MSUToday
Published: April 21, 2011

Staff profiles: Rocky Beckett

Contact(s): Erica Shekell Office of Communications and Brand Strategy erica.shekell@cabs.msu.edu

Rocky Beckett helps raise funds from private donors who are interested in supporting James Madison College students, faculty and programs.

“I think donations kind of start because people get a great education when they come here,” said Beckett, the college’s director of development.

Beckett, who graduated from James Madison in 1986 with a degree in international relations, meets with potential donors to discuss how they may be interested in supporting the college.

“You need to listen to them, ask questions, determine their interests,” Beckett said. “When you find what their personal mission is and their interests, and when that overlaps or you can connect that to the mission of Michigan State University, that’s when you get to the outcome of a gift.”

Some donations go to faculty development so that faculty can travel, conduct research and stay on the cutting edge of their fields. Other donations go toward programming, which is particularly important because James Madison is a residential college that hosts activities for its students, many of which live in Case Hall where the college is located, Beckett said.

However, most of the donations fund scholarships for students. A recent example is a scholarship that was formed by a group of alumni for an outstanding roommate and citizen in Case Hall.

“It’s coming out of a sad situation of an individual who has a terminal illness and remembering that person while they’re alive,” Beckett said. “What really inspired the individuals to create this scholarship is that their friend was an outstanding roommate and individual in Case Hall who was known well.”

“To have a scholarship that rewards that type of participation, somebody who is doing well academically but is really an important part of the residence halls and the campus life of Michigan State, is unique,” Beckett said. “Hopefully it will be a model for future residence halls or residential colleges to create an outstanding roommate scholarship.”

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Rocky Beckett, director of development for James Madison College, talks about how he connects the personal missions of generous donors to the mission of Michigan State University. Photo by G.L. Kohuth.

Rocky Beckett, director of development for James Madison College, talks about how he connects the personal missions of generous donors to the mission of Michigan State University. Photo by G.L. Kohuth.

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