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CB.JPG Hear the Conversation 6:34 – 3.8 mb mp3

“The first thing I did when I got to MSU is get to know the culture here and then look for individuals who fit that culture for our football program,” Spartan Football‘s director of college advancement and performance Curtis Blackwell tells Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis.

“I’m here to help with recruiting because the process has been accelerated over the years. We like to take the time to get to know our prospects and get them on campus to see whether they’re a good fit for our program.

“The camaraderie and chemistry at MSU is unique. Players either feel that or they don’t when they get here, and we’re fine with that. As Coach Dantonio always says, being a Spartan is a relationship for a lifetime and the players’ time at MSU is the launching of their career.”

And Blackwell thanks Simon and Hollis for having the vision to create his position and says that confidence in him “is a sign of where Michigan State is headed.”

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Spartans head basketball coach Tom Izzo tells Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis that he considers himself to be an educator as much as a coach.

“Ninety percent of the kids you coach graduate and never play another day of basketball,” says Izzo. “The process I try to stick with is to make them all better players, people and students.”

“We’re young with 6 or 7 new guys, which is unusual for us, but I love our passion and the emerging leadership of Valentine, Trice and Dawson,” says Izzo. “Last year we had good chemistry, but no leaders. This year we have two great leaders in Valentine and Trice and Dawson is starting to move his game up.

“We have passion, chemistry and leadership, so if anyone can coach this team we’ll be decent,” quips Izzo.

Izzo says he’s seen his Spartans picked anywhere from second to eighth in the Big Ten and between ninth and thirtieth in the country and that he agrees with those assessments.

“We’re a Top 20 team with a lot to prove.”

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Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis welcome campaign co-chairs Dee Cook and Bob Skandalaris to the MSU Today microphones for a conversation on Empower Extraordinary: The Campaign for Michigan State University.

Cook is a former MSU Trustee, and Skandalaris is founder and CEO of Quantum Ventures of Michigan LLC.

Michigan State University is poised to achieve the next milestone in fulfilling its legacy and achieving its destiny—to power and empower—through the campaign. More than ever, philanthropic investment through private giving from MSU alumni and friends is essential to maintaining the university’s standard of excellence and to reducing the tuition burden on students and their families. Read more »

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“Years ago the state used to pay about 70 percent of the tuition, and now it’s down to about 17 percent,” Empower Extraordinary campaign co-chair Bob Skandalaris tells Steve Courtney on the October 25, WJR MSU Auto Owner’s Insurance Tailgate Show. “There’s a large gap that has to be covered by people outside the university.

The Michigan State University Board of Trustees on October 24 approved a $1.5 billion capital campaign intended to build on MSU’s traditions while empowering critical initiatives for the 21st century.

“I think it’s important for all of us to understand that we’ve had opportunities because of what was provided to us at Michigan State,” adds MSU Athletic Director Mark Hollis. “It takes a community to really embrace a university and do all that can be done in order to give future students the same level of opportunities to pursue the same dreams and have the results that so many other Spartans have had.”

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“We’re young with 6 or 7 new guys, which is unusual for us, but I love our passion and the emerging leadership of Valentine, Trice and Dawson,” Spartans basketball coach Tom Izzo tells Steve Courtney on the October 25 WJR MSU Auto Owner’s Insurance Tailgate Show. “Last year we had good chemistry, but no leaders. This year we have two great leaders in Valentine and Trice and Dawson is starting to move his game up.

“We have passion, chemistry and leadership, so if anyone can coach this team we’ll be decent,” quips Izzo.

Izzo says he’s seen his Spartans picked anywhere from second to eighth in the Big Ten and between ninth and thirtieth in the country and that he agrees with those assessments.

“We’re a Top 20 team with a lot to prove.”

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by Hannah Watts

Michigan State University has launched “Empower Extraordinary – The Campaign for Michigan State University” fundraising effort, and MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon discusses the details with Russ White.

With an approved goal of more than $1.5 billion, the university is focused on making big leaps, says President Simon.

“The real purpose of the campaign is to make Michigan State University a better place,” Simon says. “A place that is returning on the investment people have made in it, whether a student, faculty member, alumni or Michigan resident.”

