From the editor:

Spartans among us

Nov. 29, 2017

It was an absolutely gut-wrenching day. A little less than two weeks ago, my brilliant little ball of light, happiness and goodness laid down her fluffy head in my lap for the last time. For 16 years, Molly, Molly the border collie (mix) had been the simplest joy and the kindest of souls for my family. Steadfast, loyal and the sweetest dog you’ve ever met; every day was better when she greeted us at the door. She honestly was the perfect dog. I know everyone says that, but seriously, she was.

Yet, as we know when we get them, they can’t stay with us forever. Though, a kind friend pointed out that it is their forever, and we hopefully made hers wonderful. A shelter dog we picked out when she was about six months old, we lavished love and attention on her every single day. She grew up with my daughter, stood by us on bad days and always made us remember that there is good in this world. I’m still trying to figure out how to go about my routine without her and without crying.Dog

And on that horrible day, when we needed it the most, another kind and compassionate soul stepped in to be there for us. Because of illness and some other circumstances, we ended up with a veterinarian we had never met and had never before cared for Molly. She came recommended by a friend who also had experienced this loss recently. She held us up when we couldn’t, cared for all of us and said some of the kindest things we needed to hear. Most of all, she made sure Ms. Molly was comfortable and at peace.

Of course, she is a Spartan. It’s rare to find any veterinarian in the area who isn’t. MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine is incredible. I know now from a very personal experience that the college produces amazing graduates. She exemplified everything about being a Spartan – smart, brave, compassionate and doing her part to make this world a better place.

You never know when you might run into a Spartan, but on those days when you really need someone who cares, you’ll be so grateful if you do. I remember finding out the doctor who was putting in my defibrillator was a Spartan – I was immediately at ease. I knew that he would be brilliant and caring, and he was. In fact, his “gut feeling” literally saved my life. Spartans, more than 500,000 of them, are all over this world creating positive change one action at a time.

Yomaira Figueroa, an assistant professor in the Department of English, has made it her goal to change the lives of students who might find it hard to find role models. As the daughter of immigrants and the first in her family to attend college, she’s committed to making sure that first-generation students know that they share similar experiences and can succeed. Watch the short video in the FACULTY VOICE: Inspiring students through literature, to learn more about how she strives to expose her classes to whole new worlds of writing.

It’s not just faculty and alumni who are changing lives. As Spartans, the will to make a difference starts before graduation. Noushin (“Sus”) Mahmood, a media and information student, often saw girls being discouraged from pursing higher education while she was growing up in Bangladesh. A study abroad trip in Tanzania furthered her passion for finding ways to make sure girls pursue educations, especially in the STEM fields. Check out her STUDENT VIEW: Helping women join STEM fields, to learn how she’s figuring out ways to help girls follow their dreams.

On days that seem dark and depressing, it really does do wonders to think about the good in this world – whether it’s sweet dogs or determined Spartans. The world is filled with incredible challenges these days, but Spartans are constantly rising to the occasion to solve them. If the feelings of sadness or hopelessness creep into your days, remember that Spartans are among us to see us through them and find ways to make them better. Spartans Will.  

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo by G.L. Kohuth