Upon graduating from Michigan State University, every Spartan’s journey and success story is different. But one thing remains constant among all graduates: the “Spartans Will” spirit.
Broad Spartans represent the everlasting legacy that sets them apart from the average individual by giving back to the community, promoting international diversity, offering scholarships and inspiring others through entrepreneurial insights. This year, four Broad alumni were recognized at MSU’s 75th Alumni Grand Awards for their impactful efforts.
The Alumni Grand Awards seek to acknowledge outstanding alumni, and in 2021 the awards are honoring the recipients who would have been recognized in 2020. There are five award categories: Alumni Service Award, Distinguished Alumni Award, Honorary Alumni Award, Philanthropist Award and Young Alumni Award. Each category emphasizes the recipient’s engagement in their local communities, their state, their nation or the world. No matter where each recipient leaves their mark, their roots circle back and support MSU.
April Clobes earned her Bachelor of Arts in Marketing in 1994 and began working at the nation’s largest university-based credit union, MSU Federal Credit Union, in 1996 as a marketing specialist. Then she began climbing to the top to eventually become president and CEO in 2015. Strong results are a highlight of her contributions and career, noting that the growth of the company has reached more than $6 billion in assets.
Clobes is heavily involved throughout the Lansing community, including with the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, the Lansing Symphony Orchestra and four different credit union industry boards. She is also a dedicated Spartan, serving on the Wharton Center Advisory Council and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum Advisory Board; she has also served on the Broad College and Communications Arts and Sciences Alumni Boards.
Furthering her contributions, Clobes and her husband also created a student scholarship in their names and have funded the Billman Music Pavilion’s Brough Student Lounge. She is a key member of the MSU College of Music National Leadership Council, which is made up of alumni and supporters who share a passion for music and the university in order to help fund highly talented students. Clobes is one of 16 members who introduced the first collectively funded endowed scholarship totaling more than $150,000.
“Now more than ever, it’s what we do in our community to help people achieve their goals and dreams that touches hearts,” she said.
For her career accomplishments, Clobes was recognized with the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Toichi Takenaka received his MBA in 1968 and today is one of Japan’s highly respected business leaders, showing loyalty to family as well as his Spartan background. Takenaka is a 17th-generation descendant of the Takenaka Corporation’s original founder and has served as president and CEO since 1980.
The Takenaka Corporation, founded in 1610, is one of the largest architectural, engineering and construction firms in Japan, striving for quality in their buildings and complexes. Takenaka’s involvement in the company has enabled him to contribute to the building of the largest Ferris wheel in Singapore, develop projects and assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Japan and earn recognition from Forbes.
Growing up in Japan and doing business internationally has not prevented Takenaka from having a large presence in East Lansing. He embraces being a global Spartan as a member of the MSU Alumni Club in Japan, promoting the Business and Culture in Japan education abroad program and by contributing to the development of the Broad College’s newest building, the Edward J. Minskoff Pavilion.
“Sharing your expertise with future generations, especially in international interests, is critical to growing our globalization. That is why maintaining a relationship with MSU is so important to me,” he said.
Takenaka was also recognized with the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award for his successful career.
Robert and Anna Lou Schaberg
After completing his Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 1964, Robert Schaberg founded Amurcon Corporation of Virginia in 1978, a realty company specializing in multifamily housing. Robert and his wife, Anna Lou, have been a force for community advocacy and philanthropic efforts for decades.
In 1990 they founded the Virginia Nonprofit Housing Coalition, now known as the Bob and Anna Lou Schaberg Foundation, which works with more than 70 nonprofits to help financially unstable populations and provide housing solutions.
On top of their foundation work, the Schabergs have a substantial presence in the Spartan community, given their tremendous generosity toward athletics, academics, facility construction and scholarships. The Schabergs were each recognized with the 2021 Philanthropist Award for their outstanding impact and proven record of providing major, ongoing support to MSU.
They created the Ernest W. & Robert W. Schaberg Endowed Chair in Accounting, currently held by Ranjani Krishnan, in addition to naming the Minskoff Pavilion’s Welcome Plaza and supporting the Broad College’s first full-time director of student engagement. The Schabergs also provided student scholarships to the college’s Residential Business Community and helped finance the construction of the Spartan Stadium North end zone.
“Giving back to MSU is my way of showing appreciation for my MSU education. I’m proud to continue to invest in its success,” Robert said.
Kyle Welch received his Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Business in 2009 and hit the ground running. As the co-founder and president of Chicago Scoops, Welch has embraced an entrepreneurial mindset to become the largest Cold Stone Creamery franchisee, with more than 45 locations across 13 states.
Welch is also a member of the Northern Illinois Franchise Association, the Illinois Restaurant Association and the Young Presidents Organization of Chicago. He holds mentorship positions through nonprofits promoting college success for low-income students (College Possible) and erasing food insecurity (Food Foundry Chicago).
Amid the pandemic, Welch also helped create the nonprofit Prosper Chicago, dedicated to aiding restaurants that were forced to close and to sustain struggling communities. In 2020, he made Crain’s Chicago list of 40 Under 40 for his early-career success and devotion to making a difference.
His latest recognition is MSU’s 2021 Young Alumni Award. Along the way to early career success, Welch remembers his roots at MSU, helping current students too.
“I was just born to go to Michigan State,” Welch said at an Innovate State Speaker Series event in 2016. “Helping inspire others and being recognized by the university I love so much, and the institution that helped me so much, is by far the best feeling.”
All four of these award recipients demonstrate that Spartans Will. It is who they are, what they have to offer, what they do to make a difference, how they accomplish that difference and how they change the communities around them. Broad Spartans continue to inspire as they continue making a positive impact daily.