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Chevis Legacy Lives on Through Endowment

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The Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science has received a substantial gift from the estate of Paul P. Chevis, who died in January 2008. Paul Chevis (Engineering ’43) was the son of Lithuanian immigrants who came to the United States in the 1930s and farmed in Michigan. Paul was employed by General Motors for several years after graduation, and then founded Tawas Plating in Tawas City, Michigan. His wife, Mary Jane, who preceded Paul in death, was his partner in the business and helped build the company, which they sold in the early 1980s.
Both Paul and MJ — as Mary Jane was known — were well respected and active in the Tawas community. He was a member of the Wurtsmith Air Force Base Liaison Committee, the East Tawas Men’s Club, Christ Episcopal Church and was a director of the Peoples State Bank. MJ was a volunteer at St. Joseph, the local hospital. Both were longtime supporters of St. Joseph and founding members of the hospital’s Samaritan Club.
Paul and his wife loved farming, and they distributed vegetables from their garden throughout the town. They enjoyed entertaining and were known to host 30-plus guests at dinners, often entertaining soldiers from the local air base. Both played the accordion. Paul’s old-world values served him well. He was a conservative spender, and was known for doing the job once and doing it right. He kept his farm machinery going for years by repairing and rebuilding it.
Paul was proud of his MSU degree. While his estate assisted other local charities, by far the largest portion — a gift in excess of $1 million — came to the MSU College of Engineering to establish a named endowed fund. The Paul P. Chevis Endowed Fund is a discretionary fund to be used by the chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science to help in the areas of greatest need or opportunity. Because it will generate a substantial yearly cash flow, the Chevis Fund will have a longterm impact for the department.
“We know that Paul and his wife were accomplished and very generous during their lifetime,” said Martin Hawley, chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. “Paul was proud of being a graduate of MSU’s chemical engineering program. We sincerely appreciate their gift and it will be used in their memory to promote excellence in the department. Their legacy lives on.”
For more information about making a gift to the College of Engineering, contact Senior Director of Development Stephen Bates at (517) 355-8339.