Engineering campaign success - $110 million

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Oct. 19, 2018

Updated: Dec. 5, 2018

Celebrating the close of MSU’s Empower Extraordinary Campaign - $1.7 billion

Almost 250,000 alumni and friends brought Michigan State University to a significant milestone: surging past the fundraising goal of $1.5 billion more than a year before the Empower Extraordinary campaign closed. While MSU is still accepting campaign gifts until Dec. 31, 2018, the campaign total currently sits at an extraordinary $1.7 billion.Thank you to the almost 8,500 alumni, friends and corporations that helped MSU Engineering reach new fundraising heights during Empower Extraordinary.

The MSU College of Engineering also reached its Empower Extraordinary campaign goal early – achieving its $80 million target by spring 2017. As the campaign close approaches, the college’s total is at $110 million (38 percent over goal).

“MSU stretched to new heights in fundraising impact, and the college followed suit,” Engineering Dean Leo Kempel said.

See more at: Empower Extraordinary - Engineering

“We secured 20 new endowed chair and professor agreements during this remarkable campaign. Our first year CoRe program has robust support from corporate partners, and we have raised record scholarship funds to help the next generation of Spartan Engineers. Seventeen donors made commitments for endowed positions as part of this campaign.”

Some of the 20 endowed faculty positions are:

The college's development team members are (from left) Nicole Proctor-Kanyama, Stephen Bates, Shelly Jackson, Jennifer Jennings, Kaleigh Jaeger-Hale, and Marty Bailey.

• The Koza Chair in Genetic Programming, currently held by Wolfgang Banzhaf, professor of computer science and engineering. Donor John Koza committed a historic gift of $12.7 million, with $2 million already received in cash.

• A $2 million cash gift created the David L. and Denise M. Lamp Endowed Chair in Chemical Engineering, currently held by John Dorgan. David Lamp (’80, chemical engineering) has also funded an endowed scholarship and an endowed fellowship for undergraduate and graduate students in chemical engineering.

• Thomas Wielenga (’78, mechanical engineering) funded the Wielenga Professorship in Creative Engineering with a $1 million gift. A national search recently closed for the inaugural chair, which will focus on improving teaching methods for engineering courses to help students graduate early/on-time and reduce student debt.

Stephen Bates, senior director of development and alumni relations in the College of Engineering, said he is impressed with the college’s alumni and their deep commitment to ensuring the college’s future.

“While the campaign demanded a great deal of effort from the team, it was also enlightening and invigorating,” Bates said. “A goal which once seemed impossible has been surpassed and the college will be strengthened for generations to come -- thanks and congratulations!"

Student support

More than 40 percent of the donors are Spartan alumni, including Leroy Dell, a 1966 civil engineering graduate.Leroy Dell (’66, civil engineering) established and funded an endowed fellowship in civil engineering during the campaign. He remembers running out of money as a last-term senior and still recalls the grant that provided his tuition, books, and enough for a pair of shoes. “That’s why I’ve been doing this all these years,” he said.

An expendable scholarship to honor the parents of David Spalding (’67, mechanical engineering) supports 10 students each year. Both of Spalding’s parents also graduated from Michigan State.

Corporate friends continue to be an important source of support for research activities, programs, and students. Examples include the corporate sponsors behind the CoRe Experience "theme floors" and efforts to help first-year engineering students succeed. Collectively, the CoRe corporate friends have contributed more than $2 million for enhanced labs and a variety of services and career opportunities.

Dale and Lynn Koch, both 1978 graduates of MSU, committed more than $2 million to undergraduate scholarships as a bequest gift, on top of an existing endowment.

A Spartan Engineer whose only hope of completing his college education in the 1960s was a scholarship, paid it forward during the campaign with a $5.3 million gift to the college. The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, will use cash and estate gifts for an endowed scholarship to benefit students. 

Global impact

A $3 million cash grant from the Gates Foundation has supported chemical engineering research in bio-fuels, specifically on what can be done with the bio-material leftover after the fuel has been extracted. These organic leftovers can be used as feed for cattle, and trials are now being conducted in India. This feed creates higher milk production, particularly during the dry season, when other feeds are not available.

Other good friends

Rick Brown (’71, mechanical engineering) has been a long-term friend to the college. With donations already at more than $2 million, the most recent gift assisted in the purchase of a 3-D printer that supports the use of titanium and other metal alloys. His contributions include the Brown Fellowship for graduate students in mechanical engineering; the DREAM Scholarship that helps recruit first-year undergraduate and transfer students; and the Brown Lab for mechanical engineering in MSU’s Engineering Research Complex.

“Our success in Empower Extraordinary facilitates our tag line: ‘Who will Engineer tomorrow? Spartans Will,” Kempel added. “My thanks to all our donors and a special thank you to the college’s fundraising team for this tremendous success.”

The college's development team is Stephen Bates, senior director of development and alumni relations; Marty Bailey, associate director of development; Shelly Jackson, office assistant; Kaleigh Jaeger-Hale, assistant director for alumni relations; Jennifer Jennings, associate director of corporate and foundation relations; and Nicole Proctor-Kanyama, associate director of development. 

For more information on how to make a gift to College of Engineering, call the Office of Development at (517) 355-8339 or e-mail:

MSUToday: MSU Celebrates Capital Campaign Achievements
MSU will celebrate the success of the five-year campaign during a series of celebrations that runs through the end of the year. While the final tally won’t be complete until the end of 2018, MSU has already recorded the following successes:

• $1.7 billion in contributions

• 3,500 new scholarships (goal was 3,000)

• 104 new endowed chairs (goal was 100)

• #1 in the Big Ten for faculty and staff giving (7 percent of campaign giving is coming from MSU employees).

• private support for research increased by 35 percent – over the life of the campaign has provided more than $315 million

• completing eight major construction projects, with 22 projects funded through the campaign

Empower Extraordinary - Overall success