Skip to Main Content
Make a Difference Giving to Michigan State University Make a Difference Giving to Michigan State University

2016 Philanthropists of the Year

Robert and Georgia Burgess, dressed in formalwear, pose for a portrait

2016 Philanthropists of the Year

The Philanthropist of the Year award is given every fall at the MSU Alumni Association Grand Awards Gala. The award honors those who have demonstrated outstanding philanthropic responsibility toward MSU and whose generosity inspires others.

Robert and Georgia Burgess are both graduates of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Bob earned his Bachelor of Science in 1966 majoring in packaging, and his wife, Georgia graduated in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in interior design. They have found significant success in their respective fields and continue to give back to MSU.               

After a successful career in interior design, Georgia worked with fellow alumni and faculty to transition the Interior Design program into the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ new School of Planning, Design and Construction. She also created the Georgia Burgess Student Enrichment Fund within the program.

As a former president of Pulte Homes, Bob is an accomplished business leader. He is managing partner with Glengarry Partners and serves on multiple boards of directors, including private equity firms.

The couple’s continued gifts to MSU reflect confidence in the faculty and students. They have each established endowed funds in their names to benefit students in their respective programs.

Earlier this year, Bob announced a $4.5 million gift to the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Eli Broad College of Business. He initially made a $2 million gift to the institute in 2005, which will be renamed the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Longtime residents of the greater Detroit area, the couple now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.