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Alma Matters

  • Author:
    Robert Bao
  • Published:
    Winter 2014


BLUEWATER AREA— Aug. 11: About 19 area Spartans attended the annual MSU Freshman Picnic at the St. Clair County Goodells Park in Wales Township.

CENTRAL OHIO—Aug. 30: About 27 area Spartans attended a game watch at Gallo’s Tap Room in Columbus, OH, for the MSU vs. Western Michigan football game.

LIVINGSTON COUNTY— Jul. 11: About 30 area Spartans participated in the All University Challenge blood drive at Cleary College Johnson Center in Howell to raise blood for the American Red Cross. Jul. 4: Over 1,000 area Spartans walked in the Fourth of July parade with Sparty in Brighton. Jun. 14: About 28 area Spartans attended a wine tasting event held at The Lodge at Pine Creek Ridge in Brighton. The event raised $398 for the club’s scholarship fund.

MID-MICHIGAN SPARTANS— Jun. 25: About 130 area Spartans attended The 2013 Charity Challenge Golf Outing at Eagle Eye Golf Course, Lansing. The event raised over $32,000 to help support endowment funds at MSU, as well as $5,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing. Special guests included Mateen Cleaves, Steve Smith and Coach Izzo.

NORTHEAST OHIO— Aug. 24: About eight area Spartans helped unpack and sort donated food for the Cleveland Foodbank. The club has plans to make this a periodic activity. Aug. 1: About 12 area Spartans toured the Duck Tape Factory in Avon, OH.

OREGON & SW WASHINGTON—Aug. 17: About 12 area Spartans participated in a six-mile roundtrip hike to Mirror lake and the shoulder of Mt. Hood in Oregon. SACRAMENTO VALLEY, CA—Aug. 25: About 40 Big 10 alumni gathered for the 6th Annual Sacramento Big 10 Alumni Bowling Competition at AMF Mardi Gras Lanes in Sacramento. MSU won the event for the first time.

SARASOTA BRADENTON, FL—Aug. 3: More than 30 area Spartans met at South Lido Beach for the club’s first ever family picnic. 

ST. LOUIS, MO— May 2: About 75 area Spartans gathered for the club’s annual meeting at the St. Louis Science Center. Special guests included Bert Vescolani, president and CEO of the St. Louis Science Center.

TAMPA BAY, FL—Aug. 24: About 70 area Spartans attended an annual event to kick off the football season at Boston’s in Tampa, FL. The event raised $717 for the Big Ten scholarship fund.

THE GREATER VILLAGES, FL—Aug. 30: Approximately 4,000 area Spartans gathered for the College Color Days at Spanish Springs Town Square in The Villages. A food drive was held during the event, which raised over 12,000 pounds of nonperishable food.

WASHINGTON, DC—Jul. 20: About 11 area Spartans spent a morning supporting Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture’s mission of providing a sustainable model of agriculture to new farmers and the public.


BIOMEDICAL LABORATORY DIAGNOSTICS PROGRAM—Feb. 9: About 20 Spartan alumni and students cheered on the MSU basketball team at the Spartan Hall of Fame Cafe in East Lansing.


MSU ALUMNI BAND—Apr. 28: About 65 alumni gathered for the MSU Alumni Band Spring Reunion at the MSU Demonstration Hall and Kellogg Center. Special guests included MSU Director of Bands Kevin Sedatole, MSU Assistant Director of Bands Cormac Cannon, Spartan Marching Band Director Emeritus Dave Catron, wife of longtime MSU Band Director Beryl Falcone, Alumni Band Past President Jim Barry, and former Alumni Band President Henry Nelson.


JAPAN—May 11: About 40 area Spartans attended a joint meeting held by the MSU Alumni Club of Japan and MSU Alumni Club of Kansai, Japan, at the Japan Center for Michigan Universities. Special guests included the Mayor of the City of Hikone, the Hon. Takashi Okubo.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA— Jul. 28: About 20 area Spartans participated in a luncheon at the Country Club Johannesburg to kick off activities for South Africa alumni. Special guests included MSU alum and former Southern Africa Student Association president, Somadoda Fikeni.

JUST FOR SHOW—In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye dreams of being rich enough to build a staircase “leading nowhere, just for show.”That’s what motorists in Grand Rapids might have thought when they spotted this 40-foot ladder suspended in midair, leading nowhere (or perhaps halfway to heaven). The ladder is actually a work of art by Henry Brimmer, graphic designer and professor at MSU’s College of Communications Arts and Sciences, who entered the piece in the city’s ArtPrize competition last Sept. Brimmer’s artwork, titled “I Want to Be Different,” was one of 1,524 contenders in the annual art competition.

LITTLE LEAGUE BOOTH—The broadcast booth at the baseball stadium in Williamsport, PA, which hosts the annual Little League World Series, has been named for Dennis Lewin, ’65 former chairman of the board of Little League International Baseball & Softball. Lewin retired in 2012 but remains on the board. He was a top executive with ABC Sports from 1966-96 and pioneered many of the technological advances in sports telecasts.

