Michigan State University holding virtual ceremonies for fall 2020 graduates

EAST LANSING, MI — All commencement ceremonies at Michigan State University for fall 2020 graduates will be held virtually, the university announced Thursday.

More than 2,600 graduates will be recognized Dec. 18 and 19 at commencement ceremonies that will be streamed on the MSU commencement website, according to a university release. The names of graduates will be scrolled on the screens at the end of the ceremonies, the release said.

“I am incredibly proud of these students for not only completing their degrees but doing so under such difficult circumstances,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “It is fitting to have three highly accomplished alumni serving as our keynote speakers. They remind us of the impact we can have on the world as Spartans.”

Scheduling for spring 2021 commencement is currently being developed, according to the commencement website. Details will be posted in late January, according to the website.

Todd Penegor, president at CEO of The Wendy’s Co., will be the keynote speaker for the master’s degree ceremony at 10 a.m. Dec. 18, the release states. Penegor grew up in Iron Mountain, Michigan, and earned a bachelor of arts in accounting in 1987 and an MBA in finance in 1989 from MSU.

Princeton University professor Mara Tienda will address doctorate degree recipients at 2 p.m. Dec. 18. Tienda, a sociology and public affairs professor at Princeton, was a member of MSU’s Honors College and earned her bachelor of arts in Spanish from the university in 1972.

Draymond Green, a current member of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, will address the baccalaureate degree recipients at 10 a.m. Dec. 19, the release states. In his time at MSU, Green helped the Spartans earn two Final Four appearances and a Big Ten Tournament championship in 2012.

More information on the commencement ceremonies can be found here.


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Giving Tuesday fundraising nets Eastern Michigan University $1.2M

YPSILANTI, MI — Eastern Michigan University raised approximately $1.2 million during its Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign, officials announced Wednesday.

More than 1,300 supporters donated to a variety of scholarships, programs and services as part of EMU’s #GIVINGTRUEDAY campaign, according to a university news release. The university surpassed last year’s donations by about $400,000, the release states.

“We are a welcoming and caring campus, and that was profoundly evident on this remarkable and record-setting day,” said EMU President James Smith. “I am proud of how our faculty, staff, alumni and supporters responded to the challenge of helping fund many scholarships, programs, student organizations, and special initiatives at Eastern. It is truly inspiring.”

The campaign included several matching gift challenges, including a one-to-one match for gifts to the EMU Student Emergency Fund up to $20,000. EMU’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors contributed $20,000 to double the matching gift challenge, the release states.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Student Emergency Fund has helped more than 500 students in need, according to the release.

About 230 donors also contributed nearly $31,000 to WEMU, the university’s National Public Radio affiliate, exceeding its goal of $20,000.

More information on EMU’s Giving Tuesday efforts can be found here.


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Some Ann Arbor hotels offering winter semester rates to University of Michigan students

ANN ARBOR, MI — The University of Michigan has canceled housing contracts for the winter semester for all but a certain number of undergraduate students to limit the number of students on campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But there is another option students affected by this action will have.

Some hotels, such as the DoubleTree by Hilton Ann Arbor North, the Graduate Ann Arbor and the Ann Arbor Regent Hotel, are offering student rates for the winter semester.

All three are offering single- and double-occupancy rooms. Tyler Glombowski, a sales manager at the DoubleTree, said single rooms start at $1,500 plus tax per month, and double occupancy rooms are $2,000 per month plus tax.

Those rates tend to be a little bit more expensive than UM’s housing contracts because of housekeeping and extra amenities that students wouldn’t get in dorms, Glombowski said. It’s also a month-to-month contract, so if students wanted to move after one month, they are able to do so, Glombowski said.

Rooms at the DoubleTree include a microwave, refrigerator, desk, TV and Wi-Fi, as well as on-site laundry and fitness facilities. Officials are considering sectioning off two floors for students and having a dedicated meeting spaces where students could study and hang out, Glombowski said.

“The whole point of going to college is to get that college experience… so with our hotel and our proximity to campus, I think we’re in a great location,” Glombowski said.

Rooms at the Graduate Ann Arbor are about $100 per night on average, but rates could vary based on occupancy, cleaning frequency and other elements, according to Jason Nelson, general manager.

