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MSU honors World War I veteran and fixes a 103-year-old mistake

Posted at 1:31 PM, May 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-27 13:31:00-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University alumnus and World War I veteran Cosmer Magnus Leveaux had a plaque on MSU's campus for more than a century before someone realized there was an error.

"I was curious enough to find out who he was. His life mattered to me and His sacrifice mattered to me," said Derrick Turner, a multimedia coordinator at MSU.

Which is how Turner helped to right a 103-year-old wrong.

The plaque was dedicated on the college’s commencement day in June 1919.

"Nov. 19, 2021, I took a photo of the plaque just to check it out. And then in researching on Google, I found out that his name was misspelled on the plaque," Turner said.

He found that the date of Leveaux's death was wrong also.

Leveaux was one of more than 400,000 soldiers who lost their lives during the war.

He enlisted into the U.S. Army on May 10, 1917, and was killed in battle in France on August 10, 1918.

"Because I've been on campus for a very long time, I knew who exactly to send it to," Turner said. He notified university officials and they tracked down Leveaux's living relatives.

And they gave him a new memorial.

"It's pretty amazing that a guy who met his maker 104 years ago in World War I is given this much attention," said John Leveaux, the nephew of Cosmer Leveaux.

On May 18, the university held a private rededication ceremony with the correct name and date on the plaque.

"It just shows how much dedication this team has at Michigan State to be able to make an event out of something like this and not forget a veteran," John Leveaux said.