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West Michigan Alumni Club raises $250,000 for Secchia Center

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The West Michigan MSU Alumni Club takes pride in setting its sights high. And they are well-known for getting behind MSU initiatives.

 So with the announcement that MSU’s College of Human Medicine would open a campus in downtown Grand Rapids at the soon-to-be-completed Secchia Center, the club set a lofty target of contributing $250,000.
It started two years ago when, along with a pledge of $50,000 from the club’s treasury, the members committed to raising an additional $200,000 from the Spartan community in West Michigan, a goal they checked off their to-do list this past July.
“We had to stretch ourselves,” admitted Don Patten (Social Science/Teacher Education, ‘92), the club’s immediate past president. “But the community has embraced the project and MSU. The appreciation for having a world-class medical school in our backyard is phenomenal.”
Among the club’s fundraising strategies were “meet and greet” events hosted by club members at their homes and businesses, and a teacher campaign.
More than 2,000 members strong, the club has long served as a model and trend-setter for other alumni clubs. Many of the club’s signature events are emulated by others. For example, they founded the “Crying Towel” which brings together hundreds of Spartans, Wolverines and the Fighting Irish to commemorate the legendary 1966 Notre Dame football game that resulted in a 10-10 tie, with an annual roast and toast of the three universities. 
The club also created the Steve Smith Charity Challenge, an annual summer golf event now in its 11th year, that recently attracted over 400 Spartans and raised more than $100,000 for MSU scholarships, the Secchia Center and the Grand Rapids Public Schools Student Advancement Foundation. 
In recent years, the club has contributed substantially to the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center, a Steve Smith student scholarship and the Sparty Statue restoration project.
“We are immensely pleased to have the partnership of the West Michigan MSU Alumni Club,” noted Bob Groves, MSU vice president for University Advancement. “The club’s level of support and involvement with the university, the range of activities, and their connections to their community are invaluable to MSU and the greater Grand Rapids area. They stand as a top model and we are grateful for their significant contributions.”
The Secchia Center is an innovative state-of-the-art facility named in honor of lead donors Ambassador Peter and Joan Secchia. The MSU College of Human Medicine welcomed its first class of second-year students to temporary facilities in Grand Rapids last fall. In the fall of 2010, the Secchia Center will open in the downtown area.
For more information about making a gift to the Secchia Center, contact Senior Director of Advancement Susan Lane at (616) 234-2614. For more information about the West Michigan MSU Alumni Club visit