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Feb. 26, 2016

$2.5 million gifts support basketball, establish business professorship at MSU

An alumni couple’s $1 million gift to MSU’s Broad College of Business will be used to create a named professorship in the School of Hospitality Business, and a $1.5 million gift to Michigan State University Athletics will help construct a basketball hall of history and other improvements at Breslin Center.

The gifts are pledged by MSU alumni John Duffey and Becky Duffey. John Duffey is the recently appointed president and CEO of Six Flags Entertainment Corp., the world’s largest regional theme park company.

“MSU Athletics has meant a lot to our family and we are excited to have the opportunity to support MSU basketball. We also are pleased to support the business college with a named professorship. It is vital in this challenging and competitive environment for alumni to step up and give back to Michigan State University,” said John Duffey, who received a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1982. “As proud alumni and parents of a current MSU student, we understand that attracting and retaining the best educators is key to attracting and developing the next generation of business leaders.”

John and Becky Duffey previously have provided significant support to MSU Athletics including a $1.5 million gift to upgrade the football practice facilities, now called the John and Becky Duffey Football Practice Field. In addition, they provide support as members of the Athletic Director’s Campaign Leadership Council, a group of leadership donors and campaign volunteers from around the country.

“This campaign will help transform MSU Athletics and John and Becky are again leading the way, showing how private support can help our coaches attract the best and brightest student-athletes. Fundraising momentum for the Breslin Center renovation continues to build and when it’s completed will be one of the finest facilities in the country,” said Athletics Director Mark Hollis.

John and Becky Duffey -- a 1982 graduate in medical technology -- are strong supporters of educational causes and foundations that support children with autism and other developmental disabilities. They also serve on the campaign board for the Broad College of Business.

“John and Becky epitomize what it means to be a Spartan,” said Sanjay Gupta, Eli and Edythe L. Broad dean of the business college. “They are extremely generous philanthropists, they are leaders in our community, and they are humble and gracious in all that they do. Their investment shows confidence in the work of the College of Business and will allow for the top-ranked hospitality school to continue its tradition of having the best professors in the business.”

MSU is seeking to establish 100 new endowed chair positions in order to retain and attract the next generation of faculty through the Empower Extraordinary campaign, a $1.5 billion capital campaign publicly launched in the fall of 2014. To date, the College of Business has raised more than $105 million in the campaign, with $15.3 million dedicated to create endowed faculty positions.

Through Empower Extraordinary, MSU Athletics seeks to raise $262 million in support of building championship-level facilities, increasing its endowment and elevating annual gifts. The Duffeys’ gift is the twenty-first gift of at least $1 million to MSU Athletics since the start of the campaign.

“John and Becky Duffey are leaders in providing the means for MSU athletics to continue its pursuit of excellence and in helping the university boost our impact with an endowed faculty position,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said. “Our faculty and facilities are essential assets, and we are grateful to the Duffeys for their generosity, which will help build momentum in athletics and capacity for innovation in the School of Hospitality Business.”

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