The Graduate has offered student rates in the past, and the hotel will be accommodating students next semester within the recommendations set by local and government health officials, Nelson said. More than a dozen Graduate hotel properties are offering similar options for students across the country, Nelson said.

“Our goal is to create a safe and distanced housing option for students who are familiar and comfortable with the Graduate Ann Arbor experience.,” Nelson said. “We are grateful to be able to provide safe and healthy spaces for students during what has been an incredibly difficult and non-traditional school year for all.”

The Ann Arbor Regent is also offering single and double occupancy rooms that include breakfast and free parking, according to Kathy Hitchings, director of sales and marketing. The Regent declined to provide information regarding the cost of rooms.

UM was not aware that hotels are offering rooms to students and does not support the effort, according to UM spokesman Rick Fitzgerald. The university is encouraging students who can access their classes remotely to remain at their permanent residence next semester, Fitzgerald said.


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Join a discussion about education in Michigan during COVID-19

What does the 2020 election mean for the future of Michigan schools? 

a desk with a laptop computer sitting on top of a wooden chair: A classroom sits empty at the Cesar Chavez Academy High School in Detroit last March after the pandemic hit.

© Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press
A classroom sits empty at the Cesar Chavez Academy High School in Detroit last March after the pandemic hit.

Chalkbeat Detroit, the Education Trust-Midwest, and the Detroit Free Press are teaming up to host a conversation about the significance of the 2020 election at a time when the restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus will increase inequities in schools across the state. 


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“As our policymakers look toward the new year amid an unprecedented crisis that has exacerbated long-standing inequities, it’s critical that they maintain a focus on working toward equity and fairness in education,” said Amber Arellano, executive director for the Education Trust-Midwest, a Royal Oak-based education research and advocacy organization.

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“Already, the wide opportunity gaps between Michigan’s students are expected to worsen, impacting urban and rural students. Having a diverse set of voices from across the aisle discussing the challenges and working toward solutions is more important than ever,” Arellano said.

Chalkbeat Detroit’s Koby Levin and the Detroit Free Press’ Nancy Kaffer will moderate the conversation. Panelists are:

  • Rep. Brad Paquette, a Republican from Niles who serves as the vice chair of the House Education Committee.
  • Rep. Darrin Camilleri, a Democrat from Brownstown Township who serves as the minority vice chair of the House Education Committee.
  • Ama Russell, a senior at Cass Technical High School and a Detroit youth activist.
  • Cara Lougheed, an educator in Rochester Hills and the 2019 Michigan Teacher of the Year.
  • Michael Hutson, a parent and member of the Michigan League for Public Policy. 

Before the event, Ife Martin, a junior at West Bloomfield High School who’s a spoken word artist with Inside Out Literary Arts, will perform. 

Expect to hear a discussion about how schools are coping with pandemic learning, equitable education funding, missing students, accountability during COVID-19, and the long-term effects of the pandemic.

The conversation takes place at 4 p.m. Dec. 7. Register for it here. 

More: Tracking coronavirus outbreaks in Michigan schools

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Join a discussion about education in Michigan during COVID-19

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College roundup: Michigan football on pause, game against Maryland canceled

Michigan’s football game this weekend against Maryland has been canceled, and the Wolverines are pausing practice until Monday.

Michigan says the decision to pause in-person football activities was made in consultation with medical professionals. The team did not meet in person the previous two days after Coach Jim Harbaugh said there had been an increased number of presumptive positive COVID-19 tests.

“The decision by our medical professionals to stop practices and cancel this Saturday’s game against Maryland was made with the health, safety and welfare of the student-athletes, coaches and staff as our utmost priority,” Athletic Director Warde Manuel said. “We have seen an increase in the number of student-athletes unavailable to compete due to positive tests and associated contact tracing due to our most recent antigen and PCR testing results.”

Michigan is 0-3 at home this season, and the Maryland game was the last scheduled home game. The Wolverines are scheduled to play at rival Ohio State on Dec. 12.

