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Make a Difference Giving To Michigan State University

Presidential Donor Societies

Michigan State University recognizes and values our relationships with lifelong donors whose visionary leadership helps turn our shared priorities into reality. Presidential donor societies recognize lifetime giving to MSU.

Individuals are inducted into one of eight societies named in honor of prominent leaders in the history of MSU. Like these forward-thinking leaders, presidential donor society members have committed their talent, their time and their personal resources to propel Michigan State forward beyond today’s challenges toward the discoveries of tomorrow.

John Hannah Society

$50,000 – $99,999
or documented planned gift of at least $100,000

Honoring the memory of President John A. Hannah, who served the university for 46 years, 28 of them as MSU’s 12th president. President Hannah was noted for expanding MSU from a respected regional undergraduate-oriented university to a nationally recognized research university. Membership is open to individuals.

Jonathan L. Snyder Society

$100,000 – $249,999 cumulative giving
or documented planned gift of at least $200,000

Honors the memory of Jonathan L. Snyder, who served as president of MSU from 1886–1915. He was the first MSU president to actively market the university to prospective students through promotional literature, correspondence and invitations to visit campus. He also advocated training women at MSU. Snyder Society donors help Michigan State achieve the level of innovation and ingenuity that President Snyder embraced.

Theophilus C. Abbot Society

$250,000 – $499,999 cumulative giving
or documented planned gift of at least $500,000

Honors the memory of MSU’s president from 1862–1885, Theophilus C. Abbot. When he assumed the presidency, the future of the college was anything but certain. Abbot, however, was able to maintain the prestige of the nation’s first agricultural college by firmly establishing a curriculum of “scientific agriculture.” Abbot Society donors reflect the steadfast loyalty and versatility exhibited by President Abbot.

Robert S. Shaw Society

$500,000 – $999,999 cumulative giving
or documented planned gift of at least $1,000,000

Honors the memory of President Robert S. Shaw, who served as acting president on three separate occasions before officially being named president in 1928–1941. He introduced new courses including hotel administration, public administration, geology, geography, and physical education for women. Contributions at the Shaw Society level allow significant expansion of existing quality programs as well as the initiation of new programs, endowments and scholarships in much the same way Shaw did during his time at MSU.

Frank S. Kedzie Society

$1,000,000 – $2,499,999 cumulative giving
or documented planned gift of at least $1,500,000

Named for the eighth president of Michigan State University, the Frank S. Kedzie Society is one of the university’s most prestigious donor recognition groups. Kedzie served as president from 1915–1922 and is considered a pioneer for bringing private support to the university. In addition, Kedzie is recognized as the driving force behind early alumni involvement.

Clifton R. Wharton Society

$2,500,000 – $4,999,999 cumulative giving
or documented planned gift of at least $3,750,000

After a distinguished career in international affairs, Clifton R. Wharton became Michigan State University’s 14th president in 1970. This society honors his leadership and ability to remain calm in spite of the tumultuous time on U.S. campuses rising from antiwar sentiments as well as fiscal problems resulting from budget cuts. Notably, his tenure was marked by successful efforts to maintain the quality of MSU’s academic programs and his commitment to the education of the economically and educationally disadvantaged.

Joseph R. Williams Society

$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 cumulative giving
or documented planned gift of at least $7,500,000

Named in honor of Joseph R. Williams, the first president of the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, now known as Michigan State University. Williams is best remembered as a key advocate of the distinctly innovative educational philosophy that took root in East Lansing. He understood the importance of the land-grant system to education and displayed a dedication to the college's success. He made MSU the pioneer land-grant university.

William J. Beal Society

$10,000,000 and above cumulative giving
or documented planned gift of at least $15,000,000

Named in honor of the famed botanist, William J. Beal, at Michigan Agriculture College from 1870–1910. Just as Professor Beal sowed seeds and created experiments that would take generations to complete and left MSU a better and more beautiful place for generations to come, donors in this society create a better Michigan State that will last and continue to improve.


Membership is based on cumulative giving to any university related program. A cumulative giving total includes gifts received through cash, securities, employer matching gifts, certain real estate and gifts-in-kind. It may also include certain irrevocable deferred gifts.

For questions about Michigan State donor levels and presidential donor societies, please contact:

Dominic Schimizzi
Director, Stewardship
(517) 884-1123
schimiz1@msu.edu

For questions about individual giving to Michigan State University, please contact your development officer.