MSU to honor top alumni during Alumni Grand Awards Gala
The annual Michigan State University Alumni Grand Awards Gala will be held Oct. 19 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. Distinguished Alumni Awards, Alumni Service Awards, Young Alumni Awards, Philanthropists of the Year Awards and an Honorary Alumnus Award will be shared by 11 exceptional Spartans.
Recipients were selected by the MSU Alumni Association Awards Committee.
The Distinguished Alumni Awards recognize those who have distinguished themselves by obtaining the highest levels of professional accomplishments and who possess the highest standards of integrity and character to positively reflect and enhance the prestige of MSU. The recipients are:
• Mona Hanna-Attisha. Hanna-Attisha obtained her M.D. from the MSU College of Human Medicine in 2002 and is known for spearheading the discovery of lead in Flint’s drinking water in 2014.
• Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Johnson is a former Spartan basketball star and MSU honorary degree recipient, the president of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, the chairman of Magic Johnson Enterprises and the Magic Johnson Foundation, and a passionate advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness/educational programs.
• Earleatha “Cookie” Johnson. Johnson received her BS from the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences in 1981 and is a New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur and 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 and serves on the board of the Atlanta Committee for Progress.
The Alumni Service Awards are presented to those who have demonstrated continuing outstanding volunteer service to MSU and/or meritorious public service on a local, state, national or international level. Recipients must possess the highest standards of integrity and character to positively reflect and enhance the prestige of MSU. The recipients are:
• Donald Maine. Maine received a BA from MSU’s College of Education in 1965 and his MA from the college in 1972 and is the chancellor emeritus of Davenport University. His commitment to student achievement is reflected in his desire to give back to MSU.
• Michael and Margaret Morrow. Michael received a BS from the MSU College of Social Science and is the owner of MGB Associates, LLC, and Margaret received her BA from the MSU College of Education. Together, the couple has donated countless volunteer hours and pledged over $300,000 in support of various campus initiatives.
The Young Alumni Awards are presented to graduates 40 years and younger who have distinguished themselves through high levels of professional accomplishment early in their careers. These individuals demonstrate a commitment to MSU through outstanding continuous volunteer service on behalf of the university and/or participation and leadership in meritorious public service on a local, state, national or international level. The recipients are:
• Joel Clum. Clum received a BA from MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business and 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, “Shades of Blue,” and since has performed in off-Broadway productions of “Sister Act,” “Generations,” “Cabin in the Sky,” and most recently, “Hamilton.”
• Kaleb Thornhill. Thornhill received a BA from the MSU College of Social Science in 2007 as well as an MS 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.
The Philanthropists of the Year Awards are presented to individuals, families, associations, corporations or foundations with proven records of providing major, on-going financial support and leadership to MSU. The candidates have demonstrated outstanding philanthropic responsibility toward MSU; their generosity encourages others to take leadership roles in philanthropy toward our university. The recipient is:
• Thomas Yunck. 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 family ties to MSU, he granted MSU a $10.5 million bequest, which will be used toward his family’s endowments.
The Honorary Alumnus Award is presented to those who have demonstrated outstanding continuous volunteer service to our university on a local, state, national or international level. The recipient is:
• Thomas Luccock. Luccock joined the Spartan family in 2000 when he was hired to serve as director of internal audit and senior adviser to the president of MSU. He has continued to demonstrate leadership through volunteerism, mentoring, philanthropy and general support for higher education at MSU.