Title

Exhibit - Forest H. Akers: Not Just a Clever Name for a Golf Course

The name Forest Akers is a familiar one at Michigan State University. It can be found on two golf courses on Harrison Road and on a residence hall not far from the MSU Archives and Historical Collections. But few are familiar with the man behind the clever name.



Forest H. Akers attended MSU (then called Michigan Agricultural College) from 1905 to 1908. Akers was the star pitcher of the M.A.C. Aggies baseball team. During his time at the college, Akers was a well known prankster. He majored in forestry until he was asked to leave M.A.C. in 1908 due to his poor academic performance and trouble-making. After his departure, Akers worked his way up the corporate ladder and became Vice President of Chrysler Corporation’s Dodge Division in 1938. Around that same time Akers decided to give back to his alma mater. He received the Republican nomination to run for the State Board of Agriculture, Michigan State’s governing board, because, according to Akers, “nobody else wanted it.” He won and served on the Board for 18 years. Akers was a generous benefactor of MSU who donated money and property for the construction of two golf courses, established two scholarships for athletes and those involved in athletics, and gave money to students who encountered financial difficulties. Later in his life Akers was asked if he would support the college administration’s decision to expel a student who comported himself like Akers had as an Aggie. Akers replied “They were never, in all their history, more right.”



Timeline of Forest Akers' Life

1886, December 31: Akers was born on a farm near Williamston, MI

1905: Graduates from Williamston HS, where he was class president

1905: Freshman year at MAC

1908, April: asked to leave MAC

Circa 1908: works as a salesman for Oliver Chilled Plow Works for $60 a month

Circa 1910: works for the Ohio Rake Company out of Dayton, OH.

1914: Salesman, Reo Motor Car Company, Lansing, MI

1917: promoted to Reo Sales Manager

1917, December 29: marries Alice Rockwell

1920: leaves Reo for Chrysler Corporation’s Dodge Division

1930: promoted to manager of Dodge’s Detroit region

1938: promoted to Vice President of Dodge Division

1939: Elected to the State Board of Agriculture (now known as the Board of Trustees).  Serves from 1939 to 1957

1947: Retires from Chrysler/Dodge

1947: Establishes the Forest Akers Scholarship

Post-retirement: becomes President of the Dependable Insurance Corporation of Jacksonville, Florida

1958: named Trustee Emeritus of MSU

1958: Awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by MSU

1958: the first Forest Akers Golf Course is completed

1962, November 29:  his wife, Alice, dies

1963: New residence hall at MSU is named in honor of Forest and Alice Akers

1966: Second Forest Akers Golf Course opens

1966, December 8: Forest Akers dies



Exhibit created by Megan Badgley, June 2010. University Archives and Historical Collections

Related Objects

A. Photograph of a young Forest Akers
A. Photograph of a young Forest Akers
Date: 1890-1899
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
B. M.A.C. Baseball Team
B. M.A.C. Baseball Team
Date: 1900-1909
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
C. Letter from M.A.C. President Jonathan Snyder to G. W. Akers
C. Letter from M.A.C. President Jonathan Snyder to G. W. Akers
April 3, 1908
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
D. Front of a postcard sent to Alice Rockwell from Forest Akers
D. Front of a postcard sent to Alice Rockwell from Forest Akers
1909
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
E. Postcard sent by Akers to Alice Rockwell
E. Postcard sent by Akers to Alice Rockwell
1909
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
F. Photograph of Forest Akers
F. Photograph of Forest Akers
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
G. Alice Akers, 1922
G. Alice Akers, 1922
December 1922
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
H. Pages from a Forest Akers scrapbook.
H. Pages from a Forest Akers scrapbook.
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
I. Forest Akers, 1945
I. Forest Akers, 1945
1945
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
J. Forest Akers and "Biggie" Munn pose next to the plaque at the Forest Akers Golf Course K. Akers with Brewer Award recipient Sonny Grandelius.
K. Akers with Brewer Award recipient Sonny Grandelius.
Date: 1950-1959
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
L. Alice and Forest Akers in Panama
L. Alice and Forest Akers in Panama
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
The Short Happy College Career of Forest Akers
The Short Happy College Career of Forest Akers
Date: 1940-1949
Text: pdf
MSU Archives and Historical Collections