March 1, 2017
You had one job, PricewaterhouseCoopers – ONE job. Sheesh. I know to err is human, but that was a doozy. For anyone out of the loop, the firm gave the wrong envelope to Warren Beatty at the Oscars, causing the announcement of the wrong film as winner of the Best Picture Award. People immediately blamed Beatty and his co-presenter, Faye Dunaway, but when all was said and done after the onstage scuffle, it was clear who was really to blame.
I know the real cause was giving out the wrong envelope, but honestly, it’s clear those responsible for creating the cards don't have graphic designers as talented as my colleagues on their team. Had there been a large, bold, easy-to-read line at the top that said “BEST ACTRESS” there’s no way the presenters would have messed up. Burying that info in teeny, tiny italicized font at the bottom was not the right choice. Font size and type matter people! All I know is the award-winning designers I work with never would have let that happen.
While we don’t win Oscars and give acceptance speeches or have people applaud us on a daily basis (although people did applaud for me after I gave a presentation this morning) I consider all my colleagues to be winners. Whether writing, designing, video producing, coding, working with media or doing any of the other tasks we’re responsible for, I work with an incredible group of professionals. While we do occasionally win some awards in our industry (we’ll pick up a few more this Thursday) it’s not the accolades that motivate us. While it’s lovely to be recognized for our hard work, it’s straight up dedication, determination and passion to succeed that drives my team.
In fact, that’s pretty much the case with all Spartans. Spartans don’t need fancy trophies or ceremonies to name them as winners. Every single day, Spartans are winning some of the most important challenges the world is facing.
And then sometimes, we actually do win an award and get to give a speech. Elise Conklin is a senior majoring in media and information, who was part of a team of five MSU students who won a Student Academy Award for their documentary, “From Flint: Voices of a Poisoned City.” Check out the cool video in the STUDENT VIEW: Fortune favors the bold, to learn about her project and see her accept the award.
For other Spartans, winning means something different. For Brooke Ingersoll, an associate professor of psychology and director of the Autism Research Lab, winning means improving the lives of families who are living with autism. Helping a parent communicate with their child is a massive win. Watch the engaging video in the FACULTY VOICE: Improving lives, to learn more about her inspiring work.
I loved what one Academy Award winner said in his acceptance speech. Paraphrasing here, but he said something about accepting it on behalf of all the kids who sing in the rain and all their parents who let them. To me, MSU is a little like a parent. No matter what you want to do, you can do it at MSU and you’ll get support and encouragement along the way. As a Spartan, no matter the challenge you want to tackle, the field you want to study, the lives you want to change – you have the opportunity to be a winner. Spartans Will.
Photo of Wharton Center Great Hall by Kurt Stepnitz