Gala celebrates 90 years of Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics Program success

  • May 11, 2017
  • event, alumni
  • Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Research, Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics

People attending the BLD Program's 90th Anniversary Gala

More than 80 people from across the country attended the BLD Program's 90th Anniversary Gala.

More than 80 people from across the country attended MSU’s Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics Program 90th Anniversary Gala held at MSU’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center on April 29th.

Alumni of the program spent the day connecting with friends and colleagues, hearing from past directors and celebrating the accomplishments of a program that’s been active since 1926.

“We all came back because we have a familial love for the BLD program, what the program stands for and what BLD has done for us in our lives,” said Lindsey Wlosinski (’14), a senior technologist at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and the current State Society President. “One of the main things that guided my interest in the BLD program was how much you felt like you were part of a family.

“If I ever need any guidance, I can always reach out to the BLD faculty for assistance,” Wlosinski added. “The lab where I work is crazy, I love it, and I owe a lot of that love to BLD because they are the reason I am where I am today.”

John Gerlach, the current BLD program director, described the event as an opportunity “to bring colleagues and experiences back into the forefront of what people went through, what they did together and how they shaped their careers together.”

BLD alums Kathy Doig and husband, Ric Benson

BLD alums Kathy Doig and husband, Ric Benson, enjoy an afternoon of presentations celebrating the accomplishments of the BLD program over the past 90 years. Doig also served as BLD director from 2001-2008.

The gala began Saturday morning with a bus tour of campus and ended with recollections of six program directors before dinner.

Close ties between BLD faculty, students, and professionals were obvious as friends and colleagues shared stories of past collaborations and networked for the future.

Dan Edson (M.S. ’81) attended the event with his wife, Deb.

“Kathy Doig was my advisor and professor when I was in the program,” Edson said. “I was very fortunate to be a T.A. and to work on developing the first blood test for Legionnaires’ disease. Since then, I have used my education at Michigan State as a building block to work on quality assurance. Twenty-five years ago, I founded the American Proficiency Institute in my living room in Traverse City, Mich., which is now the largest quality assurance organization in the United States.

“I’ve stayed aligned with Michigan State and people in this program, because those were very formative years for me and the people here are tremendous," he added. "Deb and I have been very fortunate and we give back to the program in several ways.”

Doug King, (M.S., laboratory sciences, ’77) described how his education in the BLD community prepared him for his career.

“This program was really a stepping stone to 30 years of being involved in clinical laboratory sciences and clinical trials,” King said. “From here, besides faculty teaching at a number of universities, we set up our own cancer diagnostics laboratory in Indianapolis, where I was vice president of research. My master’s degree here with Barnett Rosenberg and working with cisplatin provided me with the background in needed. We grew the lab from four people to 250 people and, during that process, we were involved with more than 600 global clinical trials, all because of my work here at MSU.

“Events such as this are spectacular,” he added. “It’s great to see and visit with old friends.”

More recent graduates used the weekend to network with other professionals and find valuable resources for their own work. Kristina Martin (B.S., ’02; M.S., ’08), now the clinical pathology operations manager at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, was able to find speakers for future professional meetings and gained valuable insight from BLD alumni about how to manage the day-to-day flow of operations in a large lab.

“BLD focuses you to be able to do a job, develops leaders in the lab and encourages being part of professional societies beyond the classroom,” Martin said. “I would not have the job I do today if it weren’t for my graduate degree and MSU.”

Rosemary Brichta (medical technology, '82) strikes a pose with Sparty

BLD 90th Anniversary Gala attendee Rosemary Brichta (medical technology, '82) strikes a pose with Sparty during one of the gala activities.

"I’ve always enjoyed what I’ve done,” said Rosemarie Brichta, (medical technology, ’82) who flew in from Texas for the event. “I’ve worked at different hospitals, I’ve been in education in hospital-based programs, and I can’t say enough about this program. It creates this yearning to continually help people and to be in the healthcare field in whatever capacity you choose to be. It’s been very enriching to me.

“Celebrations like this are all about connections,” Brichta continued. “It’s about bringing alumni together and making young alumni feel their importance and how they need to come back home. You see the camaraderie; we all know what we went through to get our degrees and how hard we had to study and it’s wonderful to see where everybody’s been and where they’ve gone. You just never forget your time here at MSU.”

To hear more alumni and student stories around the BLD 90th Anniversary, visit https://bld.natsci.msu.edu/news-and-events/alumni-and-student-stories-90th-anniversary/.