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Michael Pan

Michael Pan

Founder | Panco Foods | Class of 2001

As a native of faraway Starkville, Miss., Michael Pan didn’t know a soul when he arrived on campus in the summer of 1997.

It didn’t take long for that to change.

“My fondest memories are from the PAR dorms. More specifically, Saunders 4,” the 2001 engineering grad says from Vancouver, Wash., where he started his own mushroom jerky line under the Panco Foods label.

“I came from a small town in Mississippi and I didn’t know anyone on campus when I arrived. Luckily, the floor I stayed on had a diverse group of people from all over the country and from the Chicago ’burbs.

“From the smell of the South Farms to the N64 games we all played together in the common rooms, I still maintain friendships from people in Saunders to this day.

“The other Campustown spot I think of the most is the Quad. On my first visit to campus, I easily saw myself spending a lot of time there — and I was right.

"If I wasn’t at Grainger studying for the next EE exam, my friends and I would spend our time on the Quad playing soccer, frisbee and just hanging out.

“Occasionally, we would study there, too.”