Published: April 26, 2002


Contact: Kristin Anderson at (517) 355-2281 or


EAST LANSING, Mich. - Robin Sloan of Troy decided to seek the honor of being Michigan State University's undergraduate convocation speaker because he wanted to underscore the value of "legacies."

Sloan, a senior economics major in The Eli Broad College of Business, will tell his fellow classmates at the Friday, May 3, student convocation that the most important idea to come away with is "the idea of a legacy, the sum of the work you do, not for yourself, but for a peculiar stranger - the child of the future."

The ceremony for all MSU graduating seniors and members of their families and special guests will be held at 1 p.m. at Breslin Student Events Center. Students are allowed three tickets, one for themselves and two for guests. Students and guests are asked to arrive at Breslin Center three hours prior to the ceremony.

"It's time to be proud of our efforts so far, the legacy we have left at MSU," Sloan said. "In every thing we do, we are not just living in the world, but building it as well. It's now time to get into the world we have to build."

The one thing Sloan, the son of Jim and Betty Ann Sloan, will remember most about his college experience is the literary contribution he has made to the MSU campus community - Oats. He and three friends started the magazine for undergraduate writers in his freshman year. Since then, the circulation of the magazine has grown from 300 to more than 5,000 copies.

"I wanted to start out my remarks with a personal example of achievement from college years," Sloan said, "and also to say that when each of us came here to college, we set out on a personal odyssey, and we have all learned a great deal from our journey."

A1998 graduate of Troy Athens High School, Sloan received an MSU Alumni Distinguished Scholarship, the university's top four-year academic scholarship. He served as president of Amnesty International MSU, as a resident mentor with the Department of Residence Life, and as a columnist and cartoonist for the student newspaper, The State News.

His personal journey extended beyond the classroom - all the way to Bangladesh. In spring 2001 he and his roommate "built the trip from the ground up and had one of the most surreal experiences of our lives," he said.

Sloan conducted research for UNICEF on potential uses of information technology for poverty alleviation and presented his findings to a panel of experts at UNICEF headquarters in Dhaka. He also taught daily English classes for Bangladesh computer students, developing an English curriculum and the accompanying course book.

Sloan says he will miss walking about campus and being a part of the interesting classes and activities that occur at MSU, which he calls "a place where people apply scholarship to real life and a place that is dedicated to that proposition."

Sloan's words of advice to the students of the future: "Be bold in whatever you do. You have to realize when you have an idea, such as Oats, that you can make it real, and that college is a place where you have a better chance of making it happen than in the real world.