Bright and early on Friday, April 14, Tower Guard’s new class was welcomed outside the Beaumont Tower for their annual May’s Morning Sing induction ceremony. Sakari Wilcox, 2022-2023 Tower Guard Vice President, coordinated the event under the guidance of Tower Guard advisors Kristin Campbell, Ed Timke, Michael Jenkins and Anna Lehr. At the opening ceremony, Sakari Wilcox and Interim President Dr. Teresa Woodruff shared words of wisdom with new members. A performance by Capital Green A Cappella followed as the sun rose and the bell tower rang, with their rendition of the MSU Fight Song, highlighting the day's celebration.
Following tradition, May’s Morning Sing inductees are unaware of their acceptance into Tower Guard. So, it’s up to their roommates, friends and family to ensure they are at the ceremony by 6:00 a.m. They must get creative and think of an incentive to wake them up.
MSU Freshman Danielle Okeke had a slight suspicion when she was woken up early by her roommate and driven by her sister to the tower.
“It wasn’t a big surprise; it was more kind of random. I was like, “Ok, my sister’s here, I guess I will just go with them,” and I didn’t really know what to expect. I had a little suspicion because I was like, “Why is my roommate waking me up at 5:30 a.m.?” But I feel good about being inducted and am glad I got in,” Danielle Okeke said.
Danielle’s roommate, MSU Freshman Mia Simone, and her sister MSU senior Sarah Okeke coordinated how they would get Danielle to the Beaumont Tower.
“Mia texted me since they live together, so obviously she would be the one to wake her up, and she asked for help getting there since I have a car, so I was like, “Of course, yes,” Sarah Okeke said.
“Yeah, I was like, “How am I going to wake my roommate up at 5:30 a.m.?” and get her to the tower, a 30-minute walk from our dorm. Luckily, Sarah has a car, so we got Danielle here quickly, and we tried to keep it under wraps as much as we could, but we did have to tell her eventually because a 5:30 a.m. wake-up is a little startling,” Simone said.
RCPD Director Michael Hudson, Assistant Director Becca Wetzel, and Blindness Ability Access Specialist Tesia Freer welcomed new members to the RCPD team, along with special guests
Vice Provost Mark Largent, Senior Associate Provost Thomas Jeitschko, Assistant Dean Dr. Genyne Royal, and Trustees Kelly Tebay and Dianne Byrum who congratulated members.
MSU freshman Will Burns had no idea and went with the flow when his friends woke him up.
“I was hanging out at my buddy’s friend’s place, and I woke up early, and they were like, “Take a shower and change your clothes,” and so I did all that. Then we hopped in this guy's car. He drove us down the street and said, “Get out, they'll tell you where to go,” so I had no idea, and then I walked up, and my parents were here. So, I just went with the flow and figured it was important if they were going to wake me up so early. I had zero suspicion,” Burns said.
MSU freshman Elliot Riegler woke Will up and was happy to help as he knew it was important to Will.
“We woke him up around 5:55 a.m., had to get him out of bed, and couldn't tell him why. It was an interesting situation. He was like, “What are you guys doing? And why are you getting me up at 5:55 in the morning.” He's my guy, so I had to get him out here, and obviously, this is important to him, so I wanted to get up this early,” Riegler said.
80 members were selected to be part of this year's class out of the nearly 1,200 invited to apply.
MSU freshman Sarah Coyne woke up confused and didn’t know what she had woken up for until she saw the Beaumont Tower.
“I didn't know about it. My friends walked into my room and woke me up at 6:00 am. I was really confused, and they didn't tell me at all, and then I found out when I got over here. When I walked in, I knew it was for Tower Guard,” Coyne said.
MSU sophomore Madison Foster made sure the ceremony was kept a secret from Sarah by planning with her friends in a separate group chat.
“We made a group chat with all our friends when I first got the call that Sarah was in Tower Guard. At first, we didn't hear that it was at 6:00 a.m., so we were like, “Oh, we could go eat lunch somewhere over here before going and maybe like try to convince her to just go for a walk,” and then I heard that it was in the morning so I knew that we had to do a little more planning. But luckily, I am her suitemate, so I went and got the car, and then we went through my room to wake her up. To keep it a surprise, we didn't talk about it out loud; we only talked about it in a group chat that Sarah wasn’t in,” Foster said.
During the reception at the Marriott Hotel in East Lansing, inductees and family members enjoyed a complimentary breakfast as Tower Guard advisors Kristin Campbell and Ed Timke gave profound speeches along with Emily Willerick, 2022-2023 Tower Guard President. They congratulated the new class and shared memories of their time in Tower Guard.
Ending the ceremony Agrim Gupta, 2022-2023 Tower Guard Historian, shared a video recapping what the previous Tower Guard class accomplished and the memories created.
At the candlelight ceremony later that afternoon, the new Tower Guard class read the Four Corners of Tower Guard and recited the Tower Guard Pledge. They had their first member meeting after in Bessey Hall and celebrated with a cake and refreshments. The class is filled with skilled and committed students who will work to make campus more accessible, inclusive and equitable. Welcome, Tower Guard class of 2023-2024, and thank you for your commitment to the RCPD!
Click the link below to view the recording of this year’s May’s Morning Sing induction ceremony: https://youtu.be/3dOwEFTUcqg