December 22, 2009
When Tom Maleck (Engineering, ’66; ’72; ’80) began his tenure as university traffic engineer and Civil and Environmental Engineering professor, he did not foresee the influence disabilities would have in his life. He recently created the Michael J. Hudson Emerging Opportunities Endowment to provide resources that meet the unique needs of students with disabilities, including those welcomed by the new MSU Disabled Veterans Assistance Program. This new endowment commemorates Tom’s sustained partnership with Michael Hudson, director of MSU’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD).
Tom first met Mike in 1995 on the All-University Traffic and Transportation Committee. One of the committee’s main initiatives was to make campus safer for pedestrians. Collaboration between the two men helped to transform MSU’s traffic intersections, helping to keep pedestrians out of harm’s way, especially those with visual impairments. Thanks in large part to their ongoing work, MSU has reduced traffic injuries on campus by 90 percent over the past decade.
The new endowment honors Hudson’s and Maleck’s contributions to MSU, but was also due to the Maleck family’s dedication to opportunities for people with disabilities. Tom’s wife Ellen, for example, is a retired principal and special education director in Ovid-Elsie Area Schools.
The RCPD will now have an increased ability to finance new endeavors that transform the center’s outreach, like the traffic and transportation committee did. “The RCPD is filled with great ideas that just need a few resources to get started and become a reality,” Hudson noted.
One of the foremost ideas for use of the endowment is to provide resources for veterans with disabilities, in honor of Maleck’s daughter, a veteran of Desert Storm. Hudson notes that while the RCPD has worked with veterans for many years, the need is more apparent given new university initiatives welcoming disabled veterans and the presence of many veterans who have come out of recent global conflicts.
“The endowment will support the RCPD belief that disabilities need not limit achievement and will create new opportunities for students and faculty at MSU,” Hudson said. “The RCPD will use the endowment to ensure we uphold the highest standards for our veterans and others with needs we can address. This endowment is critical given the shortfalls in state and general fund dollars.”
The endowment funds are to be used at the director’s discretion for current challenges, the evolution of the RCPD, and emerging needs. Maleck says he hopes others will contribute and help it grow into a significant program. “I know Mike will take this and do something very important with it,” he said.
For more information on making a gift to the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, contact Director of Development Ann Marie Lindley at (517) 432-7543; or visit http://www.rcpd.msu.edu/Contributions/Home.