During the month of April, college campuses are a flurry of activity. The last few weeks of classes, preparation for final exams, warm weather – it all makes for a tremendous finish to the spring semester. For students who are expecting to graduate, it’s a momentous time. As we continue to create a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation here at Michigan State University, we’re always looking for ways to recognize our dynamic alumni as well as our current students. This spring, we identified a new tradition that we believe honors both.
Recently, we held a small graduation ceremony for our students who are planning to graduate this spring/summer. We invited students who have served as interns of the Hatch or who have launched a startup out of the Hatch, active members of our entrepreneurship-related student organizations, as well as students graduating with an academic minor in entrepreneurship and innovation. Student participants had the chance to hear from and meet with Brett Kopf, a remarkable alumnus of MSU (‘09) and Co-Founder of Remind, a wildly successful startup that features a parent-teacher messaging app that is used by over 90% of school districts in the United States. Brett shared his stories about being a student entrepreneur and how he was able to leverage the resources made available at MSU to help him start his company.
After hearing Brett’s story, students were given their “Entrepreneurship” graduation sash for their upcoming graduation ceremonies. And then they were asked to sign the Spartan Entrepreneur Alumni Pledge, a new tradition we’re starting for graduating seniors actively engaged in entrepreneurship at the University. The goal of the pledge is to recognize and celebrate the successes of our graduating students, and to remind them of their obligation to “pay it forward” and be an active member of the MSU alumni community. The signed document will be hung on the wall inside the Hatch for current and future students to see. The pledge in its entirety can be seen and read below:
We are excited about this new tradition, and looking forward to recognizing more and more cohorts of graduating student entrepreneurs at MSU – and reminding them of the significance behind their soon-to-be alumni status – in the years to come.