Michigan State University Alumni Association Awards Prestigious Spartans

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Michigan State University Alumni Association is proud to honor its outstanding alumni during its annual Grand Award Gala on Oct. 19. Among the winners are Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Earleatha Johnson and Mona Hanna-Attisha.

MSUAA Logo

MSUAA Logo

This year’s recipients truly embody what it means to be a Spartan. Each person selected has made a positive impact at home and at-large. Their accomplishments are an inspiration, not just to all of our graduates, but to the world.

Michigan State University (MSU) Alumni Association is proud to honor its outstanding alumni. The MSU Alumni Association will recognize exceptional alumni during its annual Grand Award Gala on October 19 that reflects the prestige of MSU and its values in five categories.

“This year’s recipients truly embody what it means to be a Spartan. Each person selected has made a positive impact at home and at-large. Their accomplishments are an inspiration, not just to all of our graduates, but to the world. By investing in our students and alumni, we are investing in our future,” said Scott Westerman, associate vice president, Alumni Relations.

The award categories for this year’s Alumni Grand Awards include: Alumni Service Award, honoring those alumni that have demonstrated service to MSU and/or commendable public service on a local, state, national, or international level; Distinguished Alumni Award, honoring alumni that have differentiated themselves by achieving the highest level of professional accomplishment; Honorary Alumni Award, honoring those non-alumni candidates that have made an outstanding impact on behalf of MSU; Philanthropist Award, honoring those individuals, families, associations, corporations, or foundations that have generously demonstrated ongoing financial support and leadership to MSU; Young Alumni Award, honoring those alumni under age 40 who have distinguished themselves through a high level of professional accomplishment.

This year’s MSU Alumni Grand Award recipients are:

Distinguished Alumni Award:

  • Mona Hanna-Attisha: Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, FAAP, obtained her M.D. from the MSU College of Human Medicine in 2002; she is known for spearheading the discovery of lead in Flint’s drinking water in 2014.
  • Earvin “Magic Johnson: Johnson, a former Spartan basketball star and MSU honorary degree recipient, was recently named the president of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers in addition to serving as chairman of Magic Johnson Enterprises and the Magic Johnson Foundation. He is a passionate advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness/educational programs.
  • Earleatha “Cookie” Johnson: Earleatha received her BS from the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences in 1981. Better known as “Cookie,” she is a New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur, and serves as the secretary to the board of directors for the Magic Johnson Foundation.
  • Craig Menear: Menear, chairman, CEO and president of The Home Depot, earned a BA from MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business in 1979; he serves on the board of the Atlanta Committee for Progress, which brings together top CEOs, to provide leadership on issues of great impact for the city.

Alumni Service Award:

  • Donald Maine (Dr. Don W. Maine): Dr. Maine received a BA from MSU’s College of Education in 1965 and his MA from the college in 1972. He is the chancellor emeritus of Davenport University and was instrumental in development of the MSU College of Human Medicine campus in Grand Rapids, Mich. His estate has been gifted MSU to establish the Donald W. Maine Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Higher Education Administration.
  • Michael & Margaret Morrow: Michael received a BS from the MSU College of Social Science and is the owner of MGB Associates, LLC. Alongside his wife, Midge, who received her BA from the MSU College of Education, the couple has donated countless volunteer hours and pledged over $300,000 in support of various campus initiatives.

Young Alumni Award:

  • Joel Clum: Clum received a BA from MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business. He currently serves as the COO of Worldwide Express Operations. At MSU, he led a nonprofit consulting initiative, Students Consulting for Nonprofits, and as an alumnus supported its expansion to universities across the country.
  • Jonathan Kirkland: Kirkland received a BA from the MSU College of Music. In 2014, Kirkland made his television debut on NBC’s hit show, “Shades of Blue.” He is currently performing with the Chicago Company of “Hamilton”, and prior to, he performed onstage in regional and off-Broadway productions of “Sister Act”, “Generations,” and “Cabin in the Sky.”
  • Kaleb Thornhill: Thornhill received a BA from the MSU College of Social Science in 2007 as well as a Master of Science in kinesiology and sports administration in 2009. He currently serves as the director of Player Engagement for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and is co-founder of APEX Academy.

Honorary Alumni Award:

  • Thomas Luccock: Luccock joined the Spartan family in 2000 when he was hired to serve as director of internal audit and subsequently senior advisor to the president of MSU, a total of 15 years of service to the institution. His legacy continues to grow as he displays leadership through means of volunteerism, mentoring, philanthropy, and general support for higher education at MSU.

Philanthropist Award:

  • Thomas Yunck: Dr. Yunck is the founder of GeoOptics, Inc. and serves as its chairman and chief technical officer. Known for his research on GPS signals and with strong family ties to MSU, he granted MSU a $10.5 million bequest, which will be used toward his family’s endowments.

MSU Alumni Association will be hosting their Grand Award Gala on October 19 in the Big Ten Rooms at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing, Mich. The reception starts promptly at 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit alumni.msu.edu/traditions/alumni-awards.

About MSU Alumni Association: The MSU Alumni Association embodies Michigan State University’s world-grant mission to make the world a better place through collective Spartan power. Through engagement and continuing education, MSUAA fosters lifelong connections with more than 500,000 Spartans around the world. For more information, visit alumni.msu.edu.

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