Published: Oct. 23, 2018

MSU receives $2M estate gift from Midland couple

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

Michigan State University has received a $2 million estate gift from alumna Jane Wall Lacher and her husband Ronald Lacher of Midland that will fund an endowed faculty position in nursing research and scholarships for veterinary students.

The Lachers divided their future gift evenly between the Colleges of Nursing and Veterinary Medicine.

“Professorships and scholarships help accelerate the positive impact of MSU,” said Interim President John Engler. “Endowed positions enable us to build a base of exemplary faculty leaders, while scholarships help provide the opportunity for bright students to study and learn with them. We are profoundly grateful to the Lachers for their confidence in MSU with a gift that invests in our future so significantly.”

The Lacher’s gift to nursing will create the Helen Jane Shortt Wall Endowed Professorship for Nursing Research, in honor of Jane’s mother who trained at MSU in 1941-42 and went on to become a registered nurse through the Cadet Nurse Corp at Saginaw General Hospital. Lacher notes that her mother’s frugality with the family income and gifts allowed her to build a considerable estate by the time she died at 93 in February 2017.

“My mom loved to research anything and everything and, I feel, would have made a fabulous researcher given the opportunity,” Lacher said. “So, when we were deciding what to do with some of the monies from her, because she always referred to herself as a registered nurse and because she loved MSU, giving to the College of Nursing seemed a good fit.”

The Lachers also created the Britt to Belle Endowed Scholarship in honor of two of their dearest rescue dogs. The scholarship will support students in the College of Veterinary Medicine where Jane earned her DVM in 1979. The couple prefunded the scholarship with a $57,000 cash gift so that scholarship awards could begin immediately.

“I went to MSU because it was the very best in veterinary medicine and I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else,” Lacher said. “But the debt load for students today can be very daunting and we wanted to help students of the future pursue their same passion with less of a financial burden.”

Jane Wall Lacher is retired from a 35-year career as a clinical veterinarian at The Dow Chemical Company Toxicology and Environmental Research and Consulting Laboratory. Ronald Lacher is a retired chemical engineer from The Dow Chemical Company.

Endowed faculty positions and student scholarships are top goals of MSU’s Empower Extraordinary Campaign which has raised more than $1.7 billion in private support for the university. The campaign continues through December 31, 2018.

Alumna Jane Wall Lacher and her husband, Ronald, with their beloved rescue dog, Belle, in the front garden of Jane’s childhood home. The Lacher’s estate gift will fund an endowed faculty position in nursing research and a scholarship for veterinary students. Courtesy photo.