EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State University today received a gift commitment of $6 million from MSU Trustee Randall L. Pittman and his wife, Mary E. Pittman, at a special Board of Trustees meeting.
In recognition of this gift, which is designated for the rehabilitation of Marshall Hall, a home to the Department of Economics, the Pittmans requested that Marshall Hall be renamed Marshall-Adams Hall. The new name honors the late Walter Adams, president emeritus of MSU, an acclaimed economist, a distinguished professor, and a friend and mentor to Randall Pittman.
"I am extremely pleased that Randall and Mary have agreed to make this truly exceptional gift," said MSU President Peter McPherson. "The picturesque buildings that have stood along Laboratory Row for most of a century have become enduring symbols of the land-grant vision and commitment of Michigan State University.
"Just as these historic buildings on circle drive stand at the heart of our campus, for many students," McPherson said, "Dr. Walter Adams stands at the heart of their academic experience."
Marshall Hall was constructed in 1902, remodeled in 1953 and had a seminar room addition built in 1991. This 19,900-square-foot building is one of two Laboratory Row buildings currently housing the Department of Economics, a part of the College of Social Science. The building was originally named for Charles E. Marshall, an MSU professor of bacteriology.
"Restoring Marshall Hall has not only historic and symbolic importance, but will also give the Department of Economics the physical facilities needed to offer better programs to students and to enhance faculty recruitment and retention," said Lou Anna K. Simon, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "When complete, the buildings will function as efficiently as new construction, but will do so in an envelope of tradition and historic character."
The Pittmans announced their gift on the same day as the public kickoff of The Campaign for MSU, a comprehensive universitywide fund-raising effort designed to raise critical private support that is needed to ensure the long-term strength of the university.
"The late Dr. Walter Adams had a tremendous influence on my life and considerable influence on the history of MSU as both a prominent professor of economics and former president," Randall Pittman said. "Dr. Adams was committed to teaching and to MSU; being able to honor him while at the same time supporting my alma mater is truly a winning combination.
"The restoration of Marshall-Adams Hall is another step in reviving the unique character and historical significance of Laboratory Row for MSU's north campus," he said. "Both Mary and I believe that there will be others who join us in contributing to this restoration effort."
"On behalf of the entire Adams family, I want to express my deepest appreciation to Trustee Randall Pittman and his family for contributing in such a rare and exemplary way to MSU in the name of my husband," said Pauline Adams, MSU associate professor emerita of American thought and language. "This act of extraordinary generosity confirms my own deeply held conviction that the student/teacher relationship is among the most precious relationships that our society can generate.
"I know that Walter would have felt honored to be commemorated together with Professor Marshall, an eminent bacteriologist at MSU a century ago, on the building that will now bear both their names thanks to Trustee Pittman," she said.
The Pittmans reside in Ann Arbor with their daughter, Jennifer. Already recognized at the $1 million Frank S. Kedzie Society level for gifts to athletics and Campus Park and Planning, the couple will, with this new gift, move to the prestigious ranks of the Joseph R. Williams Society.
Randall Pittman completed a bachelor's degree in 1976 in political science/pre-law from the College of Social Science at MSU and continued on for a master of business administration degree in finance from The Eli Broad College of Business. As an undergraduate, he became friends with Adams, a teacher and mentor for whom he later worked as a graduate assistant.
Pittman became chairperson and CEO of Forest Health Services Corp., an organization dedicated to specialty health programs he founded in 1992. Forest Health Services' corporate headquarters is in Ypsilanti, Mich., with hospitals in major cities across the United States. He is currently a member of the MSU Capital Campaign committee. He joined the MSU Board of Trustees in 2002.