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  • Author:
    Robert Bao
  • Published:
    Winter 2013
When I was an undergrad in the mid-sixties, I was aware of MSU’s connection to agriculture, but I never knew that farming would ever be important to me.  I didn’t appreciate the full implications of that connection until I read “MSU Moments” and did a little further research on the Morrill Act and its mission.
My husband and I own a farm in rural Granville County, North Carolina, where we raise hay for the neighboring horse farms.   We’ve lived here just two years, and our 17 acres of hayfields were planted long before we moved here.  However, the quality of our crop is undoubtedly the result of someone’s research, and for that I’m grateful.  It’s time for our fall harvest, and the smell of that freshly-cut hay this year will be even more delightful.
Thanks for the nifty history!
Mary Ann (Sikkema) Potter, ’67 Oxford, NC
As a former Detroit principal and teacher, I was thrilled to read “MSU Prepares Teachers to Reach the Heart of the City” (Fall 2012).  It is encouraging to know that people like best-selling author James Patterson are investing in MSU’s College of Education and its urban teacher preparation.  Mr. Patterson clearly understands the importance of supporting urban educators who are at the forefront of cultivating our youth.  With a diploma from Detroit Public Schools and 16 years of professional experience, I know the importance of well-prepared educators serving in high-need areas and I can attest to the College of Education’s commitment to achieve this end.
Sabrina I. Smith-Campbell,
BA ’93, MA ’95, PhD ’02
Bloomfield Hills
The article on endowments gave me a greater understanding of the importance of endowments to a world-class university.  As a graduate of the 1950s, I knew little of the subject because at the time there was little to know.  I am hopeful that Alisa Healy’s excellent article will prompt alumni to significantly add to the endowment programs of this great university.
Jack Cairl, ’56, ’58
St. Petersburg, FL
Great piece, “Time to Step Up to the Plate.”  Buying specialty license plates is a fun and easy way to promote our university.  As you indicated, the state of Texas rolled out its Spartan license program earlier in 2012.  It’s a win-win-win sort of deal.  The state gets a few extra revenue dollars.  MSU gets 10 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the Spartan plates in Texas.  And it gives Spartans a chance to brag about our school.
 There are about 11,000 MSU alumni in Texas.  More than 150 of us are driving around with our Spartan plates, so there’s ample opportunity for other Texas Spartans to spread the good news. 
Gary Scharrer, ’74
Austin, TX
Great coverage about the Spartan Plates (Fall 2012, pps. 64-65).  We are now nearly 500 strong!  We collect no dues, but members’ plates must bear a personalized message about MSU or have some connection to MSU.  
Interested Spartans can visit us at
Bob Nelson, ’74
It’s “Time to Step Up to the Plate,” as you wrote.  The DC and Hampton Roads alumni clubs are working together to gather the 350 people needed to get production of Spartan plates started.  Any alum living in Virginia interested in MSU plates can contact me at or (410) 570-5491, or visit
Mark Furtaw, ’92
McLean, VA
An advantage of reading the alumni magazine cover to cover is that you can discover hidden perks.  On page 84 of your Fall 2012 issue is a notification that card-carrying MSU Alumni Association members receive a 20 percent discount when eating at any of the residence hall dining areas.  We recently tried Brody Hall and the Gallery at Snyder-Phillips, and we can report that it works.  As a bonus, the food was excellent!  
Bob, ’73, and BJ Nocera
East Lansing
Thanks for your column (Summer 2012) reviewing Dr. David Young’s book, Arrogance and Scheming in the Big Ten.  How ironic that Michigan officials opposed MSU’s entry to the Big Ten because, they argued, MSU would be a “weak sister” and add little to the conference!  
Weak sister?  In 1953, MSU’s first year of Big Ten football competition, the Spartans won the Big Ten, the Rose Bowl and repeated as national champions (per various selectors).   MSU won three Big Ten and five national titles in football during its first 15 years in the Big Ten.  During that period, MSU also won three Big Ten titles in men’s basketball along with a Final Four appearance and also won 11 NCAA titles and five runner-up finishes in six other men’s sports.  Sports Illustrated referred to MSU as “that colossus of college athletics on the banks of the Red Cedar River.” 
For the record, MSU is the only FBS (Division 1A) school to win multiple national championships in the three major revenue sports—football, men’s basketball and ice hockey.  
Larry Bentz, ’75, MBA ’76
Clinton Township