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Aug. 4, 2021

Editor's note: Past, present, future

Do you ever have moments when it seems like time is both moving quickly but also the distant past seems like yesterday? How is it that some memories from childhood are as clear as a bell, but I often can’t remember why I walked into a room? Calendars show that years and years have passed, but it only takes the smallest thing to drag me back to days gone by with crystal clarity. The past, present and the future are thrown together in my brain creating the strange web that makes up my life.


Yesterday, I met up with some dear friends with whom I worked years ago. I mean years and years ago. We were brought together for a sad occasion, yet we found the joy of memories pulling us back to an earlier time and our former selves. And it felt wonderful, important, uplifting and warmed our hearts. No matter how much time had passed, the pull to yesteryear was strong.


Yet, we also lived in the moment and talked of how our past together not only formed the present but will continue to influence the future ahead. While we scattered in different directions so many years ago, that common history binds us forever. What will end up being a small blip in my entire life had a profound impact on who I am, what I believe and the actions I’ve taken. I was reminded again how grateful I am to have been a small part of an epic journey of public service by an amazing man and his brother.


Studying our past always gives insight into the future. Jon Frey, a classical archeologist, is digging way, way back into the past. He’s part of a decades-old archaeology project at Isthmia in Greece and recently launched a fascinating new website. Check out the MSUToday feature, Bringing an archeology project into the digital age, to learn more about his work and to watch a fantastic video about the project.


Sixteen years ago, Bruce Uhal, professor of physiology, had no idea how his work would become incredibly relevant today. He was planning to retire but changed his mind when he learned how the enzyme he was an expert in is the main receptor for the virus that causes COVID-19. Read more about how he put his plans on hold to jump back into this key research.


Cheri Speier-Pero, associate dean for undergraduate programs in the Broad College of Business, and Tobias Schoenherr, professor in purchasing and supply chain management, know that the key to bright futures is to give students opportunities and experiences in the present. Read their Faculty voice: How scholar-practitioner engagement impacts learning to learn more about students’ experiences working on real projects.  


Sometimes, current success can help motivate investment for future accomplishments. This week, world packaging leader Amcor made a transformative gift to MSU’s School of Packaging, focusing on sustainability. CEO Ron Delia is looking toward MSU to help create a more sustainable future saying, “The students at MSU’s School of Packaging today will be the packaging leaders that will lead this ongoing push for responsible packaging tomorrow.”


And, speaking of tomorrow, fall is rapidly approaching. While it seems like we’ve been living with uncertainty for a very long time, we know we’re going to have to roll with it for a little bit longer. With new COVID variants running rampant, the health and safety of our campus community must be the highest priority. That’s why the university announced new vaccine and mask mandates for the fall semester.


I’ve often wondered how the past 17 months will forever change our future. Certainly, there have been incredible losses for so many. Beyond the tragedy, what else will change in our future because of this past? I think it’s certain work “norms” will not look the same as before. I hope we retain things like online ordering and in-car pickups. We all acquired new ways to live, learn, engage and connect.


We all have different past experiences and yet we also have a lot of shared commonalities. Let’s celebrate our differences, join together in our collective present and create an incredible future for us all. #SpartansWill


Lisa Mulcrone 

Editor, MSUToday


Photo by Derrick L. Turner


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