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Oct. 29, 2014

Gifts that keep on giving

Oct. 29, 2014

I’m not going to lie—I love getting gifts. There’s something great about opening a present that makes me feel special. For me, that special feeling continues every time I use whatever gift I’ve received. I always think of the person who gave it to me and it puts a smile on my face. The wrapping might get thrown away, but the special feelings remain.

I’m lucky. I’ve gotten some pretty good gifts in my life. Christmas and birthdays during my childhood always included great presents. I remember my first bike, dolls, a video game system, a gray jumpsuit and a cookbook of my grandma's and mom’s recipes.

I’ve received countless homemade gifts from my daughter when she was little and an incredible CD of her singing now that she’s grown. My husband surprised me with a special painting from an artist who meant a lot to us early in our marriage. Those early gifts gave me years of pleasure and I’m still using my recipe book, listening to my CD and gazing at my painting—truly gifts that keep on giving.

I do like to get gifts, but I also love giving them. I love nothing better than figuring out just the right thing for someone I care about. Watching other people enjoy something I’ve picked out is pretty gratifying. No matter how much I have to spend, I always try to pick something out that will keep on giving.

You might think a big school like Michigan State doesn’t need gifts, but you’d be wrong. More than ever, the university needs to raise private funds to empower the future. Last Friday, MSU launched Empower Extraordinary: The Campaign for Michigan State University.

The goal is to raise $1.5 billion to support such crucial things as student scholarships, endowed chairs and professorships and expanding MSU’s research capacity. Check out the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Empower Extraordinary, to learn more about why this campaign is so important.

Some people have already stepped up to the plate and supported the effort. Also on Friday, the university announced a $25 million challenge grant from philanthropist and MSU alumnus Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, to the Eli Broad College of Business, bringing the couple’s total giving to MSU to nearly $100 million. That’s pretty incredible. The Broads believe strongly in giving and they believe strongly in Michigan State.

Seventeen years ago, MSU alumnus and former NBA player Steve Smith gave back in a very big way. He donated $2.5 million—at the time the biggest gift a pro athlete had ever made to his or her school—to build the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Center. Part of that gift was also used to create academic scholarships for students from his high school, Detroit Pershing. Those gifts just keep giving.

Sherronia Dorsey-Walker is a junior majoring in social work at MSU and is a recipient of the Steve Smith/Pershing High/MSU Scholarship for Academic Achievement. Now she wants to give back. Check out her video story, Paying it Forward by Investing in People, to see just how much impact gifts can have, even if they come from someone you’ve never met.

I’m guessing Sherronia will give back to this world in ways we can’t yet imagine. Our students take the incredible opportunities they’ve been given here at MSU and turn them into gifts for others.

Like Rachel Holtzman, a doctoral student in human medicine. She’s part of the Leadership in Medicine for the Underserved Program and works in the Spartners for Heart Health lab. She’s passionate about researching cardiovascular disease risk factors in children. Watch her video in the STUDENT VIEW: An Ounce of Prevention, to learn more about her.

James Trosko, a professor of pediatrics and human development, is also concerned about cardiovascular disease and other associated metabolic diseases. Read his
FACULTY VOICE: Finding New Solutions, to learn his thoughts on this global health crisis.

Life-changing research and educating students—how much more important does it get than that? Spartans have made huge impacts in so many ways and are poised to do so much more. Spartans give their skill, intelligence, talent, time, passion, kindness and everything they have to make this world a better place. This campaign will make sure they have the resources to do so.

Spartans Will.


Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday


Photo of Beaumont Tower during a campaign celebration dinner on Oct. 24, 2014 by Dave Brown, MSU Alumni Association


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