Penny Wirsing Honored with Distinguished Alumni Award from MSU

FY19 SWE President Penny Wirsing reflects on her experience being honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University this past spring.
Penny Wirsing holding MSU distinguished alumni award

[Penny Wirsing presented with MSU’s Distinguished Alumni Award]

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was the second woman to ever receive the Claud R Erickson Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University’s College of Engineering. Betty Shanahan, SWE member and past SWE Executive Director was the first woman to receive the award from MSU in 2010, and it was Betty who nominated me to receive it in 2019.

There are two aspects of this award that are most significant to me.

The first is SWE, and the opportunities I’ve had within the organization to grow and to lead. I believe this award acknowledges, in large part, my accomplishments within SWE and as SWE President.

The second is Betty Shanahan. As a fellow Spartan (Go Green!) and mentor, she has always been such a huge supporter of me personally. That she took the effort to pursue my nomination for this prestigious award means so much to me and I am so very grateful. Thank you Betty!

To say that this is an honor is such a huge understatement. There are so many incredible, accomplished people who have graduated from Michigan State, and the list of people who have received this particular award in the past is truly impressive. I am in awe that I am now on that list.

I’m proud that I’ve been able to accomplish so much and give back in so many ways, and I think my story is a perfect example of MSU’s tag line, “Spartans Will“!

Photo of Penny Wirsing with her husband and her daughter
Penny Wirsing, center, with husband Rick and daughter Carrie