Homecoming 2010With the theme, “Spartan Space Odyssey 2010,” Homecoming week at MSU had something for everyone – including Gerard Butler (who played King Leonidas in the movie “300”) making a surprise appearance at Midnight Madness on Friday night, October 15, at Breslin Center. But for The School of Hospitality Business, the Homecoming odyssey began Thursday, with a group of students and alumni enjoying a golf outing in close-to-perfect fall weather at Forest Akers West golf course on campus. At the first tee, alumni and students each smashed Illinois tees, symbolic of the anticipated victory on Saturday.

But even non-golfing alumni got an early start to the weekend festivities by attending a faculty-alumni roundtable, discussing the latest trends and challenges in the hospitality industry. Students were present, too, learning from those on the front lines the emerging of issues they will face in the real world.

The odyssey continued that evening, when over 60 students met with 20 alumni at the kick-off for The School’s Spartan Sponsors Mentor Program. To foster the connection between alumni and students, the Spartan Sponsors Mentor program pairs one alumnus with one student who has a similar career interest. Throughout the year, the pair meet, exchange emails and text messages, and in others ways build a mentoring relationship.

And all of this took place before Homecoming weekend officially began!

Friday, The School was up and at ‘em early, with The School’s Alumni Association Executive and Appointed Boards of Directors meeting for six hours with faculty and students – nearly 90 total! The new Eli Broad College of Business Dean, Stefanie Lenway, addressed the group.

Friday evening brought the MSU Homecoming Parade, for which The School’s student Hospitality Association had spent a week building an outstanding float featuring the Jetsons, in keeping with the Space Odyssey Homecoming theme. In what felt like the largest gathering of students/alumni/faculty in the entire parade, over 70 marched with the float, including seven dogs! The enthusiasm and Spartan Spirit were infectious – and impressive enough to win Best Float in the parade!

Immediately after the parade, School alumni continued a popular tradition by hosting a sumptuous yet casual reception with hot dogs, and Mike Rice’s (BA ’91) famous macaroni and cheese, as well as coleslaw, brownies and cookies. Students were treated to a drawing with all sorts of prizes, including meals at local restaurants, School apparel and mementos, cash, and an iPod. And it was all free of charge for the students.

Finally, on Saturday morning before the noon kick off against Illinois, The School hosted its annual Homecoming reception in the Riverside Café in the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center. This is NOT your usual tailgate! Under the direction of Professor of Culinary Business Chef Allan Sherwin (BA ’64), students prepared and served made-to-order omelets, fresh bagels and lox, homemade cheese blintzes with Michigan cherry sauce, fresh sausage, carved ham, homemade cupcakes with caramel vanilla frosting, fresh fruit, and all kinds of beverages. All this, plus impressive ice and fruit carvings and lovely centerpieces, helped get over 70 alumni, faculty, staff, and students ready for the game.

MSU President Lou Anna Simon’s husband, Dr. Roy Simon, who maintains each year that the reception boasts the best food of any pregame party, welcomed those present and enjoyed reviving old friendships. Dean Lenway also added her welcome, leading the group with, “Go Green, Go White!”
And Ladies First, an all-female a cappella group entertained with several songs, including “MSU Shadows.” Another drawing allowed alumni to win many different kinds of prizes, including tickets for next year’s reception.

After the reception, no fewer than 65 alumni, faculty, students, and staff walked to Spartan Stadium to enjoy a Homecoming victory over Illinois that was out of this world, and which brought the team to 7-0 for the first time since 1966!

Something for everyone, and a three-day odyssey, space or otherwise, that allowed alumni to once again feel that special Spartan Spirit. That was Homecoming 2010 for The School of Hospitality Business at MSU.