A Conversation with George Johnson, new director of alumni engagement and community outreach for Spartan Athletics

George Johnson is the new director of alumni engagement and community outreach for Spartan Athletics. He joins Spartans Athletic Director Bill Beekman on this edition of MSU Today.

“We have about 15,000 former athletes who we represent,” says Johnson. “My job is connecting and engaging with them and making sure they feel welcome whenever they come back to MSU. And after they have left MSU, how can we extend an arm to them in their life journey? My job right now is working with all of our coaches and trying to find out how I can do a better job at connecting them with their former athletes and making sure that we are available to them. And I work in the community to see what we can do with our current student athletes to make sure we're engaging in our community.

“We have a lot of fans who support our programs, and we want to make sure we're connecting with them as well. So I'll be working closely with the Spartan Fund. I'll be working closely with all of our coaches. I'll be working actively in-house with our own current student athletes. And I’ll work with our devoted alumni clubs across the country.

“Our mission is to be there for our students when they're here, and we want to be connected with them when they leave the university and keep that relationship ongoing. 

“What makes you well-suited for this role,” asks Beekman?

“I had a chance to spend the last 30 plus years in corporate America working with six of the prominent employers in Michigan: Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Dow Chemical, Steelcase, Spectrum Health, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. And in my journey of working in all these places, I've been in human resources. I have certification in team building and working with teams and knowing how to help people reach their goals.

“The outreach of former Spartans reaching out to me asking how they can help has been amazing. We have a lot of individuals who care about this university and they all want to help. They all want to be involved. This has been a tough year, but people are looking forward to coming back. I'm just looking forward to that Saturday when we can just laugh, throw a football, and hopefully get a hamburger from somebody. That whole enthusiasm of coming back is what everyone's looking forward to and to supporting our current athletes. I walk across campus and I get to say, ‘I'm here at MSU. I'm more than just a fan now. I'm here at MSU.’ And then I ask how I can help. That's where my enthusiasm and passion and desire come from. I want to help.”

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