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New Professorship Helps to Create Human Resource Leaders

"The endowed professorship will support faculty who are leaders in research and teaching, which will help to attract outstanding students."

Donna and Marvin Zischke with SHRLR leadership

When Donna Zischke was a Michigan State University undergraduate in the late 1960s and early 1970s, she probably didn’t realize the impact she would one day have on her alma mater.

Now, after a distinguished career at MSU, she and her husband Marvin are providing the means for the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations’ (SHRLR) to attract prominent faculty and outstanding students equipped for innovation and leadership in the human resources profession.

Through a combination of their philanthropic vision for MSU and their comprehensive estate planning, the Zischkes have pledged a significant future gift to fund the Donna and Marvin Zischke Endowed Professorship in SHRLR which will enable the recruitment and perpetual funding of a faculty member who is prominent in the human resources discipline with an exceptional record of achievements.

In addition, Donna and Marvin pledged annual cash contributions to establish the Donna and Marvin Zischke Scholarship in SHRLR. Both the professorship and scholarship are endowed funds that will provide valuable long-term stability in the school. The couple sees the two gifts as interrelated.

“The endowed professorship will support faculty who are leaders in research and teaching, which will help to attract outstanding students,” Donna says. “We see the scholarship as a way to help provide access to higher education and as an investment in outstanding students who will be future leaders in the human resources field.”

Donna, an Honors College and Social Science alumna who earned her Psychology degree in 1971 and her Master’s in Human Resources and Labor Relations in 1981, served MSU for 43 years in Academic Human Resources in the Office of the Provost, the last several as director. She also served as the associate director for the Committee on Institutional Cooperation’s Academic Leadership Program from 1995 through

2001. Marvin (’70, Zoology) enjoyed a successful career as a corporate insurance specialist with the Michigan Bankers Association. “I was fortunate to have earned my degrees at Michigan State and to have spent my entire career at MSU,” Donna says. “Through my work, I came to understand the value of endowed professorships as a way of increasing the quality of the faculty and the value of the exceptional education that MSU provides.”

The Zischkes’ generosity will greatly improve the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations’ (SHRLR) ambition to be the leading school of its kind in the world, says SHRLR Director Bill Cooke.

“In keeping with Donna’s longstanding reputation across the MSU academic community for her exemplary leadership in human resources, these major gifts from Donna and Marv will attract top scholars and graduate students to MSU who will carry on Donna’s legacy of human resource leadership,” says Cooke. “We are all truly grateful for the Zischkes’ gracious investment in our School’s future.”

Donna says creating the endowments was a way to express the couple’s appreciation to MSU for all the benefits afforded to them by education and employment.