A life story, told through giving

For Marge des Lauriers and her late husband, Brad, making an impact at MSU is a way to show love

Marge des Lauriers poses with a student who received her scholarship in the College of Education

In a manner of speaking, Marge des Lauriers became a teacher all the way back in first grade, when she was offered the opportunity to go read a story to the kindergarten class. She knew from that day—watching the bright, interested faces of children barely younger than herself—that being someone that young students could look up to and learn from, was her dream job.

And what better place to eventually pursue teaching than Michigan State University?

Marge earned her degree in 1952—emphasis on the word earned, because she worked as hard at school as she did to pay for school. She saved money prior to coming to MSU by working as an operator at Michigan Bell, and she paid her tuition bills ($43 per quarter at the time) by working various jobs on and off campus.

She met a fellow named Brad at one such job, “scraping dishes in the bowels of Yakeley Hall,” and because there’s no bond quite like one built in a campus dishroom, Brad eventually became her husband.

In the years that followed, work and family took the des Lauriers in many different directions, but their connection to MSU remained a constant in their lives.

They made their first gift to Michigan State in 1955. “Brad is the one who really started us on the road to giving,” Marge says. “It was just a couple dollars at first, and I remember saying to him, ‘that’s not much of a donation!’ and he said, ‘well, you’ve got to start somewhere!’”

That’s the beauty of giving. It all adds up.

From that very first gift, the des Lauriers built up a 68-year history of consistent giving, and to this day, Marge is still finding new places on campus to give a financial boost.

For her, giving stems from a desire to pay tribute to the things—and people—that she and her family hold dear.

In honor of her late sister Angeline Buckwick—also an MSU alumna and lifelong public schoolteacher—the des Lauriers created a memorial scholarship in Education and sponsored a bench in the 4-H Children’s Garden, a place Angeline loved to take her schoolchildren on field trips.

A more recent gift supporting an equipment upgrade in the MSU Bike Shop was Marge’s way of honoring her son Paul, also a fellow Spartan, and his love for cycling.

Additionally, there are endowed funds that Marge and Brad established to support students pursuing careers in the fields they loved: the Marge des Lauriers Endowed Scholarship in Education, and the Bradley C. des Lauriers Endowed Scholarship in Construction Management. Regular cash gifts have enabled these funds to make an impact on scholarship recipients for many years, but Brad and Marge also documented an estate gift that will be divided equally in support of both scholarships in the future.

For someone who started out just wanting to inspire and foster a love of learning in young people, Marge’s scholarship, which provides funding each year to support a student completing their teaching internship, brings her dream full circle.

“The College of Education asks scholarship recipients to write a letter to the donors, and I’ve gotten a lot of those letters over the years,” Marge says. “I like hearing about these young teachers’ goals and plans, and I like knowing that I’m helping them start their teaching career on the right foot. College is so expensive now, and as the scholarship funds grow, I like seeing them make an even bigger dent in the costs these students face in pursuit of their dreams.”


LEARN MORE about how you can support MSU by contacting the development office in your college or by contacting the Office of Gift Planning at (517) 884-1000, or giftplan@msu.edu