The Spartan Podcast


cool shot2.jpg Hear the Conversation 6:29 min – 3.7 mb mp3

Members of Michigan State University’s Communications and Brand Strategy office embarked on the Great State Road Trip this summer to see how Spartans make Michigan a place of opportunity, innovation, and prosperity.

“The Great State Road Trip was a social first, real-time campaign to really get at the impact Michigan State University has here in Michigan,” says team member Jennifer Orlando. “And we wanted to share pride-worthy content with Spartans.”

With all that MSU does around the state, it was difficult for the team to pare down the list of places to visit to just 8. The team took an up-close look at MSU impact in East Lansing, Detroit, Traverse City, Flint, Hammond Bay, the Upper Peninsula, and Holland. Read more »


angeloff.jpg Hear the Conversation 10:14 min – 14 mb mp3

Austin Angeloff is ten years old and suffers from Mitochondrial disease. His mom Gen, explains. “Mitochondrial disease is a metabolic disorder. The body doesn’t make enough energy. So for him, if he gets just a simple cold—his body is too busy trying to fight off the cold, to run his normal organs. So he has problems with paralysis of his stomach, paralysis of his intestines. We’ve been fairly lucky, as far as this disease goes, he’s considered relatively stable.”

How exactly does Austin describe his disease? “Basically, it makes my muscles get tired, I can’t digest things, I have to have a drain bag. And I can’t get fed, so I have to have a pump.”

Austin Angeloff has two great loves: WWE and riding horses. He has teamed up with Michigan State University Extension’s Proud Equestrian Program for the past five years. PEP is based in Dickinson County, and allows equine enthusiasts the opportunity during the year to ride one hour per day for one week. Read more »


JenP2.jpg Hear the Conversation 14:10 min – 8.1 mb mp3

“There’s a need for us to acknowledge and talk more about our differences,” Paulette Granberry Russell, senior advisor to the president for diversity and director of MSU’s Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, tells Jennifer Orlando on MSU Today.

“How do we, across differences, engage with each other effectively? We’re seeking ways to bridge our differences and ways we can build on the strength of our differences as opposed to seeing them as things that divide us.

“Not everyone is comfortable, though, having those kinds of conversations. So through our office and this initiative, our goal is to create a comfort with the uncomfortable conversations that we need to continue to have.”

Granberry Russell invites anyone to visit the Inclusion website. Read more »


HallerB.jpg Hear the Conversation 11:10 min – 6.4 mb mp3

Alan Haller is the newly named chief of staff for Spartan Athletics.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to work closer with our internal staff, and I’m very excited about connecting with our community and campus partners,” he tells MSU Vice President and Secretary of the Board of Trustees Bill Beekman and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis on MSU Today.

Haller is a Lansing native who has had a career in law enforcement. He played football at MSU and in the NFL. Those experiences help guide him in this new role. He says the mission of a campus police officer at MSU is similar to the one in his new position. Read more »

MSU Today on News/Talk 760 WJR

September 7th, 2017


msutsp.jpg Hear the Show 52:54 min – 30.3 mb mp3

“It’s the greatest decision I’ve made since I married my wife,” Crain’s Detroit Business publisher and editor Ron_Fournier tells Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis on MSU Today in describing his return to his hometown of Detroit. “It was a great experience working in Washington covering the White House and national politics, but Detroit was always home for my wife and me. And we were determined to get back.

“Working at Crain’s is great, but the truly great thing is being back with our families and being part of the state and what I hope will be a resurgence in Detroit.” Read more »


Fouty2.jpg Hear the Conversation 13:23 min – 7.7 mb mp3

Amy Fouty is athletic turf manager at MSU.

She says the toughest field to maintain isn’t the one many would expect – Spartan Stadium.

“It’s really the baseball field. That’s probably the most challenging field we have to take care of if you want to maintain a pristine standard,” she tells MSU Vice President and Secretary of the Board of Trustees Bill Beekman and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis on MSU Today.

“And then it’s the practice golf facility. Because they play so early in the spring and late into the fall. And they like to maintain country club conditions.

“Those are probably the two highest maintenance areas we have outside of a game week at Spartan Stadium.” Read more »


DThornton.jpg Hear the Conversation 13:04 min – 7.5 mb mp3

“I’m really honored to be in this new position. I’m looking forward to being a part of the great community here at MSU and working with our outstanding students,” new Spartan Marching Band director David Thornton tells MSU Vice President and Secretary of the Board of Trustees Bill Beekman and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis on MSU Today.

Thornton says developing the halftime shows for Spartan football games is a year-long process.

“We get feedback from students at the end of each season with their ideas, and we brainstorm throughout the winter on show themes. It’s 7 to 8 shows each fall; so there’s a lot of planning involved. And the music drives the visuals.

“It’s a big process. It’s definitely an artistic process. It takes time. And sometimes we have five days to get a show on the field. But generally our preparation is about two weeks in advance.”

Thornton highlights members of his staff and the roles they play in making everything come together.


22242.jpg Hear the Conversation 26:41 min – 15.2 mb mp3

It’s time for another school year at MSU, and President Simon is looking forward to it.

She’s hoping to spur more civil discourse around difficult issues within Team MSU while the university develops more citizen scholars.

“We open the school year with a lot of issues swirling around us,” says Simon. “At the same time, we have to realize that ideas can have rough edges. I’m excited about how this will unfold for the year. Ultimately, we have to learn and grow together.”

President Simon highlights the many physical and facility enhancements to the campus this year. And she says the new Food at MSU initiative being led by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has MSU rethinking food more broadly and listening to consumers about how it impacts them and the planet. Read more »


holmes2.jpg Hear the Conversation 10:06 min – 5.8 mb mp3

(Please note: My interview with Cpt. Keith Holmes aired on WJR 760 AM—Detroit just hours after the iconic power boat racer died following a crash July 30 during the St. Clair River Classic Offshore Powerboat Association race. Out of respect for his family, I decided to wait before posting the interview. I had never met Keith previously, but it was clear from just one conversation that he was a gracious gentleman, a passionate competitor, a strong advocate for family farms and an ardent Great Lakes environmentalist. Russ White and I extend our heartfelt sympathy to Keith’s family.)

Captain Keith Holmes is the owner and throttle-man of the 40-foot, offshore racing catamaran, Cat Can Do. A veteran of over 160 races, Holmes has become a legend not only among power boat devotees, but even NASCAR racing drivers and fans. Read more »


contag2.jpg Hear the Conversation 24:09 min – 13.8 mb mp3

Chris Contag joined Michigan State University in November 2016 as the inaugural Director of the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering and the Chair of the new Department of Biomedical Engineering.

The new research institute, IQ, is a collaboration between the Colleges of Engineering, Human Medicine and Natural Science, but there will be numerous investigators from other disciplines. The Biomedical Engineering department and graduate program will be housed in the College of Engineering.

“I describe the work we’ll be doing as a group of biologists asking interesting biological questions, and if we don’t have the tools we need to answer those questions, we’ll build them,” says Contag. “Our goal is to watch biological processes happening in real time, and then leverage that knowledge to improve life.” Read more »

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