Spartan spirit in Atlanta

Posted on: September 30, 2011

Last week, I enjoyed a series of visits with alumni in the Atlanta area. Our college has a strong MSU alumni presence everywhere, and the South is no exception. The individuals I met are making a difference, and they describe how MSU will always be a part of their lives. All of them told me that no matter what career path they took, their degree from the MSU College of Communication Arts & Sciences has served them well.

I'd like you to meet some of the Spartans I met down South, the MSU memories they shared and how they are staying connected to MSU. 

-Elizabeth and Al McGhee have been married for 54 years, and reconnected with us. Elizabeth graduated from our college in 1954 with a degree in speech and theater. After graduation, she taught in the metro Detroit area. An MSU friend introduced her to Al. After marriage, the McGhees lived in metro Detroit, Chicago and New York before relocating to Atlanta many years ago. 

- It was also a pleasure to meet alum Jeffrey Genthner, senior vice president and general manager of Fox Sports South. A 28-year industry veteran, Jeff shared with me his role in developing FOX Sports South into the nation's largest regional sports network, reaching more than 12 million cable and satellite homes across seven states in the Southeast. FOX Sports South is the television home of the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, Carolina Hurricanes, Charlotte Bobcats, Memphis Grizzlies and the Nashville Predators, as well as the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Southeastern Conference.  Jeff remains an enthusiastic Spartan, despite the miles between East Lansing and Atlanta – and all points in between during his amazing career trajectory after graduation in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in telecommunication. Greeting me with a wide smile and boundless energy, Jeff quickly became reconnected with CAS when he learned about all the great faculty and students. We also began exploring together how our students can learn from him and his team. And, on a personal note, one of the afternoon highlights for me was meeting former University of Kentucky football great Tim Couch and the legendary Tommy Bowden, both on air analysts at Fox Sports South.

- Shari Neumann is interested in being a mentor to students, and we love to get alumni involved in this way. Shari graduated in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in advertising and then received her MBA in 1985. Shari has been with Georgia Pacific Corporation for several years, and was recently appointed the director of the brand development center. She has worked at Warner Lambert, Coca-Cola and General Motors "R" Works. As a student at MSU, she thought about pre-med but discovered advertising and decided that was the major for her.

- On this short trip, I also was able to reconnect with retired faculty member Linda Lou Smith, who keeps up with the college through our magazine, enews and through her former colleagues. She grew up in the South and has settled there since retiring from MSU. At MSU, Linda Lou held a variety of posts, from faculty in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders to assistant dean in the college to assistant ombudsman at MSU's Office of the Ombudsman. It was wonderful to see her again.

We have so many Spartans everywhere around the world, from east to west and obviously north to south. Are you a Spartan in the South? I'd love to hear from you. 

Email me at pwhitten@msu.edu

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