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Erickson Fellowship still growing to help nontraditional students

Mildred B. Erickson (right)

Mildred B. Erickson was a committed advocate for encouraging older women to commence or resume interrupted education at MSU. Today, her memory and mission continue to inspire donors across campus and beyond to help both men and women to resume their studies.

In 1974, the Mildred B. Erickson Fellowship was established to honor Dr. Erickson who served as the director of Adult Student Advising and assistant dean for Lifelong Education Programs at MSU.

Mildred was known as a tireless advocate for adult students, devoting her career to helping nontraditional students attend college and attain the self-respect and credibility that accompany an education. Her legacy of support for this growing group of students and their unique needs continues to be fulfilled through the fellowship. Over the last ten years, the endowment has provided over 162 men and women with support totaling $290,012. This fellowship is administered by a group of 20 passionate MSU staff, retirees and community members who serve on a board of directors. This past December, Board Vice-Chairperson Richard (Dick) Northrup, along with his wife Mary Jane and the Mildred B. Swanson Foundation, made a challenge gift to raise funds in support of the fellowship. To date, the challenge has generated nearly $25,000 in new income for the endowment and continues to seek new support.

“Being involved with this fellowship is satisfying for my wife and me because we can see the direct result of our contributions. We feel good about the students we are supporting, we know we are changing lives by giving someone access to education,” Dick said.

Now, more than ever, the demand for tuition, fees and book support is significant. True to the spirit of Mildred’s legacy, the fellowship bearing her name plays an instrumental role in helping make college a reality for many who otherwise would not finish their degree.

Judi Brown Clarke, the current chair of the fellowship board, represents the sentiments of the board members and of many who contribute to the Mildred B. Erickson Fellowship. “It is my utmost pleasure to serve on this board and to provide non-traditional students with access to educational opportunities that prepare them for the changing world of work in order to assume positions of leadership in their communities, the state and globally.”

The Northrup – Swanson Challenge is still matching gifts to further the mission of the endowment. To make a gift or learn more about this endowment, contact Student Affairs and Services Director of Development Ann Marie Lindley at (517) 432-7543;