THE 1970S BIG CHILL— Sep. 7: Mid-1970s graduates from MSU’s College of Communication Arts & Sciences gathered for their annual football celebration during the South Florida game: (front, l to r) Colleen Westerman, Jane Aldrich, Martha Bashore, Mark Bashore, Marlene Mescher, Laurie Schram, Katy Baetz- Matthews, Pat Madden and Gary Reid; (back, l to r) MSUAA Executive Director Scott Westerman, Jeff Smith, Kip Bohne, Gary Mescher, Steve Schram & Bill Matthews.

UNDERWATER SPARTANS—Jay Bruns, ’75, holding the “Go Green” sign, while spouse Christi, ’74, and son Dan, ’04, hold the Spartan flag somewhere underwater near Turks and Caicos. The diving family was aboard the Aggressor Fleet and the dive was Dan’s 100th. “We posted this photo to make our Spartan pride visible to the world out there,” says Jay, who resides in Holland, MI.

SPARTANS IN AMSTERDAM—Last summer, James Madison College students (l to r) Chelcie Gilliard and Myra’ LaShontae showed the MSU flag by the block S outside the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The students were taking a Study Abroad class on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Sexual Politics.

MSU ALUMNI TOUR BAND—Jun. 16-24: The MSU Alumni Tour Band enjoyed a concert trip through Scotland this past summer. Conducted by Professor Emeritus Kenneth Bloomquist, the tour band completed its eighth such trip since 1985. The band of 49 musicians plus spouses and friends poses on a staircase at the Braid Hills Hotel in Glasgow.

AUTISM RETREAT—Aug. 23-24: MSU leaders joined with state leaders at the Omena home of Michael, ’57, and Kathy Bosco, ’58, to discuss issues related to autism and to explore a possible research center at MSU. MSU representatives included President Lou Anna K. Simon; Ian Gray, former vice president for research; Marietta Baba, dean of the College of Social Science; Marsha Rappley, dean of the College of Human Medicine, and many faculty members.


A new addition made possible by donors will serve as a year-round recruiting center for all varsity sports.

Spartan Stadium will have a greater presence on the MSU campus by the fall of 2014 and become an asset for the entire athletics program, thanks to the generosity of donors who have made their gift s through the Spartan Fund.

Construction is already underway for a multi-million dollar upgrade that will transform the North End of the stadium with a striking two-story addition. Much like other improvements to MSU’s athletics facilities in recent years, the project is being funded with private support.

A recruitment center is the showpiece of the project and will become the linchpin for all of athletics, available to MSU’s Entire coaching staff for recruiting student-athletes in every sport throughout the year.

The addition will also house a media center and event space for campus-wide use, new football locker rooms and team spaces, additional restroom and concession areas for fans, a donor plaza and renovated entry gates.

“The North End Zone expansion will be a tremendous asset to MSU and Spartan Athletics,” says Mark Hollis, athletics director. “We are so grateful for the donors who have stepped up to help make this facility a reality. The new locker room, media center and recruiting room are all difference-makers for our program.”

The northeast wing of the project will be named in recognition of the Demmer family who have donated $3.5 million for the project. The two entrance plazas on the north side of Spartan Stadium will be named in honor of Craig, ’73, and Vicki Brown, ’75, who donated $2 million to the project. The plazas will be named the Craig and Vicki Brown Family Northeast Plaza and the Craig and Vicki Brown Family Northwest Plaza.

John Demmer joined with his son Ed and daughter-in-law Laura Demmer to support the North End Zone addition. The Demmer family, which also includes son Bill (’70, Engineering) Demmer and his wife Linda, and daughter Marguerite (Peg Demmer) Breuer and her husband Bradford, is associated with numerous MSU initiatives.

The Demmers and the Browns join many other donors in financial support for the addition, including Earvin “Magic” and Earleatha Johnson, Bob (’74, Business) and Julie Skandalaris, Mark (’85, Communication Arts and Sciences) and Nancy (’86, Business) Hollis, Tom (’01, Education) and Lupe Izzo, Ben (’69, Engineering) and Barbara (’69, Natural Science) Maibach, John (’77, Social Science) and Mary Rayis, Pete (’88, Communication Arts and Sciences) and Ann (’87, Communication Arts and Sciences) Eardley, Kellie (’76 and ’81, Education) and Marilyn (’75 and ’81, Social Science) Dean, and Steve (’71, Business) and Brenda (’71, Social Science) Ramsby.

More than $15 million has been raised for the project, but attractive naming opportunities still exist including the home and away team locker rooms, as well as a locker campaign for gifts of $50,000 and inclusion in a central donor exhibit for gifts of $100,000.

ORANGE COUNTY— Aug. 18: About 90 area Spartans attended the Student Send Off Picnic at Cameo Shores Beach in Newport Beach, CA. Special guests included Sparty and Director of Admissions Jim Cotter.