Two institutions, who are rivals, come together each year on the eve of the Michigan vs. Michigan State Football game to honor one great person, Alex Powell, and for one great cause—Alex’s Great State Race (AGSR). Since 2014, ROTC cadets from both MSU and U of M have joined together to run 64-miles from East Lansing to Ann Arbor and present the home team with the game ball for the rivalry football game.
The impact of this race goes beyond a rivalry. It serves to honor the legacy of Alex Powell and the positive impacts both Michigan State and U of M had on Alex. At Michigan State, Alex worked with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to provide him with accommodations he needed to pursue his education as an MSU student and he received treatments at U of M for his cancer diagnosis that he ultimately passed from in 2011. Both institutions proved there is no rivalry between them when it comes to providing the best care for one of their own. This race, “celebrates the resources that kind of helped him along the way to give him the education he had,” Vincent Motowski, Michigan State University, ROTC cadet said.
Alex’s Great State Race was created to honor the legacy of Alex by providing scholarships to those with disabilities at both universities. Juliana Powell, Alex’s mother, shared, “Since the beginning of the inception of the event, we have been able to endow two fully funded scholarships at both universities.” And with each year’s race, funds are raised to continually give back.
Though having to take a few years off due to the pandemic, AGSR was back in-person in October 2022 and the turnout was nothing short of amazing! Over 30 ROTC cadets from both the Spartan and Wolverine battalion put their differences aside to run in it and a group of students with disabilities joined the cadets to run the last five miles of the race. A crowd of bystanders followed the journey and cheered them on. The race began at Demonstration Hall on MSU’s campus where the runners were presented with the official game ball and ended at U of M’s Angell Hall in Ann Arbor.
To learn more about Alex Powell and AGSR, visit alexsgreatstaterace.org