Manuel strongly rebuked any notion that the Wolverines would try to avoid facing Ohio State, calling the notion “ridiculous” and infuriating in a scathing statement that came after a comment by ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, a former Ohio State quarterback. A cancellation would make Ohio State (4-0) ineligible to play in the Big Ten championship game because it wouldn’t reach the minimum number for six games.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Manuel said. “I have to pause because my words, the anger – I was infuriated by the insinuation that Michigan would do anything other than play a football game. We’ve been playing this game since 1879 – 1879 – and we’re the winningest program for a reason. Because we play whoever’s in front of us. And the only way we want to keep anybody from moving on is to beat them on the fields of play. And to insinuate that, to say something other than that, is a statement by a fool.”

MISSISSIPPI HAS suspended team activities during its open date.

Coach Lane Kiffin said positive COVID-19 test results came back Wednesday morning. He said the team would wait on results from Wednesday’s retesting and could return to the practice field after as little as a one-day hiatus.

KENT STATE’S football game at Miami (Ohio) scheduled for Saturday has been canceled because of positive COVID-19 tests.

The Mid-American Conference issued a statement saying the game has been declared a no contest.


(17) TEXAS 69, (14) NORTH CAROLINA 67: Matt Coleman III hit a stepback jumper with 0.1 seconds left, and the Longhorns (4-0) beat the Tar Heels (3-1) in the championship game of the relocated Maui Invitational in Asheville, North Carolina.

Coleman finished with 22 points and was the tournament’s most valuable player for the Longhorns, who blew a 16-point lead late in the first half and fell behind with about 2½ minutes left.

(1) GONZAGA 87, (11) WEST VIRGINIA 82: Joel Ayayi matched his career high with 21 points, and the Bulldogs (3-0) rallied to beat

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2-year, on-campus living requirement back at Michigan State University

EAST LANSING, MI — Michigan State University has reinstated a two-year, on-campus living requirement that has been waived since the 1980s.

Currently, first-year students are required to live on campus for their first academic year, but beginning with students who start at MSU in fall 2021, they will be required to live on campus for two years, according to a university news release.

Students who transfer to MSU will continue to be required to live on campus unless they meet the exception criteria, officials said.

During the last several years, university administrators have examined success outcomes of undergraduate students living on and off campus, the release states. Undergraduates who live on campus for their first two years at MSU have a 2.5% better chance of graduating than those who live on campus only in their first year, according to an analysis by MSU’s Office of Institutional Research.

“We continue to work closely with academic partners on bringing living-learning communities and classes into the halls, as well as with campus partners to bring diverse, quality educational opportunities into our spaces,” said Ray Gasser, executive director of Residence Education and Housing Services. “I look forward to refining and expanding our efforts with first- and second-year students to support their Spartan success.”

MSU’s occupancy capacity is 18,203, per the release, and it’s estimated the number of first and second-year students living on campus would be around 16,000. MSU spokesperson Dan Olsen said the university won’t see an impact until fall 2022 when the fall 2021 freshmen are sophomores.

Students who are enrolled now or enroll next semester are not impacted by the decision, Olsen said.

MSU has invested in several other student success initiatives in the last decade, including encouraging students to take 15 credits or more each semester and its Neighborhoods model, which supports undergraduates in their development of social, cultural and intellectual abilities. In the last five years, graduation rates at MSU have increased from 77% to 81%, according to the release.

“Now more than ever, it is imperative that we, as an institution, act in ways that support our students and their success at (MSU),” said Vennie Gore, senior vice president for auxiliary enterprises. “Reinstating the second-year live-on requirement will help us better equip our students with the tools they need, while in a supportive and safe environment, to help them succeed.”

Exception criteria for second-year students is being finalized, according to the university.

Existing exceptions for first-year students include married students, students with dependents, veterans with one or more years of active service, students who will be 20 years old by the first day of classes of fall semester of the current academic year, students living with a parent or guardian within 40 miles of campus, and students taking six or fewer semester credits and who live locally.

More information on the on-campus living requirement can be found here.


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Michigan State University to require students to live 2 years on campus

EAST LANSING — Undergraduates at Michigan State University will be required to live on campus a second year as part of efforts to help students toward graduating.

A two-year living requirement waived since the 1980s will be reinstated next fall, according to the school.

