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EAST LANSING, Mich. – In a sports world dominated by corporate naming rights and individual honors, Michigan State University is taking the community approach.

MSU announced Friday, Aug. 1 that it has changed the name of its athletic development fund office from the Ralph Young Fund, named after long-time Athletics Director and Coach Ralph Young, to the Spartan Fund. The move is aimed at increasing visibility of the University’s athletic fund-raising effort to broaden participation in athletics to a wider range of Spartan faithful around the world.

“The Spartan Fund recognizes the growth in charitable giving to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics,” MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis said. “As we move forward and continue to serve our University community, Spartan Athletics increasingly relies on the generosity of its loyal donors who provide the needed support for our student-athletes through annual giving, capital gifts, planned gifts, endowments and growing forms of financial commitments. The Spartan Fund connects all Spartans who support our quest toward future academic and athletic accomplishments. We are one. We are united. We are Spartans!”

The Ralph Young Fund was established in 1956 in memory of the late athletics director as a means of channeling University gifts to underwrite athletic scholarships, erect facilities and develop competitive sports programs. Additionally, it served as a record for acknowledging alumni and friends of the University for their commitment and contributions to MSU athletics. The University said it will continue to honor Ralph Young through the athletics department’s general endowment fund, which is named after Young, and the Ralph Young Track, MSU’s outdoor track and field facility.

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The Spartan Fund continues in Ralph Young’s tradition of excellence as the single source of funding for MSU’s 25 athletic programs and supports more than 800 student-athletes each year.Â

MSU said the change reflects the athletic development team’s desire to broaden its reach globally and to also increase young alumni participation, so Spartan athletics can keep pace with an increasingly competitive Big Ten and Division I programs nationwide.Â

"The change to the Spartan Fund is symbolic of the evolution of our development operation,” MSU Senior Associate Athletics Director Chuck Sleeper said. “This exciting new direction will allow us to more effectively fulfill the mission of the athletics department. There will be no doubt about the purpose or identity of the Spartan Fund. We are thankful for Ralph Young and his tremendous legacy on MSU athletics – that will never change. At the same time, we look forward to emergence of the Spartan Fund because we know how important it is to the future of this storied athletic program.”

Sleeper said there will be no impact on day-to-day operations and there will be no changes in the status of current Ralph Young Fund supporters. Â

To learn more about the Spartan Fund, or to become a member, visit