. 29: About 30 area Spartans attended the debut of RX, a romantic comedy at the B Street Theatre, as well as the cast party after the show.

SPACE COAST, FL- Jun. 9: About 24 area Spartans attended the annual membership meeting held at Lone Cabbage Fish camp and Airboat ride. Mar. 28: About 16 area Spartans attended the monthly Ladies Lunch at the Yellow Dog Café, Malabar.

SAN ANTONIO, TX-May 19: About 18 area Spartans attended a Putt-Putt tournament at Monster Mini-Golf. Winners were (l to r) Mike Fecher, Letitica Fecher, Jon Riley and Matthew Suarez.

SAN FRANCISCO BAY- Apr. 14: About 15 area Spartans volunteered to work as food sorters in the San Francisco food bank.


EDUCATION-Apr. 14: About 500 area Spartans attended a reception in Vancouver, BC, hosted by the MSU College of Education at the American Education Research Association's annual meeting. Special guests included Dean Donald Heller and the college band, Against School Violence.

ENGINEERING- Jun. 14: About 30 area Spartans attended the engineering alumni reception in Midland. Special guests included Dean Satish Udpa. Jun. 7: About 65 area Spartans gathered for the Fourteenth Annual College of Engineering GOLD Club (Graduates of Lasting Distinction) Luncheon. Special guests included Ted and Mary Jane Simon and other graduates from the class of 1962 and earlier. May 5: About 105 area Spartans attended the college's Ninth Annual Alumni Awards Banquet. Special guests included Sami R. Al-Araji, director of the National Investment Commission of Iraq and other alumni award recipients.

NATURAL SCIENCE- Apr. 14: Almost 100 area Spartans attended Science University, an insider's look at MSU's science research and education. Special guests included College of Natural Science faculty members Brian Hampton, Jennifer Lau, Phil Duxbury, Chris Adami and Gregg Howe. Apr. 13: About 85 area Spartans gathered for the college alumni association's annual awards program to recognize outstanding alumni, faculty and students. Special guests included Outstanding Alumni Award winner Bobby L. Wilson and Meritorious Faculty Award winner Dr. Gary Westfall (see photo). Apr. 12: About 70 area Spartans gathered for a reception and dinner at the Ronald H. and Mary E. Simon Actuarial Science Lecture. Special guests included Ronald and Mary Simon and keynote speaker Emiliano Valdez, professor of actuarial science at the University of Connecticut.


MSU ALUMNI BAND- Apr. 29: About 80 area Spartans gathered for the annual MSU Alumni Concert Band Spring Reunion. Special guests included current MSU Director of Bands Kevin Sedatole; current SMB Director John T. Madden; retired MSU Associate Director of Bands and Director of the SMB Dave Catron; Vice President of the MSU Alumni Band and current band director at Charlotte Junior High School Stacie Detgen; and Beryl Falcone, widow of renowned MSU Director of Bands Leonard Falcone.

GOLFING SPARTANS- John Lozier (left ) and Roger Tremblay, organizers of the MSU alumni golf outing in Dallas, TX, have acquired a new hobby-to play in every MSU golf outing around the country. The two met in McDonel Hall in 1966 while students at MSU. In the last three years, they have played just about every MSU outing, ranging from Atlanta, GA, to Huntington Beach, CA. "We played great golf courses and had a lot of fun," says Lozier. "There were Spartans everywhere you looked!"

SPARTY WEDDING- Jun. 8: Sparty was a surprise guest at the wedding of Dustan June, '00, and Lauren Jones at the Italian American Banquet and Conference Center, Livonia, MI. Last year MSU's popular mascot attended 73 wedding receptions among some 516 events in 12 states. For more information, visit

STUDY ABROAD- Jul.: Max Olivero and Danni Klein hold the MSU flag at the Dutch national monument in Amsterdam. They were among 17 students in James Madison College's gender studies Study Abroad class.

TOP OF THE WORLD- Aug. 14: MSU senior Clayton Meyers and freshman Janaan Meyers, siblings from Cedarville, displayed the "S" flag on top of the Mackinac Bridge, proving that Spartan spirit prevails over all Michigan-whether in the Upper or Lower peninsula, or whether down on the ground or up in the air.


By Lois Furry

When Kimberly Henderson, '98, went to MSU, she struggled to find funding and had to work two or three jobs. She made a promise to herself that once she graduated she'd find a way to help future Spartans.

Through MSU Black Alumni (MSUBA), an alumni interest group affiliated with the MSU Alumni Association, she has found a way to keep her promise. During The Campaign for MSU, the group set and achieved their goal to grow their scholarship endowments to $1 million. Kimberly serves as the scholarship co-chairperson, a job that involves helping future Spartans in a big way.

This year was the group's biggest year ever with 56 students receiving assistance from the MSUBA. "When I first started we gave out 10 or 12 scholarships, but now since we have a milliondollar- plus endowment, it's an honor to be able to grant that type of money to students," says Kimberly.

Amanda Peoples, a senior from Detroit, remembers well the strain of applying for scholarships and hoping for positive answers when she was in high school. Receiving assistance from the MSUBA has been life changing, she says. "Just getting a scholarship made me feel more confident and happy that college can somehow be taken care of and it would be less of a burden to my parents," she says.

Every student who receives an MSUBA scholarship receives more than just financial assistance. The students meet once each semester with MSUBA leaders who offer support and advice.

