An unexpected 15-minute intermission highlighted the Failure:Lab event put on by ASMSU Tuesday night at Wharton Center.
In front of a mostly-filled crowd, ASMSU welcomed the popular lecture series out of Grand Rapids to MSU, only to be interrupted about halfway through by what ushers said was smoke detected on the 4th floor.
Audience members were ushered outside of Wharton Center until the East Lansing Fire Department was called and declared the scene safe.
The theme of the night was overcoming past failures in life and using them to foster future success. The venture was founded by four West Michigan businessmen in 2012 to focus on empowering people through their failures.
The event features different speakers from city to city. The event at the Wharton Center featured many speakers associated with MSU.
Once the event got started again it showcased prominent speakers from different industries, including MSU Athletic Director Mark Hollis, a Detroit MC featured in the movie “Eight Mile” named Miz Korona and former Chief Correspondent to the House of Representatives Jacquise Purifoy, among others.
Hollis told the story of how when he was a child, his father left the family outside of Port Huron, Mich.
“As a child, I thought I had the perfect life,” he said. “One day I came home from school and my mother was crying. My dad had left.
“Instead of comforting her I ran away, I left,” he said. “I’ve been running ever since.”
Hollis used running away as a theme for his talk. He spoke about running out of choir practice when he was told he wasn’t a very good singer.
“As you go through the special events we’ve done at Michigan State there is always a fear of failure, and frankly I fail everyday,” he said. “Today we live in a world where we have a screen in front of our face, and we don’t take a moment to pause and realize what is important.”
Hollis became emotional midway through the talk.
“I haven’t been the best son, the best husband, the best father or the best athletic director,” he said holding back tears. “But I try everyday.”
Purifoy told her story about giving birth when she was a teenager without knowing she was pregnant.
“They rushed me to the back and I gave birth, to what I now know as my daughter,” she said. “I remember laying there really still, heart beating, and my mother rounded the curtain and all I saw was love, compassion and endearment.”
Purifoy went on start a business and work in Washington, D.C.
“I left that day feeling a failure,” she said. “But two months later I went to graduation holding my baby girl in my arms.”
The event also featured entertainment from several musical acts, including the Spartan Discords, Spartan beat poet Marianne Caddy, vocalist Josh Grounland and Miz Korona.