Nov. 22, 2016
My grandmother has been gone 25 years, yet I can picture Thanksgiving at her house like I was there yesterday. I can smell the turkey in her old gas oven you had to light with a match. I see her bustling about the kitchen with a smile on her face. I hear the train down the road and the laughter of cousins. I picture the china on the table; I remember where every family member sat. I feel the wooden chair under me. Pulling a seat up to my grandma’s Thanksgiving table is one of my fondest memories and a most cherished gift.
Since then, I’ve pulled a chair up to Thanksgivings at my mom and dad’s, my sister’s, my sister-in-law’s, a couple of restaurants and my own table. They’ve all been lovely, but those childhood Thanksgiving dinners still outrank them all because my grandparents and my mom had seats at that table. I miss them terribly every holiday.
This year, I’ll pull my chair up to a new table – at a cool diner in Brooklyn, New York. My kid couldn’t make it home this year so we’re going to her. Given her tiny Manhattan sublet, cooking at her place isn’t really an option. But, it’s not like you can’t find great food in NYC, so I think we’ll be well fed. My daughter is a pro at finding the best places to eat. First, we’ll hit up the Macy’s parade and experience the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. We did it last year too – there’s nothing like it. After that – it’s turkey time! I don’t know what kind of chair I’ll be in, but since I’ll be with my family, I know I’ll enjoy every minute.
Here at MSU, some pretty incredible researchers are pulling up a different kind of chair – an endowed one. MSU’s endowed chair positions are essential tools to draw top talent to the university and create opportunity for researchers and students. Check out the latest MSUTODAY FEATURE: A seat at the table to learn more about just a few of these outstanding researchers. You really don’t want to miss it – the photos are stunning…I mean, who puts an actual chair in the Red Cedar at dawn and asks a world-renowned water scientist to sit in it? Yeah, that would be my colleagues.
Suresh Mukherji, a physician in the College of Osteopathic Medicine whose work focuses on biological aspects of head and neck cancers, is highlighted in the feature. He says, “Being an endowed chair allows me to build the research infrastructure here at MSU and encourage young investigators…What are we going to leave on this earth that others will benefit from? That endowed chair creates a lasting legacy…”
Jeremiah Lopez, also a physician the College of Osteopathic Medicine, knows the importance of leaving a legacy. After his residency, he found himself drawn to serving a senior population of patients. He says, “I felt more comfortable talking and connecting with this older population. Listening to their life stories has always interested me.” Read his FACULTY VOICE: Connecting with an older population, to learn more about his work.
Ashley Logan, a second year medical student in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, is well on her way of leaving a legacy. Not only a student, she is the co-founder of the nonprofit organization Lettuce Live Well, which provides education and resources to promote healthy nutrition to those who need it most. Read her STUDENT VIEW: Helping others live well, to learn more about this inspirational young Spartan.
As I sit across from my daughter this Thanksgiving at a new table, I’ll certainly reflect on the legacies my mom and grandma left on this earth that benefits others. My daughter’s middle name was also my mom’s and my grandma’s first name and I know how proud they would be of her. My strong, independent, compassionate, principled, talented daughter is simply carrying on a legacy of those women before her.
Like Mukherji, Spartans are always thinking about how their work will benefit others. Spartans don’t care about what chair they’re sitting in, but instead focus on what they do while they’re in it to make the world a better place. Pull up a seat to the Spartan family table and figure out your legacy. Spartans Will.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner