Last of the Romans

Andrew Crocker did not attend his commencement exercises at Michigan State University in East Lansing on May 2.  He was home dealing with family matters.  So he missed the awarding of two honorary doctorates.  Shirley Weis, a graduate of MSU’s College of Nursing, received a doctorate of science as the first woman and first nonphysician to serve as CAO of the Mayo Clinic.  Azim Primji, a graduate of Stanford’s Engineering School, turned his family business, West Indian Vegetable Products, into the international IT company Wipro Ltd., and works with MSU to promote education and technical training in India.  For this, he garnered a doctorate in humane letters.

Andrew Crocker’s graduation was noteworthy because he was MSU’s last classics major.  MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon did not address the suspension of the classics major explicitly, but her opening remarks were relevant: “During your time as undergraduates, Michigan State University has boldly recast its land grant mission to meet new challenges and opportunities and to innovate our future.”  This bold recasting entailed inter alia suspending classics, American studies, and retailing.  (The Department of Advertising and Public Relations still teaches retailing courses.)  Among targeted departments, geological science and the veterinary technology program were reprieved.  Do you see a...

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