The 2021 Spartan Hall of Fame class was officially inducted at the Clara Bell Smith Athletic Center this afternoon to be eternally recognized for their achievements as student-athletes at Michigan State.
The 2021 class members are wrestler and Olympian Franklin Gomez (2006-10), runner Anthony Hamm (1987-1992), dual-sport standout Carol Hutchins (1976-1979), golfer Lynn Janson (1968-1970), women’s basketball all-time leading scorer Elizabeth (Shimek) Moeggenberg (2002-2006), field hockey All-American Floor Rijpma (2006-2009), wide receiver Charles Rogers (2001-2002) and hockey goalie Ron Scott (1980-1983).
The celebration brought the former standouts and their families together to celebrate their athletic accomplishments in the Green and White.
“When I got that call, it was so rewarding,” Hamm, a four-time All-American in cross country, said. “I remember all the hard work I put in as a student-athlete at Michigan State, and I feel like it's paid off, sort of the icing on the cake on a solid student-athlete career.”
The former athletes beamed with pride in their black-tie attire looking back fondly about their time in East Lansing. The induction was a trip down memory lane for many of them who had not been back in the area.
Gomez reminisced about times he spent in study rooms in South Campus with his former teammate Rex Kendle cramming for a biology exam. Hamm said he and his wife have been walking the same paths on the Red Cedar river when they first started dating when he was an undergraduate student and his wife was studying at MSU as a graduate student 30 years ago.
“It's just a lot of memories,” Gomez said. "A lot of great memories and memories of hard work and struggles too.”
For Janson, the first men's golfer inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame, the induction was the accomplishment of a lifelong dream. The East Lansing native grew up within "a drive and a 7-iron" from the athletics building on Center St., two houses down from Harrison Roadhouse and spent his entire childhood and college years at or around Michigan State. Janson, now 73 years old, wishes his parents were still around to be there today.
"My parents have been gone for a little while now, but I would have loved to have them see it," Janson said. "My dad graduated from Michigan State. I have two sisters that graduated from State, one brother, and another brother that attended State. I got two grandkids here going to school now and so that makes it really very special."
Not all of the inductees were there though to celebrate. Cathy Rogers, the mother of Charles Rogers, was there on behalf of her son to receive the plaque and be recognized on his behalf. Charles died in November of 2019.
She wore a button of Charles' team picture from his last season at MSU on the strap of her dress while talking about her son’s legacy. She let two of Charles’ friends, Jeremiah McLaurin and his cousin Ali Smith, who were there with her, talk about his legacy and impact at Michigan State while she listened and wiped tears from her eyes.
“As football players, we commit ourselves every day to what our legacy is gonna be so what Charles wanted to do is set the bar high,” McLaurin said, “He just wanted to play hard for his family, for his mom, his cousins. As a best friend, I just wanted to make him better and to reach our goals. I mean he'll be ecstatic for this honor. It couldn't be any sweeter.”
When asked what Charles would say if he were here at the ceremony, Smith gave a simple, “we made it, we made it baby.”
The answer forced a laugh from Cathy and McLaurin, lightening the mood of the remembrance of the late wide receiver. Cathy repeated him, “We made it. Yes.” with a smile across her face.
The celebration ended with a plaque ceremony to commemorate the inductees in the Hall of Fame room inside the Smith center before going to a celebration dinner.
The induction ceremony was a part of MSU Athletics’ annual “Celebrate” weekend, celebrating Michigan State athletics. The weekend included a Varsity Jacket Award Ceremony Thursday night. The Hall of Fame class will also be honored during the Michigan State v. Nebraska game Saturday night.
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