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  • Author:
    Robert Bao
  • Published:
    Winter 2014

Congratulations on the splendid Fall 2013 issue of the MSU Alumni Magazine! Bill Castanier’s cover story, “Preserving The Legacy of Morrill Hall,” generated all kinds of wonderful memories about this iconic building. In grammar school at nearby Liberty Hyde Bailey School, I used to visit my professor father in the language department in Morrill Hall. Years later I attended undergraduate and graduate seminars there before joining the faculty at the University of Connecticut. Many members of my immediate family attended classes in Morrill Hall. Russ Nye, properly featured throughout this article, was a family friend and professor. How appropriate, too, to give final words to a distinguished author and classmate, Jim Harrison. All in all an outstanding article in an outstanding issue.

John Abbott, ’59, PhD ’63 
New York, NY

The Morrill Act gave my grandmother a job. To her descendants, it gave them professions. My grandmother, Lida Cushman, was one of the early housekeepers at the “Coop.” She was born in 1868 and hoped to become a school teacher, but was unable to achieve her dream. Several descendants graduated from MSU. I was the first. So did two great grandchildren— William Baird, ’76, captain of the MSU swimming team in 1974-75, and Janice Baird, ’65. Both had classes in Morrill Hall. My daughter and Lida’s great granddaughter, Kathryn Reed, works for the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Her office is in the newly named Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture.

Our family is a good example of the legacy of Sen. Morrill’s vision Of the land-grant university.

Johanna Balzer, ’71 

Re your cover article on the history of Morrill Hall. As both an alumna who had many classes in Morrill and a retired faculty member, the absence of the building is bittersweet. I was dismayed, however, by your omission that MSU’s School of Nursing was housed in the basement of Morrill Hall from 1961-67. The school had formerly been in Giltner Hall, but with enrollment rapidly growing, Morrill Hall provided more space for offices and a teaching laboratory. Nursing, as a primarily female occupation, certainly felt at home in the former Women’s Building.

Louise C. Selanders, ’69
Professor Emerita,
College of Nursing
East Lansing

That was a wonderful cover article by Bill Castanier. I would like to correct some minor errors. It’s Dean Maude Gilchrist. The honor society is Omicron Nu (which in a consolidation became Kappa Omicron Nu). In August 2012 the centennial of Omicron Nu was celebrated at MSU’s Kellogg Center.

Dorothy I. Mitstifer
Executive Director,
Kappa Omicron Nu
Association of College
Honor Societies
East Lansing


Recently I did some research on how the 1913 team, band and fans made the trip to Madison, WI. Getting to Madison was quite an adventure. Back then there was no I-94 or anything close.

Students took an electric street car from the corner of MAC and Grand River to Cedar Street in Lansing. There, they took an electric interurban line to St. Johns, which was a Grand Trunk railroad connection between Port Huron and Grand Haven. In Grand Haven they took the Grand Trunk Crosby Railroad Ferry Service to Milwaukee. From there they took another train to Madison.

When the train arrived, the MAC contingent marched from the station to the university campus. Wisconsin was the defending Western Athletic Conference (now Big Ten) champion, so our win was monumental. The captain of the ferry later wrote to President Snyder extolling the fine behavior of the MAC travelers.

Robert Cantrell, ’62 

Loved your column about the 1913 season, especially since my great uncle played on that team. Your photo caption on page 70has a couple of errors. The player you identify as Blake Miller (front row, left ) is actually Oscar “Dutch” Miller. He was my great uncle and two years later was the team’s quarterback. Blake is in the middle row, third from the left . Also, George Julian is in the middle row, third (not second) from the right.

By the way, in 1913 my great uncle played under the name Dutch Schultz; his dad didn’t want him to play football.

Ed Busch 
Electronic Records Archivist University Archives & Historical Collections

After MSU, I became the Dean of Men at Ohio Wesleyan and got to know George Gauthier, who was a legend there. In fact, we ended up living in the Gauthier family home in Delaware, OH. Even in his last years, he was full of energy and a “can do” spirit. Your characterization of George and the 1913 team was on the mark.

Ronald Stead, ’55, PhD ’71 
Vienna, VA

Stead was an infielder on MSU’s 1954 Big Ten championship baseball team—a cohesive group that has met every five years since. –Editor.


Along with a core group of fellow Spartans, I was there in the “beginning.” In 1986 we collectively and strategically merged the Student Alumni Association with the Student Foundation to create SAF, the Student Alumni Foundation. I’m very pleased to see its current transformation into the Association of Future Alumni. (Summer 2013). Strengthening the alignment between today’s student leaders and difference makers with the MSU Alumni Association and the overall strategic objectives of our university makes perfect sense. The AFA is the ideal “farm system” for the global network of alumni answering the call to making a difference around the world.

Glenn R. Stevens, Jr., ’87, 
EMBA ’97 Detroit

Stevens was president of the Student Alumni Foundation in 1986-87. –Editor.