Published: March 7, 2017

Helping students plan for the future

Contact(s): Lois Furry University Advancement office: (517) 884-1122

A newly created fund will enable students in the School of Planning Design and Construction to gain firsthand knowledge of major urban planning projects through site visits around the world.

Peter and Linda Riguardi recently made a $1 million gift to create the Peter G. and Linda Riguardi Experiential Learning Fund for Domestic and International Site Evaluation Experiences. It is one of the largest gifts ever given to MSU from non-alumni parents of a current student.

As chairman and president for the New York operations of one of the world’s largest commercial real estate brokers, Jones Lang LaSalle, Peter has brokered some of the largest and most complex leasing transactions in the city’s history.

He and his wife, Linda, have been together since they met in high school and have successfully raised four sons, each of whom followed in his parents’ footsteps to pursue higher education. Their sons’ schools of choice were largely small, New England–located private Christian colleges, much like Marymount College, where Linda, an educator, was the class valedictorian, or Iona College, where Peter, a distinguished alumnus, has served on the Board of Trustees.

The couple never foresaw one day holding a new distinction at a large Midwestern public university. But that was before their youngest son, Alex, decided to break with family tradition and attend Michigan State. Alex is now enjoying his junior year while his parents are enjoying a new way to show their commitment to higher education.

“The more you travel, the more you see beautiful architecture. Michigan State is doing great things in sustainability and many other areas. For students to be able to see projects in New York City, Rome or Paris will further their education in such a great way,” says Linda.

Peter, who is no stranger to being up close to large urban planning projects and also is a converted Spartan sports fan, says “Much like the coaches at MSU, the university as a whole has great leadership, and it is clear they are building something that is bigger than just one season. We are glad to be able to help.”

Alex, an urban and regional planning major, is busy making the most of his MSU opportunity. Along with two MSU friends, he created Driver on Tap, an app that allows users to hire a driver to take them, and their vehicles, safely home. It has been quickly picking up steam in East Lansing and several other cities.

“I’m really happy about the unexpected opportunities I’ve had throughout my time at MSU,” Alex says. “Someone I met in my dorm becomes a good friend and business partner. It really opens up the world.”

For more information on making a gift to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, contact Tami Baumann, senior development officer at or call (517) 355-0284.

Reused with permission from MSU Advancement

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