The Spartan Podcast


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John Shelle came from a rather large family that included ten sisters and three brothers. His sisters helped him get his start in the horse industry. “The best thing about my upbringing is that I learned very early in life the woman’s place is any place she wants to be, because my sisters beat that into my head pretty early. It was a great way to be brought up.”

John’s original goal while in college was to become a high school math teacher. “I went to Jackson Community College and I chose mathematics for one reason—because I thought one of the best teachers I ever had was a nun, Sister Barbara Francis, who taught mathematics at Adrian Catholic Central when I went to high school. Did I do great in her courses? No. But I learned an awful lot from that woman and that’s why I wanted to be a high school math teacher.”

Shelle loves working with college students. “I have aged mentally, probably six years in the last year and a half, from not having that student contact. Sitting down and having a discussion with an advisee and talking about their future and what they’re going to do—by the time I got done with those, I felt like I was a peer, rather than their instructor or advisor. As a result of that, it made me feel young.”

John’s favorite advice to students was for them “to recognize the importance of what might be the simplest decisions in your life.”

Shelle spent numerous years teaching and managing the Horse Teaching and Research Farm. As for his ehmpression of MSU? “There was a time if an upper administrator hired someone and that person was doing a good job, there was tremendous support for that person long-term because it was all about people. I came here shortly after John Hannah retired and that philosophy pervaded everything at the University. And he was all about people.”

Ehmpressions of MSU is a podcast devoted to all things Michigan State University produced by Kraig Ehm.

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