NOT FROM SCRATCH
Re: the story about the Association of Future Alumni (Summer 2013). I enjoyed reading about the success of the student organization over the years and its current rebranding. The article says the Student Alumni Foundation was created in 1986. It was not, however, created from scratch. The SAF resulted from a merger of two strong student organizations: The Student Alumni Association (sponsored by the Alumni Association) and the Student Foundation (sponsored by the Development Office). The name which “has always been a source of confusion” was simply a logical outcome of that merger.
My personal experiences in SAA (pre-1986) had a huge impact on my life, and my white cardigan sweater with the green SAA logo sitting on my closet shelf still brings out my Spartan pride. Go AFA (Association of Future Alumni)—keep up the good work!
Linda K. Sherck, ’86
Enjoyed the latest edition of the MSU Alumni Magazine, especially the photo of the Association of Future Alumni on the cover. Now there’s a bunch of students with the right attitude! Maybe if high schools around the United States had similar future alumni associations a lot more students would be encouraged to get their high school diplomas.
Margie Bauman, ’64
? The cover shot was taken by
photographer Derrick Turner of MSU Communications and
Brand Strategy. –Editor.
CATALYST FOR CHANGE
Re: Bob Bao’s excellent summary of MSU’s role in desegregating American sports. MSU didn’t just bring in African American athletes; it often put them in charge. In 1938, Cross Country Coach Lauren Brown named Harry Butler, ’40, as MSC’s first black varsity captain—no small responsibility in an era when teammates could not sleep in the same hotel while on the road. Later Coach Karl Schlademan named Walter Arrington, ’42, captain of MSC’s track and field team. During the Chicago Relays, rather than dropping Arrington off at the YMCA, MSC made a stand at the Windermere by sleeping en-masse on cots in the ballroom with Arrington, the hotel’s first black guest.
The grace with which Butler and Arrington embraced racially-based challenges made it easier for then Secretary John Hannah to integrate MSC’s dormitories shortly after becoming president.
Mark E. Havitz ’80, MS ‘83
Kitchener, ON Canada
I was glad to read that Agriculture Hall will be renamed after Justin Morrill, the senator from Vermont who authored the 1862 Land Grant College Act establishing federal funding for land-grant colleges. Morrill’s middle initial is “S” (for Smith), not “T.” If you’re ever near Strafford, Vermont, you can visit the Morrill Homestead.
James G. Rank, ’77, MS ’80
RURAL LIFE AND NATURE WARS
I read Jim Sterba’s article with great interest; as farmers we’re aware of both the beauty and the challenge of living with wildlife. We are delighted by the deer herd and treat them to cracked corn—no, we don’t hunt—and enjoy watching the wild turkeys who get the leftovers. There’s a great blue heron that lives at our pond and fishes to his content along with an occasional osprey. There’s a beaver family at the creek. We sometimes hear coyotes howling at night; our dog barks his warning but is thankfully non-confrontational. He recently had an encounter with a skunk, a nasty varmint that killed one of my setting hens and stole her unhatched eggs. It’s all part of rural life. Sterba’s thoughtful article made me realize that people who feel encroached by critters need to avoid sudden, “knee-jerk” reactions and use instead their good common sense. Neither the people nor the animals are going to disappear!
Mary Ann (Sikkema) Potter, ’67
I enjoyed your column, “The MSU Songs—Smashing Right Through the Myths” (Summer 2013). The Spartan Fight Song and MSU Shadows bring back many many fantastic memories of my years at MSU. Where can I purchase a CD with Leonard Falcone’s arrangements of these songs?
It’s always fun to walk down memory lane when I read your magazine. Go Green!
John (Jack) P. Hamm, ’56
? Visit the MSU Surplus Store at msusurplusstore.com and search for Spartan Marching Band. –Editor.
One hundred years ago, MSU enjoyed one of its greatest football seasons in history. The 1913 MAC team went undefeated, beating Big Ten powerhouses Michigan and Wisconsin in back-to-back away games. My grandfather, Russell McCurdy, was on that team—alongside some future All-Americans as well as future pros, including Gideon Smith, MSU’s first African-American football player. Dr. McCurdy later set up his MD practice in Seattle around 1918. My mother was born in 1917, her brother in 1920. The subject of his gridiron experience apparently never came up. McCurdy was killed in a plane crash in 1931 and never got to tell stories to the grandkids.
Tom Klunzinger, ’66
? See my column on page __ for an account of that magical season. (In the team photo, McCurdy is on the right end of the middle row.) –Editor.