|DUANE VERNON - MSU Varsity 'S' Clarence 'Biggie' Munn Winner - 2013|
When it comes to Michigan State sports fans, nobody is in Duane Vernon’s league. A member of both the Greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame and Sports Illustrated America’s Sports Fans Hall of Fame and involved in virtually every MSU sports related activity, Mr. Vernon’s blood runs green and white and his heart is solid Spartan.
Mr. Vernon’s passion for Michigan State University started as a student in business administration. Graduating in 1953, Vernon has continued his support of the university, serving in many leadership roles advancing the athletics and alumni programs. He has served as a Past President of the Downtown Coaches Club of Greater Lansing and awarded an honorary life membership in the club, was national chairperson o f the first combined U.S. Jaycees International Junior Boys and Girls Tennis Championships held at MSU in 1961, was chairperson of both the 1979 and 2000 Parade of Champions for MSU’s NCAA Men’s Championship Basketball teams, and past president of the Greater Lansing Bull-Pen Club, a booster club for MSU and area high school baseball teams. He is a key part of the “Fans in the Stands” radio program before all Spartan Men’s home basketball games and is a co-host of “Spartan Tailgate Party” pre-game radio show on WJIM AM & FM.
Every August (this year 2013, August 10), the Vernon’s help the Mason-Oceana MSU Alumni Club throw a Spartan Tailgate Party in Pentwater. There are many MSU themed units including Sparty, MSU Cheerleaders, Athletic Coaches and many more! It’s a warm up to the real football season. In 2012 more than two thou-sand people turned out for the tailgate party and more than 25,000 watched the parade.
Mr. Vernon is the recipient of the Edward R. Vandervoort Memorial Award in 1978, presented by the Downtown Coaches Club of Greater Lansing, for outstanding contributions to athletics in the Greater Lansing Area, was elected to honorary membership in the MSU Varsity “S” Club in 1977, holds an honorary membership in the MSU Varsity Club since 1992, is a member of the MSU honorary Coaches Club, a former member of the MSU Ralph Young Fund Committee (now the Spartan Fund) and a member of MSU’s 100th Anniversary of Men’s Basketball Celebration Committee. Mr. Vernon is past president of the MSU Alumni Club of Mid-Michigan, the 2000th life member of the MSU Alumni Association, member of the MSU Presi-dent’s Club, and a charter member of the Beaumont Tower Society.
Mr. Vernon’s professional career and accomplishments are just as impressive. Mr. Vernon joined the Credit Bureau of Greater Lansing in 1959 as Director of Sales and Public Relations. He was named President, General Manager and Owner of the Bureau in 1974 and served in that capacity until 1982. The Bureau then became part of CBC Companies in Columbus, Ohio and Mr. Vernon served as General Manager of the Lansing operations until 1987 and since then has served as the Director of Public Relations and is a member of the Bureau’s Marketing Staff. Today the Bureau is rec-ognized as one of the largest in business volume and profit in the 52 Bureau CBC System.
Mr. Vernon has served as President of both the Associated Credit Bureaus of Michigan and the Retail Credit Grantors Association of Greater Lansing. In 1978, Mr. Vernon received the Associated Credit Bureaus of America “Gold Key Leadership Award” and the 1978 ACB “Executive Achievement Award”. He was selected “Boss of the Year” in 1985 by the Lansing Laureate Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association.
Mr. Vernon is also engaged with the local community. He is the 53rd recipi-ent of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award for 2000. He is a Past President of the Lansing Jaycees, Lansing Rotary Club (in 2012 received an award for 50 years of perfect attendance), and the Lansing Rotary Club Foundation, Lansing Volunteer Bureau, and Waverly School Windemere View PTO. He has been Chief of the Box “23” Club in Lansing, a support group for the Lansing Fire Department; four time, co-chairperson of the Friends of CATA millage group; past member of the Board of Directors for the Lansing Regional Chamber of Com-merce, Easter Seal Society of Mid-Michigan, Camp Highfields and the Chief Okemos Council Boy Scouts of America. He was actively involved in the Capital Area United Way and is a former member of the Sparrow Health System Board of Directors. He is a past Chairman of Sparrow Health System’s Community Advisory Committee and co-chair of the Coaches for Kids program. He was general chairperson and a founder of Michigan Parades into the 21st Century, an 11-year series of parades that began in 1990 and recognized communities, people and activities in the State of Michigan.
Mr. Vernon was born in Ithaca, MI and earned the rank of Eagle Scout at the age of fourteen. He was the first Eagle Scout in Ithaca’s history. He is also one of only 6 Distinguished Eagle Award recipients in the Greater Lansing Area. He was also a member of the Ithaca High Schools first State Championship Team in any sport-this being cross-country. He was also the first tennis letter winner in Ithaca High School history. He makes his home in Lansing and Pentwater, with his wife, Judy, and six grown children. He continues to model the exemplary values of Eagle Scouting in every area of his life.