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July 3, 2019

Past, present and future

July 3, 2019 

History — it’s not just something we read in books or learn in school, but the very thing that shapes who we are in the present. Last week I said goodbye to one of the most important parts of my history when my incredible, kind, caring dad passed away. Moments before he took his last breath, I told him that all of what is good about me and my sisters came from him. The goodness we see in the world, the compassion we show for others, our work ethic, our desire to use our talents to serve others and our communities, the courage we have to forge our paths and chase adventure — it all came from him.

The memories we have sustained us through a week filled with tears and heartache and will continue to help us manage the days ahead. That shared history not only defined who we are but will continue to make us who we will become tomorrow and the following days. We are so grateful that he will forever be part of our past, present and future.

It’s not just our generation who have been shaped by his history. He was an incredible singer and I hear him in my daughter’s beautiful voice when she performs. His skill at accounting is being carried on by my nephew. My nieces have his sweetness and kind outlook toward others. Another nephew, headed to medical school, embodies his work ethic. All of his grandkids inherited his sense of fun and adventure.

As we talked with so many people last week, we realized his history didn’t just matter to his immediate family, but to a large circle of extended family, friends, neighbors and pretty much anyone he ever met. When you’re living your present, I don’t think anyone realizes the impact they leave for the future.

My guess is when the founders of MSU created Michigan Agricultural College in 1855, they probably knew they were doing something good, but maybe didn’t realize the incredible impact the university would have on the world. When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act on July 2, 1862, allowing for the creation of land-grant colleges, I bet no one truly understood just how important that was to the country.

Yesterday, we celebrated the signing of that important act, which made MSU the pioneer land-grant institution. Learn more about our important history in the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Land-grant roots. Just like how my history shaped who I am, MSU’s history has formed who all Spartans are today.  

While we might not always realize the importance of our present, many Spartans spend their lives dedicated to improving the future. Rufus Isaacs, a professor in entomology, knows that the current threat to bees and pollinators is part of our present that could be devastating for everyone’s future. That’s why he’s working in the labs and fields to help find solutions to the problem. Watch the short video in the FACULTY VOICE: Helping farmers support bees, to learn more about his important work.

Like hundreds of thousands of other Spartans, the start of my MSU history began when I traveled to campus for my student orientation. I remember a hot room in Wilson, lectures about academics and behavior, picking my schedule, getting an ID and running across campus during free time to find Campbell Hall. 

Recently, orientation was given a bit of an overhaul to better serve students and help them succeed. Zach Richardson, a senior majoring in marketing, decided to shadow the program to see how it changed. Because he knows how his current life can help the future, he also wants to offer his advice to incoming freshmen. Check out his STUDENT VIEW: Getting oriented, to read his perspectives.

While my present is a little challenging right now, I know that as the days go on my pain will lessen. I also know that I am profoundly grateful for the past I’ve had and the life I currently lead. Additionally, I realize that my future should respect that past so I plan to make the most of it.

Go forward into the future, Spartans, knowing that our solid foundation is strong enough to hold all of the incredible tomorrows we have ahead of us as we change the world. #SpartansWill.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo by Derrick L. Turner


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