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18 de maio de 2021

Spartan Superhero Spirit – Eli Broad College of Business _ Michigan State University

Spartan Superhero Spirit – Eli Broad College of Business _ Michigan State University

Spartan Superhero Spirit | MSU Broad College of Business

With its Superhero theme, MSU’s Homecoming was even more meaningful than usual for the special alumni who traveled back “home” for the Homecoming events in The School of Hospitality Business from Thursday, October 10 through Saturday, October 12.

“The alumni in our School are certainly superheroes to us,” says Dr. Ron Cichy (BA ’72, MBA ’77), School director, and himself an alumnus of The School.  “This year a record number of them came to campus, and throughout the weekend demonstrated for our students the meaning of enthusiastic “giving back.”

And the weather cooperated!  Thursday afternoon, in colorful 75 degree temperatures, four foursomes of alumni and students participated in the annual Alumni Association golf outing.  That evening, more than 30 faculty members and alumni participated in the annual Alumni/Faculty Roundtable, with alumni discussing current industry trends and the faculty discussing relevant research and service topics.  At the same time, a record number (86!) of students and alumni gathered at the annual Spartan Sponsors network program kick-off sponsored by The School’s Student and Industry Resource Center (SIRC).  The program pairs alumni and students with similar career interests in a year-long mentoring relationship.

The following day drew 70 alumni to The School’s meeting of the Appointed and Executive Board of the Alumni Association.  And if the word “meeting” conjures visions of boring committee reports, think again.  This was instead a day-long “revival meeting,” with alumni, faculty, and staff members all taking pride in what The School has come to stand for, and its role in the Broad College of Business.  Full disclosure: some of the emotion had to do with beloved and long-time Professor Mike Kasavana’s departure from the classroom at the end of Fall semester.  The Boards voted Mike as the recipient of this year’s faculty/staff award, after a touching testimonial to him by fellow Professor Ray Schmidgall.

In addition, the meeting was an opportunity to say “Thank you” to 26-year School Director Ron Cichy, who will step aside as director at the end of August.  A heartfelt tribute was written and read by Alumnus Gary Hernbroth (BA ‘79), a toast was offered, tears were shed, and a football jersey emblazoned with “Cichy” and the number “1” was presented to Ron.

With continued sunny Autumn weather and good feelings all around, the alumni proceeded to the Homecoming parade step off, where students had gathered with their Hospitality Association float (Spartan Hospitality Suites, no Hoosiers allowed!).  Bearing the kind of enthusiasm usually reserved for the young (!), over 150 alumni, faculty and staff members, and  students walked with the float, shouting the fight song and impressing the judges not just with their number, but also with several of them “flying” around with special capes, wrist guards, and masks which lent  an air of comic book humor!  And sure enough, for the ninth time in 11 years, The School’s float, entertaining walkers, and professional driver Bob Lyon won Best Spartan Spirit for 2013.  Was there ever a doubt?

With the parade over, hungry School students in record numbers (103 students, at last count!) joined the alumni, faculty, and staff for the annual After-Parade Reception and meal, hosted by Alumni Mike Rice (BA ’91), Chuck Day (BA ’91), and Allegra Johnson (BA ’91).  The lobby of the Eppley Center Business complex was filled with students eager to consume the 60 pounds of Mike’s famous Mac-n-Cheese, as well as brats and hot dogs, salad, and desserts.  They drew for prizes collected by Alumnus Jim McKillips (BA ’75), and no student went away without a full stomach and gratitude for the generous alumni who each year serve the students at this event.

The Spartan superhero spirit continued early the next day before game time, when The School and its HB 485 – Hospitality Food Service Operations students, led by Professor Allan Sherwin (BA ’64), prepared and served a fabulous tailgate brunch for over 70 alumni and guests across from The School’s Culinary Business Learning Lab in the Kellogg Center.  The capes, wristbands, and masks were out in force among the young-at-heart alumni such as Richard Farrar (BA ’73), Dan Burdakin (BA ‘81) and others.

The brunch Essay-Company.Org review featured a surprise visit from a capella singers Three Men and a Tenor (all in superhero gear), who, as they walked through the hotel were persuaded by Richard Farrar (for just a tailgate drink!) to fly along with him to the reception and sing a couple of songs, including MSU Shadows.  The brunch also included a drawing for dozens of School-related prizes (smart sticks, knapsacks, notepads, aprons, and a coffee maker).

And finally, the game!  Sitting in a bloc together under bright blue skies and 70+ degrees, the alumni and their family members, faculty members, and several students and their families all enjoyed Spartan football together – a 42-28 thrashing of the Indiana Hoosiers.  The announcement at halftime of The School’s Hospitality Association float as Best Spartan Spirit was icing on the cake.

It sounds like a lot of events in a short amount of time, and it was.  But more than anything, the weekend was a flurry of family, Spartan family, and fellowship:  of connections made and strengthened between enthusiastic students, generous and grateful alumni, and dedicated faculty and staff members – Spartan Superheroes all.

“The college experience is of course about academics and producing leaders, ” says Dr. Cichy.  “But we believe it is also about the friendships, connections and fun of special weekends such as this.  I’ll never forget this last Homecoming as director. THANK YOU.”