An analysis by Michigan State’s Office of Institutional Research shows undergraduates who live on the East Lansing campus their first two years have graduation rates about 2.5 percentage points higher than those who live on campus only their first year.

The difference is nearly 10 percentage points for some underserved student groups, the school said.

“Reinstating the second-year live-on requirement will help us better equip our students with the tools they need, while in a supportive and safe environment, to help them succeed,” Vennie Gore, senior vice president for Auxiliary Enterprises at Michigan State, said in a release.

The change is also a response to rental policies in East Lansing, Kat Cooper, chief communications officer for MSU’s residential operation, said in an email to Crain’s. Rental companies have been pressuring students to sign leases as early as a year in advance.

Cooper said around half of the university’s sophomores already choose to live on campus.

“While this will generate more revenue in the residence halls and dining program, it’s not as big of a change as may be perceived,” she said “… Instead, it will provide a smoothing of our revenue model, allowing us to plan further out and continue the significant reinvestment in our resident and dining halls that has occurred over the last decade, with over half a billion dollars in construction or renovation to these spaces.”

Incoming students currently are required to spend their first academic year, which is made up of their first two semesters, on campus. Students living in residence halls now and the current 2020 incoming class will be exempt from the change.

Students who transfer to Michigan State will be required to live on campus unless they meet the exception criteria.

Universities around the state have been hard hit financially by the coronavirus pandemic, with the vast majority of students living off campus while taking classes online. Room and board costs about $10,000 per school year.

— Crain’s Detroit Business contributed to this report

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Is Michigan really gearing up to take a dive so Ohio State can’t make the College Football Playoff? | This is the Loop

Something fishy is brewing over in the Big Ten. On Tuesday night, during ESPN’s weekly College Football Playoff rankings show, former Ohio State Buckeyes signal caller Kirk Herbstreit casually floated this little theory mid-conversation . . .

Nothing in the world of COVID and college football is casual, however, and soon the statement spread like wildfire. Herbie, being the pro’s pro that he is, quickly took to Twitter to douse the flames, but the seed was planted.

Then Wednesday afternoon, right on schedule, Michigan announced it would be pausing football activities due to COVID-19 “concerns” ahead of Saturday’s game against Maryland. Suddenly Herbie’s words came rushing back. Does he know something we don’t? Michigan wouldn’t really . . . would they?

What we’re talking about here would be unprecedented. Taking a dive. Throwing the game. Waving the white flag. The Buckeyes, who have already had games against Maryland and Illinois cancelled and are planning to play Michigan State on Saturday without head coach Ryan Day, would be ineligible for the Big Ten Championship game if they are forced to cancel a third game. And if they cancel a third game, don’t play in the Big Ten Championship game, and finish the season with a record of 5-0, their best win coming against Indiana by a touchdown at home, are they really making the College Football Playoff ahead of a potential one-loss Florida or Texas A&M or an undefeated Cincinnati? Hell no they aren’t. Not even in 2020.

We’re not saying this is what the Wolverines are setting up here, but we’re not not saying it either. Where’s there’s smoke, there’s usually fire, and we know nobody loves to blow smoke quite like the Ann Arbor faithful. But let’s not jump to conclusions just yet. Let’s wait and see how the movers shake and the shakers move. One thing is certain, however: Should this happen—should Michigan take the dive and effectively end Ohio State’s season—then Harbaugh deserves that elusive W he’s been searching for.

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Free education for essential workers in Michigan is expanding into a pathway toward a four-year degree

The opportunity for essential workers in Michigan to earn a tuition-free degree during the coronavirus pandemic has just expanded.

a bridge over a body of water: A partnership with Eastern Michigan University and Henry Ford College offers a pathway for essential workers in Michigan during the coronavirus pandemic to earn a degree tuition-free.

© David Jesse/Detroit Free Press/USA Today Network
A partnership with Eastern Michigan University and Henry Ford College offers a pathway for essential workers in Michigan during the coronavirus pandemic to earn a degree tuition-free.

Eastern Michigan University and Henry Ford College announced a partnership on Wednesday that provides an affordable path toward a four-year degree to frontline workers amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a press release.


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Through the partnership, frontline workers who complete an associate degree at HFC and pursue a bachelor’s degree at EMU will be offered a scholarship at the university.

