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

Arens Scholarships Will Aid Dozens Of Students

Missing Image
While modest about the number of students who will benefit from scholarships they have created, Alvin and Irene Arens have committed to a level of support that will truly transform lives.

Arens Scholarships have been established to support students in the colleges of Education, Business and Nursing.

Starting in 2006, Al and Irene are funding 13 annual $10,000 scholarships through annual gifts of cash. One new scholarship will be awarded in each college each year as a student graduates to keep the total number of scholarships at 13 annually, and all are renewable for up to four years (with an added year in Education to cover the internship year of Teacher Education majors). Preference will be given to single parents with financial responsibility for their children and to candidates who are among the first generation in their family to attend college.

"We would like to change the lives of the students we support," Al said. "It is likely that some of these students would not be able to attend college without significant financial support. We know that once these students graduate, they will help their children go to college and thereby break the cycle of a life less than is possible."

Al is now retired after thirty-eight years as a faculty member in the Accounting and Information Systems Department in the Eli Broad College of Business. He and Irene have been generous donors to Michigan State University for many years. They are experienced contributors, as evidenced by the foresight they have shown in documenting a planned gift in support of their scholarship program.

"In case something happens to us, we want to make sure that all of the students in the scholarship pipeline will be able to complete their education," Al explained. "If this works as well as we hope it will, we intend to endow the scholarships so the program continues long into the future."

As Al explains that his parents never graduated from eighth grade, that Irene?s parents were both immigrants, and that he has experienced joy and satisfaction as a teacher of young university students, it becomes clear why he values education. In fact, he says that his mother?s favorite saying was: "Remember children, education is the one thing in life no one can ever take from you."

"Education has changed both of our lives beyond even our wildest dreams, and our hope is that it will do the same for others," Al said. "Michigan State lives by its motto of transforming lives. I have observed as a faculty member the struggles of students balancing studying, working to pay for their education, and interacting with other students in a variety of ways, all as a part of becoming educated and maturing. Add to this the cost and responsibility of raising children and the effort can be overwhelming."One of the saddest things in my life is the failure of the State of Michigan to adequately fund higher education. We cannot afford to be a state with a large percentage of citizens who lack a college education, both for the welfare of the state and in fairness to our youth," he explained. "I have spent my career at Michigan State trying to transform lives with my teaching and research. Now that I am retired, our dream is to transform the lives of just a few students. If we can help Michigan State educate our youth, even in a small way, we will have made a contribution to more than the university."

If you would like to add your support to any or all of the Arens Scholarships, or if you would like to explore establishing a scholarship that bears your own name or the name of someone you wish to honor, contact University Development at (517) 884-1000 and ask to speak with a major gifts or planned giving officer.