Kurt Kivisto, First Recipient of
The Joey M. Spano Varsity 'S' Club Graduate Endowed Fellowship
The MSU Varsity 'S' Club is pleased to name Kurt Kivisto as the first recipient of the Joey M. Spano Graduate Endowed Fellowship. Kivisto will be awarded $1,000 towards his graduate studies at Michigan State where he will pursue a Master’s of Science degree in Geotechnical Engineering. A three year letterwinner on the Spartan Ice Hockey team, Kurt graduated last December with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He will begin his graduate studies this May.
The Joey M. Spano Endowment was established in fall, 2008 by the Club to provide academic scholarships to Spartan letterwinners who wish to pursue an advanced degree at MSU. The endowment seeks to support talented former student-athletes who are MSU Varsity 'S' Club members in good standing, have completed their undergraduate studies with a GPA of 3.1 or higher and have demonstrated outstanding character and exceptional leadership through university and community involvement.
As a student-athlete and now as a graduate student, Kurt exemplifies the characteristics the Varsity 'S' Club seeks in its honorees. Kurt was a member of 2007 NCAA National Championship hockey team as well as the 2006 CCHA Tournament Championship team. During Kurt’s playing days, he won the Most Improved Player Award, was named to the Dean’s List in spring, 2006 and fall, 2007 and earned Academic All Big Ten honors in 2007 and 2008. He was honored at the Academic Gala in his sophomore, junior and senior years.
Kurt came to campus as a recruited walk-on who was promised no playing time and had to work hard to earn his place on the team. His playing time increased each year and by his senior year he was one of the team leaders providing encouragement and mentorship to the younger players.
Although the demands on Kurt academically and athletically were intense, he still found time to volunteer in community events such as Trick or Treat for Kids with Cancer and Jr. Spartan Tailgate. His outreach initiatives included the Spartan Buddy Program, Shoot for a Cure, Teams for Toys, Hike for Hospice andMarch is Reading Month to name a few. “Off the ice, I realized what I could do in the community because of my position as a collegiate athlete at MSU,” said Kurt. “As part of the Spartan Buddies program, I visited sick kids at Sparrow Hospital and was amazed what we could do to brighten their day with only a bit of conversation and a couple of autographs.”
Kurt Kivisto will be honored at the Varsity 'S' Club Golf Outing dinner on Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at Forest Akers as well as during our Reunion Weekend September 9-11, 2009.