They couldn't have a more dynamic and committed set of coaches than Kimberly and Jennifer Wallace, '86, Kimberly's counterpart on the MSUBA scholarship committee.

"Our goal is not only to get them in, but to get them out with a couple of mortarboards," says Jennifer. "They know they are not here alone, we are not going to let them fall between the cracks."

Senior Jensine Leung says she is grateful for the financial assistance she received from MSUBA including some extra funding which made her dream of a Study Abroad experience possible. But the personal support has also been a big help to her. "It gave me a lot of confidence just to know that these people are backing me up and they're there for me," Jensine says.

Fellow scholarship recipient Antonio Evans, a junior from Farmington, agrees. "I think the MSUBA does a great job of supporting, I think that not only do they give out financial support, but they give out emotional support, they give out educational support, they make sure that your whole college experience is something to remember."

The MSUBA also works to build the next generation of mentors and donors. Community service is required for all scholarship recipients.

"Through their giving I've realized how important it is to give back to the community," says Jensine.

The connection with MSUBA doesn't end with graduation. Graduates receive a complimentary membership in the MSUBA and are encouraged to be active in the group, and especially with ongoing fundraising efforts to provide more scholarships.

Byron Hester, a junior from Lansing, already sees the value of staying engaged with MSU and the MSUBA. "I realized this is a huge organization," he says. "They actually stay around and help you throughout your higher education career, help you get jobs…it's a networking thing too."

He says he definitely plans on joining the MSUBA and donating to the scholarship funds in the future.

That's exactly what Jennifer Wallace loves to hear. "We want them to come, because we're building our future," she says. "They're our growth, they're our future, so we have to teach them how to grow and teach them how to share."

Amanda Peoples seems to have learned the lesson. She says, "It definitely will be important to me to give back because I feel that young people are the future and they all have potential. If you just help them out, they can get to wherever they want to go. More than likely I will be donating to MSU and MSUBA."


By Robert Bao, Editor

Scott Westerman, executive director of the MSU Alumni Association, considers himself an evangelist. He preaches Spartanhood.

His latest coup goes a long way toward that goal. In the past year, he helped fund an alumni eff ort to get personalized MSU license plates . . . In the state of Texas.

The campaign succeeded and indeed, one can now get personalized MSU plates deep in the heart of the Longhorn state. Similar efforts to spread the Spartan gospel are ongoing elsewhere, including Pennsylvania and Georgia, although they have not yet reached stampede level.

"Spartan brand equity knows no borders," says Westerman, who approved a grant for the alumni clubs in Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso to pursue this goal. "And our alumni are always looking for new ways to represent."

In March, barely a year after the effort began, Texas officially approved the issuance of MSU plates by a private company, Since then, more than 150 MSU-related plates have been sold, raising nearly $3,000 in revenues for MSU, according to the company.

Chris Horner, president of the Dallas/Fort Worth alumni club and former chairperson of the national alumni board, spearheaded the drive.

"One advantage was that we have alumni and clubs throughout the state and everyone got together for this to get the necessary signatures," he explains. "It was a long process. The plate design had to pass readability tests and so on. But it was worth it." A couple of other Big Ten schools also enjoy specialized plates there, but as Horner puts it, "The University of Michigan doesn't have a plate in Texas, but I have a feeling they're working on it."

The Texas success story is music to the ears of Kim Kittleman, MSUAA director for major market engagement, who is based in Birmingham, AL. "It's impressive how quickly they were able to pull this off ," says Kittleman. "Personally I think the Texas plate has the coolest design."

So does Meredith DeMaagd (SHDWS), a former member of the Spartan Marching Band, who says, "My friends who still live in Michigan have told me that they like Texas' MSU plates better than Michigan's."

Bob Nelson, president of the Spartan Plates, a group of people who have personalized MSU plates and meet on campus every year, is delighted with the development. The Spartan Plates was founded in 1979 and now boasts more than 470 members-including Westerman (MSUAA) and Jim Foley (MSU ZEKE), who handles Zeke the Wonder Dog (see group photo).

"Most of us, but not all, are from Michigan," says Nelson. "We meet once a year. It's not enough to have the S plate-your plate needs to be a personalized message that is MSU related."

Some examples-GO MSU, STATE, 4IZZO, SPAR10, I LOV MSU, MICHST, etc. Some have simply MSU and their graduation year.

As far as the university fundraising plates in Michigan-the MSU plate features the block S-it is clear that Michigan State is the university of Michigan, as a popular bumper sticker proclaims. Since the program started in 2000, MSU has led the way.

As of May 2012, there are 41,865 MSU plates on passenger cars, by far the top seller of the 15 university fundraising plates in the state. The University of Michigan is second with 28,221, according to statistics furnished by Paul Kelly, the expenditure section manager of the Secretary of State office.

Tom Roth, '75, who lives in Houston, is very excited with his new MSU plates (TRR 75). "I can't tell you how many people I've met, whether in a grocery store or at a restaurant," he says. "Complete strangers have come up to me and said, 'Wow, what a good looking plate.' "Whoever made this possible should be applauded."

The applause should go to all Spartans who believe in the cause and care enough to help shepherd the MSU plate availability into reality- including Horner, Kittleman and Westerman.

"Projects like these fit perfectly into our mission," says Westerman. "We help Spartans do great things to enhance and amplify the institution."

Yes, well said. Now it's time to let the world know that ST8 IS GR8.