MSU Professor Talks About Life as a Spartan

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Professor Gipson-Tansil instructing a student on a paint exercise on acceptance.

Professor LaVelle Gipson-Tansil was traveling with her parents and watched as they fought for racial equality during the civil rights moments. She recalls the bus rides and the meetings taking place in her home.

She decided to leave Southern California and go to school at MSU in the early 1970s. She did not receive a warm welcome from her roommate.

“I can not live with a black person,” Gipson-Tansil remembers her roommate saying.

She spent her freshman year without a roommate but this did not deter her drive to become a professor at MSU and striving to teach her Human Development and Family Studies students how to “celebrate differences.”

Although the civil rights movements of the past are over Gipson-Tansil says that there is still work left to be done to ensure a brighter future paved with equality for all people.

“Change is slow and without tending to it, without paying attention to it, without working hard at it, things won’t change,” she said.

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