“Our frontline workers put themselves at risk to serve Michigan citizens during a pandemic. Now we are putting them at the forefront by supporting their futures,” said HFC President Russ Kavalhuna. “This new partnership between Henry Ford College and Eastern Michigan University is an exciting opportunity for frontliners to extend their education even further. It will maximize their investment in themselves as they seek new or advanced careers.”

The collaboration is the first of its kind and extends HFC’s participation in Michigan’s “Future for Frontliners” program that offers scholarships to essentials workers without an associate or bachelor’s degree to earn one at no cost from a local community college, according to a release.

“Michigan’s frontline workers have worked tirelessly around the clock for months to maintain essential services and to keep our communities safe,” Eastern Michigan University President James Smith said in a statement. “This new scholarship initiative is an extension of the excellent collaboration we have had with Henry Ford College for many years and provides a new opportunity to reward frontline workers by creating an affordable path to a college degree.”

The “Futures for Frontliners” program, first announced in April, was inspired by the federal government’s support of soldiers returning from World War II by providing them with educational opportunities, according to a press release issued by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office earlier this year.

Those eligible for the “Future for Frontliners” scholarship program include: those working in hospitals or nursing homes, grocery store employees, child care workers, sanitation workers and those who deliver supplies.

The EMU scholarship offered through the partnership is available to new students who enroll at university.

“This is great news for the hundreds of thousands of brave men and women who have been serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s good news for our economy,” Whitmer said in a statement on Wednesday.

“From the beginning, creating paths to prosperity for more Michiganders has been a top priority for my administration. I’m proud that our state has developed a way to give back to the Michiganders who have been working around the clock to protect us, and I am grateful for this partnership between Henry Ford College and Eastern Michigan University to help more people get on a path to opportunity.”

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College football picks, predictions, odds for Week 14: Ohio State vs. Michigan State among the best bets


This season is unlike anything we have ever experienced. Computer simulations — if that’s your thing — mean nothing with only a smattering of nonconference games between FBS schools scheduled and four of the leagues not playing any at all. Nevertheless, we’ve been working with our resources.

Each week, I use this space to tell you what I think are a few of the best bets heading into the weekend. I also throw in an upset of the week, which will feature a team that is at least a touchdown underdog that I am picking to win outright. I also give you picks on other games involving teams in College Football Playoff contention.

Last week I was 3-0 on the picks, and the upset special covered as well but lost outright. The picks are 13-13 for the season. The upset missed, so those picks are now 4-5 outright and 6-3 ATS. 

Week 14 picks

No. 3 Clemson at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech has not been the same since the loss to Liberty. The Hokies had that game won and messed it up at the end. Clemson will be looking to keep the momentum going from last week’s thrashing of Pitt and clinch a spot in the ACC Championship Game. Pick: Clemson (-22)

No. 4 Ohio State at Michigan State 

Latest Odds:


The Buckeyes look like they will be able to play this game after sitting idle last week due to a COVID-19 outbreak but resuming team activities on Tuesday. They need to not just play, but win big in order to ease the minds of an increasingly skeptical College Football Playoff selection committee. That may not be easy against a Spartan team coming off an upset of Northwestern last week. Pick: Ohio State (-23.5)

Liberty at No. 18 Coastal Carolina

Latest Odds:


It’s been a terrific year for the Sun Belt, and Coastal Carolina is a big part of the reason. The Chanticleers opened the season with a win at Kansas and have beaten everyone it their path, including a win over former Sun Belt king Appalachian State. There are a lot of distractions this week, though, and 9-1 Liberty is an outstanding team as well. The Flames are a last-second blocked field goal from being undefeated also. Pick: Liberty (+8.5)

Upset of the week

Penn State at Rutgers

Look, I know it’s exciting that Penn State finally won a game. The Nittany Lions picked up their first win of the season last week at Michigan. Still, I fail to see how PSU can be a double-digit favorite against anyone, let alone a very feisty Rutgers squad. Greg Schiano’s bunch is not the doormat we are used to seeing out of the Scarlet Knights. Pick: Rutgers (+11.5)

Other CFP candidates

Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 14? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned over $3,500

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