Faculty reflect on experiences at MSU, U of M
Sure, you've seen "A House Divided" merchandise that families split between Spartan and Wolverine loyalties can purchase. But certainly, there's no such thing as a person divided, right?
Wrong. Plenty of MSU faculty have turned their University of Michigan education into a paycheck from a university they once despised. Stephen Sinas, a lecturer with the MSU College of Law, repped the maize and blue as an undergrad before coming to MSU to teach a class on Michigan's no-fault insurance law.
"(The University of Michigan) provided me obviously with a good education and it was a good experience throughout that time in my life," Sinas said. "Michigan holds a dear place in my heart. On game day, I don't root for Michigan State, but I'd like to see both universities succeed on the field."
Although he holds no loyalty to the school he works for, the attorney and educator thinks both schools should have a mutual respect for each other academically no matter which team you cheer for on the gridiron.
"I know in sports we have to root for our teams and it's really hard ... for Michigan State fans to root for Michigan," Sinas said. "But I hope that everybody affiliated with either university can see that both schools are great schools and be proud of both of them."
It's scary enough to have Michigan alumni holding power over the minds of our student body. But even more egregiously, some former MSU faculty disowned Sparty, Zeke, and all that is holy, choosing to leave our campus and work for that school 60 miles to the southeast.
Former CommArts professor Cliff Lampe now works for the School of Information at U of M, a move he said was in his career's best interests. Although Ann Arbor does not have a chiseled bronze Spartan, a view of the state capitol building, or even one Conrad's, Lampe believes his new home is a better college town than East Lansing. He says this is because Ann Arbor and Michigan blend together better than MSU and the Lansing region.
"I think the biggest difference - and I've seen a lot of college campuses across the country - is that Ann Arbor and the university have integrated very closely," Lampe said.
Upon moving to Ann Arbor, Lampe chose to start wearing a gray sweatshirt on rivalry game days. Although he remains neutral, he still enjoys the rivalry and hopes that it can continue to be a friendly one.
It's not just professors who are okay shifting between rival campuses. Some former Wolverines have even snuck their way up the MSU ladder into positions of immense power. Leo Kempel, dean of the College of Engineering, received both his master's and doctoral degrees at Michigan, a fact that for some reason does not automatically disqualify you from becoming an MSU administrator.
Kempel claims there's no cause for alarm, however. The dean, who has worked at MSU for nearly two decades, said he prefers Michigan State more because Spartans are simply nicer than Wolverines.
"In general, I think the people in East Lansing are more friendly," Kempel said. "It is true that I think from the first-year student all the way through to the most senior faculty member, people here have more of a collaborative spirit."
For those converts to the green and white, the Sparty spell seems to be working its magic. Kempel said that before the Spartans take the field at the Big House, he'll be at a tailgate put on by UM's Office of Government Relations, rooting for an MSU victory.
"Of course we know it's going to be in MSU's hands," Kempel said. "Go Green."