Above: MSU Basketball Coach Tom Izzo, MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows, Mary Guyer and Sparty.
Friends, neighbors and colleagues of the late Gordon Guyer came to celebrate his life at the dedication of a park that will bear his name in the Shaw Estates subdivision. Guyer, a dedicated public servant whose career included a one year term as president of MSU, was a long-time resident of the neighborhood.
Although Guyer’s tenure as MSU president was short he made two significant appointments during his time there. He recommended Tom Izzo to be the Men’s Basketball coach, and appointed Lou Anna K. Simon to be the acting Provost. In her brief speech honoring Guyer, Simon, who has been the President of MSU since 2005, urged neighborhood residents to use the park as a place to build relationships and connections, “Use it as a place to have genuine conversations about how we can all work together.”
Simon joked that Guyer held so many different public offices that they should have made a name plate backed with Velcro to make it easier to move around. In addition to being president of MSU, Guyer also held posts as the Director of the MSU Extension, and the Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Guyer’s son Dan spoke about growing up in Shaw Estates which only had two other houses in it when they moved into the neighborhood in 1964. He recalled his mother telling him that she once counted 63 pheasants in their backyard, and reminisced about a brief encounter with Martin Luther King Junior who had come to visit a friend. Other neighbors remembered Guyer as “Dr. Gordon” who was always smiling and always available to help identify insects. Guyer authored more than 70 papers while serving as the head of the MSU Department of Entomology.
The move to rename the park, formerly known as Shaw Tower Park, was started by neighborhood residents Kary Devereaux and Jill Young.