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Alma Matters

  • Author:
    Paula M. Davenport
  • Published:
    Fall 2014

MSU Alumni Club of the Muskegon Lakeshore Area

            Men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo and former hoops star Greg Kelser mingled June 16 with alumni and fans at the Muskegon Country Club. Roughly 150 golfers hit the links. And 250 people attended the annual MSU scholarship fundraising dinner. The annual event enables students from the county to benefit from a total of $11,000 in educational support.

MSU Eastern Wayne County Alumni Club

            Sparty joined MSU cheerleaders, former football play-play announcer George Blaha and former football standouts Kyler Elsworth and Keith Nichol at a May buffet dinner and auction at the Country Club of Detroit. Nearly 200 Spartans attended the events, which help generate scholarship funds.

MSU Alumni of Greater Indianapolis

            In May, scores of hardy Spartans spent May 31st in service to Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton Co., Cicero, IN.

MSU Alumni Club of Nebraska

            Chapter members in April donned their school colors and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity of Omaha. In all, 15 Spartans participated in the spring SpartansWILL Day of Service, April 12.

Philly Spartans

            A score of Spartans banded together April 12 to give back to the City of Brotherly Love for their day of service contributions. One group cleaned a Ronald McDonald House and another team baked cookies, brownies and sweet breads for those using the house.

MSU Alumni of Benzie County

            On June 6, Greystone Mansion, Honor, was the site for an annual gala dinner and scholarship awards ceremony. Nearly 70 Spartans turned out. Three students from Benzie Co. each received $1,500 scholarships to MSU. MSU economist Ronald Fisher gave a presentation on the economics of college athletics.

California Central Coast Alumni Club

            A whopping $22,000 in scholarship funds was raised May 8-11 at the club’s MSU Alumni National Golf Championship, held at Pebble Beach Resorts. Events included an opening night reception, two days of golf and a closing night awards dinner. MSU Basketball standout, Drew Neitzel was master of ceremonies. To join in, mark your calendars for June 25-28, 2015.

West Michigan Spartans

            The 19th annual MSU Means Business networking event attracted 150 Spartans in April to the Secchia Center in Grand Rapids. Wolverine World Wide Chairman and CEO Blake Krueger was honored by the club as its West Michigan Business Person of the Year.Stefanie Lenway, dean of the Broad College of Business, updated attendees on college news and activities.

Los Angeles Spartans

            Los Angeles Spartans spent April 12 volunteering at the Union Rescue Mission in downtown LA.  On April 27, some 50 Spartans banded together for the first Spartan Spotlight Event. Attendees enjoyed a brunch and toured the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library April 27 in Simi Valley. Dale Petroskey, a Spartan and former assistant press secretary to President Reagan and former president of the Baseball Hall of Fame was guest of honor.

MSU Alumni Club of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.

            The club hosted a session led a special event for those interested in job seeking skills. Spartan Geoff Woliner, a veteran job recruiter, trainer and organizational specialist, reviewed resumes and oversaw an interview workshop. The MSU Alumni Association provided a grant to fund this event, which 20 people to The Virginian Suites in Arlington, VA.

STL Spartans

            MSU’s Damon Rensing, head soccer coach, met with 75 Spartans at St. Louis University High School May 8. The club’s annual meeting raised $2,500 to support the university’s soccer program. In 1967 and 1968, MSU won NCAA National Soccer Championships with a team encompassing 13 scholarship recruits from the St. Louis area.  Of those, 11 appeared and shared their Spartan stories.

San Francisco Bay Area Spartans

            To support the Spartans Will Global Day of Service on April 12, 40 club members worked at The Presidio of San Francisco, a park and former military base on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula. Spartans worked to maintain important wildlife corridors and enhance rare native plant habitat.

Grand Traverse Area MSU Alumni Club

            A cadre of MSU athletics staff members and stars mingled with more than 100 golfers and more than 200 dinner guests at Traverse City Golf and Country Club June 2. To date, the club has raised more than $180,000 in funds to support student scholarships. Special recognition was paid to three brothers—Pat, Tom and the late John Wilson—all of whom played Spartan sports in the 50s and 60s. Special appearances were made by Mark Hollis, Spartan athletics director, Suzy Merchant, women’s basketball coach, and Spartan athletes: Steve Juday, Austin Thornton, Drew Neitzel, Andre Hutson, Jason Strayhorn and Tim Bograkos. The club also honored Bob Bao, who in May retired as MSU Alumni Magazine editor, a post he held for 30 years.

Grandparent’s University

            MSU hosted 1,040 participants at the June 24-26 Grandparents University, an annual program that brings Spartans and their grandchildren to campus for a plethora of activities. Next year’s event will be June 23-25. Get the details at

Spartan Explores Kenya

            Engineering alumnus R. Chandrasekaran,’68, flew the green and white while visiting the Mt. Kenya Safari Club in Africa. He is a MSUAA Life Member.

Taking Flight with ROTC

            After seeing her in her highly decorated Air Force dress uniform, it was hard to imagine that Lt. Gen. Judith Fedder, ’80, was initially planning a white-coat career in dietary research and hospital administration.

            But a serendipitous moment during her freshman year at Michigan State University gave flight in a different direction.

             “I happened to see a group of Army ROTC cadets run by in formation, in uniform, and it immediately seemed familiar,” recalls Fedder, who’d grown up on Army bases before her parents put down roots in Manistee.

            Fedder joined MSU’s Air Force ROTC detachment—back in the days of classic Quonset huts. 

            Senior year she applied for pilot training. “When I didn't qualify because I was two inches too short I decided to ask for the career field that would get me on the flight line and closest to flight ops—aircraft maintenance. It turned out to be a very good choice and I love it,” she says.

            Today, Fedder is Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Installations and Mission Support at U.S. Air Force Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

            It is such fulfilling career that she and her husband, an Air Force retiree, have created an endowment to support future cadets of MSU AFROTC Detachment 380.

            She’s grateful for her ROTC experiences on campus. “ROTC provided leadership opportunity, a focus on physical fitness, and a sense of team accomplishment that inspired me to really stretch myself and get out of my ‘comfort zone’ as I entered active duty.”

            Where can today’s young men and women go after ROTC?

             “The sky’s the limit,” she says, “no pun intended. With a degree from MSU, the ROTC programs offer a military commission and incredible opportunities. The Air Force is particularly interested in engineering disciplines and of course, those with a desire to lead, follow and serve.”

            In fact, our nation depends on its bright, dedicated service men and women.

            Through the Fedder Endowment for Air Force ROTC at MSU, Spartan students will benefit from additional support as they pursue their military careers.

             “I am proud to be a Spartan,” she says. “My husband shares in my delight at being able to give back to the university that gave me so many opportunities. I join others who are making that possible for young men and women who want to do something they never thought possible.”