I lost my dad almost three years ago. My mom has been gone for nearly 13 years. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of them. They may not be here physically, but they are always with me.
Luckily, my dad’s sister and my mom’s brother live just an hour or so away from me. They are my connections to my parents and my history. This past weekend, after testing negative for COVID, I jumped in my car and went for a visit. I needed that connection.
I spent a lovely afternoon with my aunt catching up, talking about family and completing one of her many puzzles. I see my dad in her eyes, and, while she has six kids of her own, she calls me and my sisters her other kids. I’m so grateful for that love and connection to my history.
That evening and the next morning offered me a chance to spend some time with my uncle and my other aunt. We looked out over the bay they live on, drank wine and talked into the night. I brought an old family photo and he helped me identify my ancestors. He told me family stories and, once again, I was grateful to connect the dots in my past.
Some people make a huge difference in our collective histories. They are the world-changers and leaders who challenge the status quo or speak out for those who can’t. As a top public university, MSU has hosted many of them on campus. As we celebrate Black History Month, we gathered some audio clips from distinguished guests like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Maya Angelou and others. Check out the inspiring MSUToday feature Black history makers: Sharing wisdom at MSU and take a listen.
A couple of my colleagues recently found themselves digging into another kind of MSU history when they started researching campus buildings. They found some great photos and information about the 10 oldest buildings still on campus and put them together in a beautiful photo gallery. Check out the feature, Building on history to learn more about them. (My office's building is in there — it’s one of the more dramatic images in the gallery. You don’t want to miss it.)
Alumnus Barry Amis recently spent some time reflecting on his time on campus as a student activist. As a doctoral student in 1966, he was struck by a lack of diversity among students, faculty and staff. He later went on to help found the MSU Black Student Alliance, a group still active today.
His work in the past has helped create opportunities for students today. Spartans like Tabby Basha, a sophomore studying marketing in the Broad College of Business, who says, “I have never felt like this wasn’t the place for me.”
History is a funny thing. We build our own every day and don’t realize that someday someone else may look back on it for clues about themselves. Whether we like it or not, we’re all history makers. So, as you go about your day, pause for a moment. What will people say when they look back at the history you made? You don’t have to cure cancer or become famous to create a past that makes a difference for someone. Use your talents, Spartan. Seize the day and make history. Spartans Will.