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2007 World Finals

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May 16, 2007

Division of University Relations
403 Olds Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1047

Jennifer Veale, Odyssey of the Mind: (856) 456-7776, jennifer@odysseyofthemind.com
Kristin K. Anderson, University Relations: (517) 353-8819, ander284@msu.edu

MSU community busy preparing for 2007 Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

EAST LANSING, Mich. --- Michigan State University will host a record of more than 800 teams for the 2007 Odyssey of the Mind World Finals from Wednesday, May 23, to Saturday, May 26.

Odyssey of the Mind, or OotM, is a creative problem-solving competition for students of all ages. They select a problem, create a solution and present the solution before a panel of judges. Individuals competing at MSU have won their state and/or national competitions. This year's World Finals won't include any six-year-olds, but there will be some 60s-plus competitors.

Events will take place throughout campus, including the Jack Breslin Student Events Center, Wharton Center for Performing Arts, Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, MSU Union, IM West Sports Arena, MSU Auditorium, Jenison Field House and Brody Auditorium. Teams will have homes away from home in just about every residence hall on campus.

"MSU has a strong tradition of international outreach and engagement," said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. "This is a very special occasion for all participants, schools and families. The beauty of our campus in May and the extraordinary sprit of Team MSU will make this a memorable experience for all our guests."

MSU has a thorough understanding of what it means to compete in an Odyssey of the Mind challenge.

While competition problem solvers may have only a few minutes to figure out how to get around the world in eight minutes, build structures to fit in a box smaller than the actual structures, or reveal true natures of self-centered individuals, the MSU community has been working for more than three years to ensure some of the best and brightest young minds from around the world have an enhanced learning experience.

MSU's hosting of the event is the result of efforts of numerous faculty, staff and alumni. More than 45 individuals from campus, Lansing and East Lansing and area service organizations serve on the planning committee.

"Odyssey of the Mind is all about the spirit of camaraderie as well as the spirit of competition," said Tony Birkmeier, a substitute teacher in the Greater Lansing area, and a 2005 alum of MSU who was involved with OotM while in college. "Participants learn to enhance their creative and teamwork skills, but credit also goes to the coaches, judges and families who give of their time. They are a very dedicated group of volunteers."

Competitors, using only their ideas and skills, have spent countless hours perfecting their solutions. It will be the unexpected and spontaneous problems they encounter in competition here that will provide them with the ultimate test of their creative abilities. In addition to bringing their creative and innovative skills, competitors will bring parents, grandparents, siblings, coaches, judges and friends. The students are already shipping the necessary equipment for their projects.

Odyssey of the Mind was created by C. Samuel "Sam" Micklus, professor emeritus at Rowan University, Glassboro, N.J., in 1978. Micklus' wife, Carole Micklus, is the World Finals tournament director. Sam Micklus continues to develop problems for the program, along with his son, Sammy, president of Creative Competitions Inc., which organizes the competition.

Sammy Micklus, who also serves as the Odyssey of the Mind program director, said he and his family are excited to see the World Finals return to Michigan.

"It has been 20 years since the World Finals were last held in Michigan, when it was held at Central Michigan University," he said. "MSU offers a top-flight education and Odyssey of the Mind offers a first-rate educational experience."

"This will be an overwhelming event. We have one of the greatest problem sponsors, NASA, the greatest 425 officials who volunteer their time, and the greatest teams and coaches," said Sam Micklus. "Watching teams applauding their opponents has to be one of the world's greatest treasures.

"With all of this greatness, it's only logical that this event be held at one of the premier institutions of higher education, not only in the United States, but in the entire world -- Michigan State University."

For schedules of events during the 2007 World Finals, or additional information about Odyssey of the Mind, visit the Web at www.odysseyofthemind.com.


Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 16 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.

For MSU news on the Web, go to newsroom.msu.edu.

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