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Make a Difference Giving to Michigan State University

Giving Back in Tandem

“As administrators, we’ve both realized that you can’t always do all the things you want to do in your department unless you go out and raise money first. It is sometimes challenging to ask people to give, but it’s easier if you've given, too."

Cliff and Sue Haka pose with their bicycle in front of the MSU Library fountain

Giving Back in Tandem

He is the director of the MSU Libraries, she is the Ernst & Young Professor of Accounting and former senior associate dean of the Eli Broad College of Business. In academia, Cliff and Sue Haka are what we call a dual-career couple.

When their job search first brought them to campus in 1982, they’d been around enough college towns to know that MSU had everything they were looking for aesthetically. More importantly, MSU’s commitment to spousal hiring meant they could both pursue their dream jobs. So they did.

As they worked their way up, they worked their way into the culture of MSU which, for them, meant more than just painting their tandem bicycle green and white and riding it in the Homecoming Parade. It meant giving back to their own departments—an effort which has earned them membership in the Robert S. Shaw and Linda E. Landon giving societies, and helped both the MSU Libraries and the Eli Broad College of Business meet very specific needs.

The Clifford H. and Susan F. Haka Endowment for the Turfgrass Information Center (TIC) is the product of Cliff’s affinity for books, golf, and books on golf—more specifically, the world’s most extensive public collection of turfgrass educational materials, which resides in the TIC’s USGA Turfgrass Information File database.

MSU Libraries relies on subscriptions and private funding to cover a substantial portion of TIC’s operating costs, and for a number of years, Cliff made regular contributions through payroll deduction. The decision to support it in a bigger way, helping the library toward its goal of making the TIC self-sustaining, was a no-brainer.

For Sue, the Susan F. and Clifford H. Haka Doctoral Student Support Fund in the Eli Broad College of Business was all about supporting accounting and business students pursuing their PhDs with the goal of becoming faculty.

Personally, Sue enjoyed the constant learning from earning her PhD and pursuing a career in academia. Her own career has taken her around the world and included a term as president of the American Accounting Association. So she knows from experience that the future for these doctoral students is bright. But she also knows the cost of obtaining a PhD can be daunting.

Cliff and Sue have supported many campus causes, but they see their endowments for the MSU Libraries and the Broad College as opportunities to lead by example.

“As administrators, we’ve both realized that you can’t always do all the things you want to do in your department unless you go out and raise money first. It is sometimes challenging to ask people to give, but it’s easier if you, yourself, have given too,” Cliff says.

“Our work contributes to the education process that gives way to careers and opportunities for students, and so does our giving,” Sue adds. “It’s rewarding to see the people you’ve helped as an educator. It’s equally rewarding to see the people and places you’ve helped through philanthropy.


Estate planning is for everyone, regardless of age or assets, because estate plans allow you to provide for the people and causes you care about most.

When creating or updating your estate plans, consider including a charitable bequest to MSU. By leaving a percentage of your estate to MSU, you can provide a generous estate gift yet retain your assets during your lifetime.

The Hakas included a bequest to MSU in their personal trusts. You can also make a bequest to MSU by specifying a dollar amount or percentage in your will or trust. It’s a simple way to make a difference without affecting your current cash flow, assets, or lifestyle and it’s easy to revise if your circumstances change.

To explore any giving option at MSU, contact the University Development officer in your college or unit, or call (517) 884-1000 or visit

To learn more about planning your estate contact the Office of Gift Planning at 517 884-1000 or to discuss options as you are developing your estate plans and wish to remember MSU through a charitable bequest. 

Or visit for bequest language and other helpful information, including an online tool to explore the financial benefits of various estate plan options and charitable strategies.

Author: Devon Barrett