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MSU Wins Big And I’m Not Talking Sports

I don’t get the concept of high school graduation parties. When I graduated high school, we went to Cobo Hall to get our diploma and then we stopped at a Dairy Queen. Since it was a special time I got to upgrade to a Peanut Buster instead of a medium cone. That was the extent of my party. And other than attending a high school reunion, does anyone really visit their high school 10, 20 or 30 years later?

Now college is an entire different animal. Don’t ask me why but after spending four years at a college not only are you an alumni for life, you might even wear your college clothing; buy a license plate with your college logo; and attend sporting events with friends, family and eventually, your grand kids whom you constantly talk them into going to your college. I have one thought on the subject: It’s your first time out of the house and being somewhat independent. Another thought: Colleges do the best damn job ingraining their culture into your brain once you set foot on campus.

Just think about it. Campus. Who made up that word? Mascots. Who made up that word? Cheer leaders. Marching band. Union. Dorms. Cafeteria. Fight song. Fraternities and sororities. All-nighters. Courses. All these words conjure college life that for four years you live and breathe until you graduate. But even once you graduate, the Alumni Association keeps tabs on you and over time you are drawn back in.

Both MSU and that other school in Ann Arbor have more than 500,000 alumni. We all know about the rivalries when it comes to sports. We live and breathe for a V against the other team to secure bragging rights for the year. When your team plays, it’s like you are on the team and cheer so loud when the team wins and whine so loud when the team loses. Believe me this is a master plan college presidents came up with way back then. And it still works.

How do you I know? I’ve been a Spartan for more than 40 years and that is long frigging time. Yes I go to football games and yes I know we have not won a national championship since 1966 and certainly we are not going to win one this year. But in the scheme of things, what colleges have really done well is fund-raising. Endowments, stadiums, buildings, general fund, sports and just about anything else you can think of.

So when the Dean of the business school, Dean Gupta, asked about helping them fund a new building called the Pavilion, specifically the new Entrepreneurial Lab, I had to stop and think about it. And while I was thinking about it I got invited to his suite at Spartan Stadium, I got invited to Cowles House for brunch, I got to see and even teach an entrepreneurial class. Oh yes, there is nothing more gripping than the tentacles of a college seeking funds.

All sarcasm set aside, the more I thought about it and consulted with the BUB, the more it made sense. I couldn’t think of anyone better to be part of the new entrepreneurial program than me. And I also thought the time is right for MSU to kicks U-M’s ass on the academic side, notably the business school. While MSU is ranked in the top 30, U-M Ross has perennially been ranked higher. Now with the new Pavilion and updated course structure, surely MSU is going to leap forward in the rankings. And that my friends is just another reason among many that made our gift to MSU so worthwhile. Plus the fact that Dean Gupta ensured me he will make this happen (OK, he just didn’t tell me when).

Bottom line: Giving back is truly among the best gifts of all. I am very excited for the future of the business program at MSU and we will now be part of the legacy that started way back in 1855.

Happy Monday!


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