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Michigan State

Traditions and Values

Thursday, Sept. 22

The traditions and values of Michigan State University are important to everyone. It is, after all, what brings us together as Spartans. The first time my father drove me across the bridge spanning the Red Cedar River, my eyes opened on the sun-lit bronze Spartan statue. I knew immediately Michigan State University would be my home. The Spartan statue stands watch over our Athletic Department venues and symbolizes the strength, determination and passion of every Michigan State University student, alumni and faculty member. In fact, he watches over the memories we all develop as Spartans.

I strive to bring those traditions and values to work every day. There are times that this proves challenging, as each of us has different and diverse interpretations to what those traditions and values should be and how they should be applied. Aggies, Staters, Spartans, MAC and MSU, regardless of the name, we are all connected through time by having step foot on this special land. When I step back and observe, the traditions and values I most admire about our University is our innovation, inclusion, and capacity to achieve beyond our resources.

One of the missions of Spartan Athletics is to bring people together, to allow them to "Gather and Engage" as Spartans. At the same time, our mission is to expose everything that is great about this University to the world through sports. The Block S, Green & White, and the Spartan are the core of our contemporary traditions. I think of the Block S as our family logo, one that will always be seen across campus, including on the jackets of our varsity student-athletes. At MSU, we know what the Block S means. At other institutions and in other regions, it means something else. On the national scene, the Spartan logo has a direct connection with one University - our University. It is distinctive and has been ranked nationally among the top five best college logos and top 20 of all sports logos. The Spartan logo draws people with no affiliation to MSU on a national and global scale. They become Spartans!

Every day, we celebrate those that have walked here before us, including the great football teams of the 1950s and 1960s. Basketball rose to the top of the national scene during the 1970s and 2000s. And while we celebrate, we continuously strive to build for the next great era through those values of innovation, inclusion, and the capacity to achieve beyond our resources.

This weekend, we will celebrate the past, present and future of Spartan Athletics as MSU welcomes Morten Andersen, Mateen Cleaves, Dana Cooke, Kisha Kelley-Simpson, and Charles McCaffree into the Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend. They will join recipients of the Varsity S Club Awards along with 152 current student-athletes that will receive their letter jacket at the Wharton Center on Thursday night. This is another example of how the past and present come together as we collectively strive for excellence.

Inspired by our current student-athletes, and supported by our coaches and administrators who guide them, a symbolic uniform will be worn by our football team at one game this season. We haven't forsaken our school's tradition, but we have taken this unique opportunity to tie our program to our Spartan heritage. The passionate exchange of ideas is an integral part of the university experience. All Spartan fans may not share the same reaction to the look of the uniforms but each should remain steadfast in support of the student-athletes in them. We value our partnership with Nike, and we benefit from the support provided to each of our 25 sports. Innovation and inspiration can coexist with tradition. We can celebrate individual ideas, opinions and diversity, but in the end, we must remain united as Spartans.

Traditions and values! Beneath the pines, we'll gather to celebrate this great University.

Friday Night Lights

Thursday, Sept. 1

Growing up in a small village in the thumb of Michigan, football games on Friday night were always a special time.

As a young child, I remember going to games and watching the team run onto the field as they busted through and enthusiastically destroyed the cheer squad's paper banner. Not long after kickoff, my buddies and I would start a game of touch football behind the bleachers. We would always take timeouts to catch a glimpse of our guys playing the game that brought us together. Hearing the band play and the cheers rise from the hundreds of fans that would gather along both sidelines occurred in most every community. Like many others, once I was in high school, I was fortunate to play the game on fall Friday nights under the lights.

Labor Day brings to Michigan a special meaning, almost a transformation from the summer months to a return toward focus and academics. The last summer weekend is a time for people from our state to enjoy everything it offers during the season one final time. It is time to join with family and friends for golf, boating, biking, hiking, swimming, or simply enjoying time together around the BBQ. With Michigan K-12 schools now starting after Labor Day and high school football games moved to Thursday night, an opportunity was created to provide Spartan fans with a time to come together and also enjoy all that our state offers over this holiday weekend.

As such, we are looking forward to hosting Spartan fans on campus this Friday when we play under the lights. Historically, it is an afternoon and evening that is quiet on our beautiful campus. We realize that some challenges are created due to work schedules and we respect the campus academic mission of the day. At the same time, the timing of this game brings a positive impact to our team, fans and state. It provides for a day of learning, an opportunity for Spartans to gather together on campus, and an exciting Spartan football game.

Thanks to everyone for the cooperation and excitement they bring into this special game and the new Spartan academic year. And finally, the opening Spartan football game brings to me memories of my playing days some 30 years ago at Croswell-Lexington. Enjoy the game, enjoy the weekend. Go State!

A New Spartan Year

Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011

A new academic year is upon us. Every year, our campus welcomes new hopes, dreams and inspiration when our students and faculty return to East Lansing. The New Year will inevitably also bring along adversity and some unforeseen challenges to those same individuals. It is no different in life or sports. We look forward to entering 2011-12 academic year with you, as Spartans.

Upon entering the Athletics Department offices, five Big Ten Championship trophies remind us of the efforts of our 25 Spartan teams. Michigan State claimed 2010-11 conference titles in women's cross country, football, women's basketball, baseball, and women's golf. Four years to the day of Coach D's hiring as our head football coach, a Big Ten Championship was claimed on our road trip to Happy Valley. These championship trophies are symbols of the efforts that all Spartans make in the competitive arena, classroom and life.

We are also reminded of the adversity that presented itself to Coach Dantonio, Kathryn Mahoney, and many others over the past year. The return of Arthur Ray Jr. to the football field in the spring and Kathryn to the classroom this fall inspires every Spartan. We use the memory of "Bubba Smith" to drive us to make someone else's day a happier one.

Michigan State University is a special place because of its people. Use this collective bond to come together in times of celebration and adversity. Together we can - Spartans Will!