Homecoming 2007 – Celebrating the heroes among us

10-12-2007

The annual MSU Homecoming weekend begins later today with the traditional parade down Grand River Avenue, officially kicking off this year’s celebrations. The theme is “Where Heroes Are Made,” and Athletic Director Ron Mason will serve as the parade’s Grand Marshal. Visit the MSU Homecoming Web site for more information about all of the events happening throughout the weekend.

Homecoming is traditionally a time for friends and family and former classmates to gather together to celebrate their connection to their alma mater and to each other, and to cheer on their beloved Spartan football team. While this will certainly be the case this weekend, I also think the theme of this year’s celebration—Where Heroes Are Made—provides a great opportunity to take a look around our campus at some of the heroes among us.

When we think about heroes, often the first images that come to mind are of those individuals who protect our lives at home and abroad; all of which are much deserving of this title. Or, sometimes on weekends like this, we think of the athletes on the field of play as our heroes for bringing victory to our teams. Heroes come in many different forms and represent something different to each of us.

When I think about the heroes at MSU, I am often drawn to the individuals and groups who, with great courage and little notoriety, are working to make our campus community and our world a better place. I think of students like those who organized and launched the I Stop Hate: MSU United Campaign last year to support inclusion and diversity at MSU.

Without much fanfare, but with great passion, this group of students initiated a broad-based program to encourage all MSU students to end hate and intolerance and to respect and value each other and the unique contributions each individual brings to our campus. These heroes were not working for individual gain or glory, but for the greater good of MSU and, by extension, the world around our campus. Their impact was felt by thousands of other students, most of whom they will never know, and by future generations of Spartans. Heroes are often those working quietly behind the scenes to effect change for people they have never met.

Tennis great and civil rights advocate, Arthur Ashe, once said, “True heroism is remarkably sober, very un-dramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”

As we enjoy the events of the weekend and cheer the Spartan football team to victory, I encourage you to think about the heroes in your lives and the hero you can be to others. It doesn’t take money or fame or political power to be a hero, just a desire to change the world around you.

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