New MSU band practice field named in honor of Akers, Eichler

Contact: Tom Oswald, Media Communications: (517) 432-0920, cell (517) 281-7129,

Apr 22, 2014

A newly constructed turf field and facilities used for practice by the Michigan State University Spartan Marching Band will be named to honor a former trustee of MSU as well as a long-time band family.

At its April 22 meeting, the MSU Board of Trustees voted to name the practice space the Forest Akers Trust Practice Complex and the Ed and Wanda Eichler Family Teaching Tower and Gallery.

The upgrade to the practice facilities, to be located at the southeast corner of Munn Field, will include a regulation-sized, artificial turf football field, as well as a two-level teaching tower and accessible bleacher seating for 500.

The band’s current practice field is located near Demonstration Hall. It is a grass field that often turned to mud or frozen ruts that impaired students’ ability to move with precision while reading music and increased the risk of serious injury.

The upgrades were made possible by a lead gift of $1 million from the Forest H. Akers Trust Fund, and a gift of $300,000 from the Eichlers.

The trust, named in honor of former MSU trustee Forest Akers, has been a long-time contributor to MSU. This recent gift brings its total commitment to the university to $10 million.

Edwin “Ed” and Wanda Eichler, the parents of three band alumni, have supported the MSU Spartan Marching Band for years, including generous donations to purchase new instruments.

The practice field also will be used by thousands of students each year who participate in kinesiology classes, intramural sports activities and athletic camps.

It’s anticipated the Spartan Marching Band will begin using the new facilities in the fall of 2014.