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Alma Matters

  • Author:
    Robert Bao
  • Published:
    Spring 2013
About 80 area Spartans attended an annual gathering with the University of Michigan club to watch the game at Gallo’s Taproom, Columbus, where the interclub trophy changed hands after four years with the Spartan club.
COLORADO—Nov. 10:  About 30 area Spartans gathered for the 2nd Annual Spartoberfest, a bus tour of various craft breweries in the Denver area.  About $300 was raised for the club’s scholarship fund.
DC SPARTANS—Dec. 15:  About 30 area Spartans gathered to honor fallen soldiers by helping Wreaths Across America take care of over 224,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.  Dec. 2:  Almost 30 area Spartans attended the 2nd Annual Holiday Tea at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, DC.  Special guests included former Gov. Jim Blanchard and MSU School of Criminal Justice Alumni Association President Paul Sparks.  Nov. 28:  Almost 20 alumni gathered at the Velocity 5 Falls Church in Virginia to register for the MSU VA license plate and watch MSU take on Miami in the ACC/B1G Challenge.
EASTERN WAYNE COUNTY—Dec. 27:  About 20 area Spartans attended the Wisconsin basketball game watch at the Village Grille in Grosse Pointe Park.  Oct. 25: About 80 area Spartans gathered for the Foster Care Event at the MSU Detroit Center.  Special guests included Maura Corrigan, director of the Michigan Dept. of Human Services, and Gary Anderson, director of the MSU School of Social Work.
LAS VEGAS, NV—Aug. 17: About 80 area Spartans attended the annual scholarship fundraiser at Badlands Golf Club to benefit the club’s scholarship fund.  Special guests included visually impaired world-class triathlete Aaron Scheides.
SACRAMENTO VALLEY, CA—Oct. 20:  Over 40 area Spartans attended the Michigan game watch at MVP Sports Grill in Sacramento, which raised funds for club events and scholarships.
SAN ANTONIO, TX—Nov. 10:  About 24 area Spartans gathered on The Haven for Hope campus at the San Antonio Food Bank’s Kitchen to volunteer as a service day project.
More than 50 area Spartans gathered at the home of Gary and Amy Easterling for an annual Spartan Fund event.  Special guests included MSU Gymnastics Coach Kathie Klages, Dorn McGaw and Otis Wiley from the Spartan Fund, and the MSUAA’s Tim Bograkos.
Dec. 13:  More than 60 area Spartans attended a hayride and bonfire at the Cotton Farms Christmas display in Weirsdale, FL.
UTAH—Nov. 24: About 30 area Spartans gathered for the Minnesota game watch at the Legends Pub and Grill in Salt Lake City.  The event raised $150 and 15 large boxes of food for the Utah Food Bank.  Oct. 21:  MSU alum Karl Geis summited Mt. Kilimanjaro at 19,340 ft. 
WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA—Oct. 20: About 25 area Spartans gathered at the residence of Linda Rasor and Mike Hennesey in Pittburgh to watch the Michigan game. Jun. 24: About 30 area Spartans attended a tailgate party at PNC Park in Pittsburgh following the Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Detroit Tigers baseball game.
BROAD COLLEGE OF BUSINESS—Oct. 1: About 70 people attended a golf outing at North Shore Country Club in Glenview, IL, hosted by club member and Financial Markets Institute (FMI) advisory board member Ted Neely.  The event raised funds for the FMI Endowment.
About 125 people gathered for a pizza night in Case Hall to welcome students and network with alumni.
MUSIC—Oct. 12:  About 180 people attended a special concert at the dedication of the new Cook Recital Hall, which was made possible thanks to donors Byron and Dee Cook.  Special guests included President Lou Anna K. Simon, (then) Provost Kim Wilcox, Trustee Joel Ferguson, Dee and Byron Cook, Dean James Forger, Associate Professor of Voice Melanie Helton and student Kimberly Wren.
Sep. 26:  About 200 people gathered at the Kellogg Center for the MSUCOM Silverfest.  Special guests included President Lou Anna K. Simon, and Stephen and Grozda Swetech.  Sep. 22: About 400 alumni and friends gathered before the Eastern Michigan game for the Silverfest tailgate.  Sep. 21: About 70 people participated in the 14th annual Osteopathic Open at MSU’s Forest Akers West Golf Course.  Funds were raised for student scholarships and the MSUCOM Alumni Association.
 “The greatest thing a scholarship gives you is the ability to get involved in helping your department,” says MSU senior Julia Brantsen about receiving a scholarship from the G. Malcolm Trout Fund and her involvement in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
Brantsen served as president of the Food Science Student Club in 2011; a demanding job since the 50-member group meets weekly, typically with invited industry representatives. Brantsen, who works in the lab of Associate Professor John Partridge, also completed two internships and took advantage of an intensive Study Abroad experience in international food law in Europe. She plans to pursue graduate school and hopes to land a position in product development or quality control.
“My experience in the department has been invaluable,” she says.  “I can’t imagine being better prepared than I am.  But I wouldn’t have been able to do what I have without scholarship support.”
The scholarship fund honors G. Malcolm Trout, a giant in Michigan State’s history, known for his pioneering research on the homogenization of milk conducted during his nearly 50 years on the MSU faculty. MSU’s Food Science Building was renamed the G. Malcolm Trout Food Science and Human Nutrition Building following Trout’s death in 1990.
“Professor Trout is a legend,” Brantsen says. “I was very excited to be chosen for this honor.”
The G. Malcolm Trout Endowment, first created in 1982, provides scholarships to Michigan students in three departmental majors, Food Science, Dietetics and Nutritional Sciences; and a visiting scholar/ lectureship.  A Trout Council within the department is active in continuing to develop the fund, now valued at more than $700,000, to carry on Trout’s legacy and learning.
