The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Michael Sterling Sanders

Photo by Courtesy

Michael Sanders put the needs of others before himself. 

Michael Sterling Sanders always put the needs of others before himself.

Whether it was making sure there was no conflict among friends or ensuring everyone had a partner for in-class projects, it was his priority to see that everyone was happy. 

“Michael never wanted anybody to worry,” Laura Sanders, Class of 1984 and Michael’s mother, said. “He always wanted everyone to be happy. And he tried to make sure in every situation that everybody was taken care of and that everyone was doing well. He didn’t want anyone to worry about him, he wanted to worry about everyone else.”

Ross Sanders, Class of 1982 and Michael Sanders’s father, said he was a friend to all.

“Everybody loved him,” Ross Sanders said. “He was very easygoing, real caring and loving, didn’t like conflict, wanted everyone to get along. He was a peacemaker and that’s why everybody just loved him because no one could be mad at Michael. He was that kind of person.”

An entertainer from the beginning, Michael Sanders has performed on one platform or another for most of his life. Ross Sanders recalled a karaoke night at Crystal Beach when Michael Sanders, at the time only 10 years old, jumped on stage and started belting out Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville” to a full audience. 

“He was such a good entertainer,” Ross Sanders said. “He had all the grown ups, adults cheering and singing the songs back to him and he had a big control of the crowd.”

The love of entertaining is a defining quality of Michael Sanders, said David Sanders, Class of 2008 and Michael Sander’s brother.

“If [he] could have been playing his guitar, entertaining people, making people have a good time and have a chance to go surfing a few times a week, that would have been ideal,” David Sanders said. “If he could have done that, that’s what he would have done.”

Austin Levinton, Class of 2012 and close friend of Michael Sanders, said he was affectionate with his friends, making it clear when he was proud or excited for them. Levinton said this is something that continues to inspire him daily.

“Tough to leave a guy like that,” Levinton said. “I miss him. I think I work harder in my life now because he was always saying how proud he was of me and it was embarrassing and ridiculous, all I did was graduate, but he made everyone know he was proud of me and that motivates me everyday.”

Michael Sanders was also very close with his grandmother, Carolyn Hoyle.

“It is hard for me to talk about Michael without crying,” Hoyle said. “He was a special grandson with an infectious laugh and known for his bear hugs.  He loved A&M and was so proud of his Aggie Ring.”

Michael Sanders was 11 hours from graduating when he died. Laura Sanders said his Ring Day was one of the best moments of his life.

“He wanted that ring so badly and it took him a little bit longer to get it,” Laura Sanders said. “And so when he finally was able to get his ring at Ring Day, it was just, you know, the look on his face, the smile on his face was just something that I’ll never forget.”

Levinton said it’s hard to sum Michael Sanders up into one memory, but their friendship is something he’ll hold close to him for the rest of his life.

“There is no one memory of Michael that stands out,” Levinton said. “When I think of Michael, what comes to mind are the little experiences I got to enjoy every day by being around him. It’s his contagious laughter, the car ride jam sessions, late night grills, road trips to nowhere and his unique ability to make any situation light and fun. Being his friend is an honor I’ll never forget.”

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