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.
When asked why he donates to Michigan State University, Gregory Hauser (B.S., zoology, Honors College, ’75; M.S., zoology, ’81), a partner in the law firm of Wuersch & Gering LLP in New York City, answered the question immediately -- “I believe in the institution and its mission. MSU’s mix of research, teaching and its land-grant mission make it a very special place. It’s one of the few places that has it all. The world really needs MSU.”
Although James Hoeschele (Ph.D., chemistry, ’65) didn’t have the opportunity to work in a lab during his undergraduate years, he realizes just how important this type of experience is. That’s why Hoeschele has been one of the key supporters of MSU’s Dean’s Research Scholars Program—from interviewing potential scholars to providing financial support. Hoeschele and his wife, Audrone, have also provided generous gifts to the Department of Chemistry and to other MSU programs.
Norman (Ph.D., microbiology and public health, ’68) and Hanna (Ph.D., botany and plant pathology, ’69) Kelker both had long careers as scientists in New York City, so it’s not surprising that their philanthropic efforts focus on research opportunities for undergraduates.
During his time as a student at MSU, Bob Rietz (B.S., mathematics, ‘70; Honors College) was able to pass three of the five exams required by the Society of Actuaries to become an associate of the society. “That was unheard of in those days; employers were impressed,” Reitz said. “Maybe I’m bragging . . . but what I’m really bragging about is the strength of MSU’s math program!”
When James Rodman (B.S., botany and plant pathology, Honors College, ’67) was a student, he worked in the MSU Herbarium. He had little inkling of how much this job would influence the arc of his life. A field trip to Mexico to collect plant specimens with then Herbarium Director John Beaman secured his future in botany and opened his eyes to a world far beyond his hometown of Detroit and Michigan. His endowment honors the place that sent him on his life career and Dr. Beaman.
Michigan State alums Mary and Craig Rosenberg always intended to support MSU when they were able, and both make donations of time as well as money. They see MSU as a very inspirational place, and are impressed with the increased awareness and impact of MSU around the world. The couple finds gratification in being able to donate to their alma mater to help open doors for others and to further the Spartan cause around the world.
MSU zoology alumni Laura and Robert Sams, a sister-brother creative team who own Sisbro Studios, LLC, in Portland, Ore., produce science-based films, books, music, educational media and live programs that help people discover the natural world (and laugh along the way).
Betty L. Schoepke, a lifetime member of the MSU Alumni Association along with her husband, John, heartily agrees that MSUAA is a “. . . Personal Network for Life.” “MSU has ‘been my lifeline’ several times, just when I needed it,” she said. Conversely, Schoepke has been there for MSU when it needed her.
You could say that because of MSU, Elizabeth B. Seaman, M.D., (zoology, ’68) has been making beautiful music her entire life. Whether in the orchestra chair, or in her doctor’s chair, her lifelong passions are obvious. “Growing up, my whole life was at MSU. It’s important for me to give back to the university that had such an influence on me,” Seaman said.
Ron Simon began his college studies in mathematics at Michigan State in 1963. The now-retired Auto-Owners Insurance Company CEO has always appreciated and recognized the value of an MSU education. Now, he and his wife, Mary, are giving back to the university that started him down a highly successful career path.