Brantsen plans on being a part of it.  “I definitely plan on being active as an alumna,” she says.  “I put too much in to leave it all behind.”
? For information on making a gift to the G. Malcolm Trout Fund, contact Associate Director of Development Kate Powers at; (517) 355-9547.
BEIJING, CHINA—Oct. 17:  About 16 Spartans gathered to elect their first ever Executive Board at the Donglaishun restaurant in the Dongcheng district.  Special guests included (then) MSU Senior Associate Provost June Pierce Youatt and Weijun Zhao, director of MSU China Programs.
JAPAN—Sep. 29:  About 20 area Spartans gathered at the Kurawan Restaurant in Tokyo for the MSU Alumni Club of Japan Annual Meeting.  Special guests included MSUAA Assistant Director Tim Bograkos.
SPARTANS & SCHOLARSHIPS—MSU Alumnus Travis Talboys (left) poses with fellow Spartan James D. Spiros, ’94.  An attorney in Danville, IL, Spiros established the Spiros Family Perseverance Scholarship at the John Marshall Law School, Chicago.  The first recipient of the scholarship is Talboys, who was admitted into the 2012 Summer College to Assess Legal Education Program.  
In December MSU hosted Tuskegee University at Jenison Fieldhouse to honor the “Game of Change” that took place a half century ago in that venerable venue.
That was a second-round NCAA tournament game between Loyola of Chicago and Mississippi State.  The game, pitting an integrated team against a segregated team from the south, proved to be a milestone in the desegregation of sports in America.  Travis Trice, a sophomore guard on the current MSU team, expressed pride in learning that MSU had played such a historic role.
In fact, MSU played a far bigger role in the desegregation of sports in America—something that’s worth remembering.
First, let’s recap the significance of the 1963 NCAA tournament game.  Back in those days SEC sports teams were segregated.  Moreover, six months before the game the governor of Mississippi had tried to prevent James Meredith from attending Ole Miss.  Segregationists did not want the Bulldogs playing Loyola, which started four black players, and a local judge issued an injunction to prevent the team from leaving the state to play that game in East Lansing.
The Bulldogs team snuck out under cover of darkness to avoid being served papers by state troopers.  As the Sporting News recounts, “The Loyola-Mississippi State game became a cause célèbre, and every flashbulb in the state of Michigan popped when (Loyola’s Jerry) Harkness shook the hand of MSU captain Joe Dan Gold at midcourt before the game.” 
MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis calls it “the beginning of the end of segregation in college sports.”  For the record, Loyola won 61-51 and went on to win the NCAA tournament.  
While MSU’s role in the historic game was significant, I think it pales by comparison to MSU’s role in helping desegregate college football.  Indeed, the Spartans’ bigtime success with fully integrated teams in the 1960s may have had an incalculable impact on the sport’s desegregation.  As Drew Sharp, columnist for the Detroit Free Press, wrote in 1996, “Perhaps Michigan State’s greatest legacy in its 100-year football history is the school’s role in the racial integration of the sport.”
MSU football was integrated in 1913, when John Macklin welcomed Gideon Smith—the second African American to play college football.  In the postwar era, Biggie Munn became one of the first coaches to recruit black players; in 1951, Hall of Famer Don Coleman became MSU’s first black All-American.  Black football players for MSU in the 1940s included Jesse Thomas, who made All-American on offense one year and on defense the next.
MSU’s 1952 national championship team included Willie Thrower, who later became the first black quarterback in the NFL.  Other black stars in the 1950s included Leroy Bolden, Travis Buggs, Ellis Duckett, Jimmy Ellis, Ellison Kelly, Alvin Lee, John “Thunder” Lewis, Blanche Martin, Jerry McFarland and Clarence Peaks. “They were all great players,” recalls Hank Bullough, longtime NFL coach who lettered at MSU from 1952-54.  “Back in those days we hardly ever lost a game.”
In 1954, Clarence Underwood, who eventually rose to become MSU athletics director, was an army private when he saw MSU beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl.  Underwood—my colleague in the MSU Alumni Association back in the 1980s—told me that his decision to come to MSU was based on his seeing black and white players on the same team working together and celebrating with each other, something he had never seen in his native Alabama.
“Biggie opened the door, but it was Duffy (Daugherty) who blew it wide open,” says Larry Bielat, former player, assistant coach and radio color analyst.  
Duffy’s national championship teams of 1965 and 1966 were led by black players such as Bubba Smith, George Webster, Clinton Jones, Gene Washington and Charles “Mad Dog” Thornhill—outstanding athletes who could not play for segregated schools in their home state.  In 1967 Smith, Webster, Jones and Washington comprised four of the top eight NFL draft picks—with Smith the No. 1 overall pick.  After MSU’s success in 1965, previously segregated schools began to recruit black athletes.  Just three years later, Alabama desegregated its football team as well.  
In 2008, an HBO documentary, Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football, says that Crimson Tide coach Bear Bryant decided to integrate his team after losing to Southern Cal in 1970 and noting that black players accounted for USC’s touchdowns.  That may have been the trigger, but Bryant was likely influenced by the successful integration achieved by his colleague and friend Daugherty.
As a historical addendum, it should be noted MSU’s leadership in desegregation was not limited to sports.  The U.S. Civil Rights Commission was founded in 1957 and its first chairman was MSU President John Hannah, who provided tremendous leadership to the then-fledgling organization.
MSU’s game against Tuskegee not only served to honor a historic milestone but also reaffirmed one of the university’s time-honored values.  For Travis Trice and other young Spartans, I hope this helps flesh out a more complete story.