In true Spartan fashion, the extraordinary individuals and groups that comprise the MSU College of Natural Science (NatSci) family – faculty members, staff members, students and alumni – are hard at work every day, making a difference in their classrooms, labs, businesses, communities and the world around them. In an effort to tell their stories, we've created this collection of profiles to feature people in our NatSci family and how they are contributing to the common good in ways both big and small. SPARTANS WILL.
Growing up just northeast of Buffalo in Amherst, N.Y., Scott Belden (B.S., natural science/mathematics, ’78) watched his parents and grandparents frequently donate to Cornell University and be active members of the Cornell Alumni Association. So when he graduated from Michigan State, he and his wife, Patty, followed suit and became MSU donors just a few years after he graduated.
When he was an Honors College student in the late 1980s, physics major Carl Bruch had the opportunity to explore the many different courses and career paths that MSU had to offer. It was this varied and cross-discipline experience that launched him on a successful and rewarding career that has encompassed physics, environmental law and environmental peacebuilding. “It all fits together—often in surprising ways,” Bruch said.
E. Dean Butler is a true visionary—literally. But this extremely successful entrepreneur and founder of LensCrafters—the “eyeglasses in about an hour” company— said that he came by his first job out of college somewhat by accident.
Sally Crawford (chemistry, ’70), and her husband, Thomas, like to stay connected—with their family, their community and their alma maters. Having received excellent educations and benefited from great experiences in college, the successful couple feels fortunate to be able to assist other students—in at least some small way—in having such wonderful opportunities as well.
Marilyn Capelli Dimitroff (B.A., mathematics, ’66) and her husband Bo (B.A., history, ’66) share a great love for MSU and the educational approach the university takes, so giving back was natural. The Dimitroffs have created a named Spartan Scholarship Challenge endowment in the College of Natural Science, and also support the Honors College, the Mathematics Department and the Spartan Fund.
He developed the first antibody test for Legionnaires’ disease in 1977, established the first Virology Lab at Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital in 1979, and co-founded the American Proficiency Institute in 1991—the first U.S. organization to focus on physician office quality assurance. Now, BLD alumnus Daniel Edson and his wife have established the first endowed faculty position in the Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics Program—the Daniel and Debra Edson Endowed Professorship.
MSU alums Mark and Sandy Ehlert met and fell in love while they were both workers in Hubbard Hall. They married during spring break of their senior year and, after graduating, they started careers in medical manufacturing and teaching, respectively. Both grew up in blue-collar families in Michigan and see their philanthropy as a way of saying thank you for the great gift they received from Michigan State.
Dan and Karen Friderici, both retired professors from the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, have created the Friderici Undergraduate Research Scholarship in the College of Natural Science, to help demystify laboratory life for aspiring scientists and provide the financial flexibility for students to participate in research.
MSU alumnus Ronald Goldsberry considers himself fortunate—in more ways than one. His list of credentials is over-the-top impressive, including holding several executive positions in Fortune 500 companies and being the only African American to serve as CEO of an American chemical company in the 1980s, among other accomplishments. Yet, he has not forgotten his humble roots—or his alma mater.
As Alice Greene sat outside Yakeley Hall in June 1942, at the end of her freshman year at Michigan State College, it probably didn’t occur to her that she would have an impact on future generations of MSU students. Thanks to her daughters Martha Rykala and Susan Avery, along with Susan’s husband, Jim Avery (all MSU alums) she will be making a difference in the lives of many MSU microbiology students for years to come.