Bridging Financial Gaps

LaMonte Student Emergency Fund is a new safety net for students in ComArtSci

Gary and Erin LaMonte with a labrador retriever puppy named Sparty

Gary LaMonte felt fortunate as a first-generation college student in the late 1970s. He received scholarships and grants. He had the support of his parents. He was also able to make up the difference for tuition and books by working a part-time job. Ultimately, he was able to graduate debt-free in 1981 with a degree in advertising and later with his MBA in 1983.

Today, the retired human resources professional wants to help bridge the financial gap for students who may not have the safety net he did. In 2020, Gary established the LaMonte Student Emergency Fund in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences to provide flexible assistance in a timely manner to address unexpected financial hardships that could derail a student’s education. A number of students were only able to complete their degree because of an award from the fund Gary created.

“I know there are people who work hard and still struggle,” he says. “By creating and giving to this student emergency fund, my goal is to make an impact today when someone most needs it.”

Kari Schueller Lopez, director of Academic and Student Affairs in the college, says Gary’s gift made it possible for the college to help several seniors pay for their last semester at MSU. The fund also has provided help for students experiencing food and housing insecurity and other financial stressors.

“Gary’s gift has truly made an impact,” says Lopez. “After receiving the award, students often have the time to focus on their education and their career aspirations without the stress of wondering how they will pay for school.”

Read more about the LaMontes’ impact in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

LEARN MORE about supporting the College of Communication Arts and Sciences by contacting Associate Director of Development Melissa Wagasy at or by calling (517) 432-4770.  

Pictured above: Gary and Erin LaMonte with “Sparty,” a black Labrador retriever puppy. Sparty—who the LaMontes had the honor of naming—is currently being trained by Canine Companions, another charity that the LaMonte family supports.