There are four central themes of the campaign: Engine of opportunity; Force for creativity, discovery and learning; Tackling global challenges; and Building a vibrant and dynamic community.

“It’s not about fixing roofs and filling in holes,” she says. “It’s about the big leaps that institutions must make to be world competitive. It’s about talent attraction and retention and having the dollars to offer fellowships and scholarships.” Read more »

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Project 60/50 is Michigan State University‘s yearlong conversation about civil and human rights. 2014 is the 60th anniversary of the dismantling of segregation of public schools in 1954 and the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination in vital areas of life in America. The project links academic exploration and study with public remembrance.

“The goal of this project is to open the door to anyone who has an interest in discussing these issues who has a particular view,” MSU’s director of the Office of Inclusion Paulette Granberry Russell tells Jennifer Orlando on MSU Today. “People should be able to express their views and raise important issues in a way that’s respected, even where we may disagree.

“And if we’re really going to impact the lingering issues of civil or human rights, it will be through conversations.”

Granberry Russell believes MSU has tapped into a need for people to discuss these issues “in a way that allows them to speak their mind in a way and in a space that’s respected where you can say what’s on your mind without being judged and shut down. And we’re going to find a way to sustain these conversations.”

Project 60/50 has no political agenda. It advocates only for the equal exchange of ideas and offers opportunities that are inclusive, showcasing MSU’s many intellectual talents in respectful ways.

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Michigan United States Senator Debbie Stabenow is a proud Michigan State University alumna.

MSU exposed me to all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds and really broadened my view of the world and gave me so many opportunities to learn so many different things. It really was the beginning of a journey of curiosity for me about learning.”

Senator Stabenow enjoys connecting with Spartans in Michigan, Washington, or wherever she’s traveling.

“In my role as a United States Senator, I’m extremely proud of the research and international role MSU plays around the world, and Michigan State has an incredible reputation as a premier agriculture and research institution.”

Senator Stabenow describes how proud she was to have President Obama sign the farm bill on the MSU campus and says the bill “is our food policy for the country and is really the economic development support for small communities.”

As for MSU’s future, she is concerned about making sure college is affordable and that funding is available for critical research. “We have to make sure going forward that young people have the same opportunities that I had to attend Michigan State.”

As for young Spartans who want to follow her into public service, Senator Stabenow advises them to “get a degree in something you’re passionate about and then get involved in the community.”

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by Hannah Watts

After several years of modest growth, the Recruiting Trends report is showing an increase in hiring for newly-minted degree holders that is expected to jump a whopping 16 percent in 2014-15. The annual survey, produced in part by Michigan State University economist Phil Gardner, is the nation’s largest with nearly 5,700 companies responding.

“Employers are recruiting new college graduates at levels not seen since the dot-com frenzy of 1999-2000,” says Gardner, director of MSU’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute. “Competition for qualified candidates is escalating to a degree rarely seen in the past 10 years.

“Though economic news and forecasts aren’t always painted in positive ways in the media, we see companies growing in technologies and other areas where they need more people; there’s all the ingredients for a really positive job market.” Read more »

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MSU Alumni Association Executive Director Scott Westerman and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis host “Inside MSU Athletics with AD Mark Hollis” Wednesdays at noon on the Spartan Sports Network.

“It’s great fun to look at some other areas of athletics that we don’t usually talk about,” Westerman tells Steve Courtney on the October 4 WJR MSU Auto Owner’s Insurance Tailgate Show, “including all the sports medicine going on behind the scenes.”

“People make the difference, but to have state-of-the-art X-Ray technology steps from the field in our North End Zone facility allows us to examine student-athletes immediately and make assessments,” Hollis says.

On the future of intercollegiate athletics Hollis says “in five years we’ll be in a very good place. We’re not professional sports no matter who wants to define us that way.” MSU is committed to the student-athlete model at MSU, he says.

Hollis says many of his athletic director colleagues are “frightened by the period of time we’re in, but I’m embracing the inevitable changes because it’s our opportunity to make a positive change in sports and impact issues like domestic and sexual violence. Sports can be a leader in preventing these issues. That’s the real blessing that can come out of the sports world.”

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