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Generations of green honored with endowments

Richard and Alma Frey

Alma Frey loved to cook. Although she never attended Michigan State University as a student in many ways she was the ultimate Spartan, helping to make MSU her family’s school and lending her prowess in the kitchen to many Spartan gatherings.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Alma met Richard Frey (’40, Business) in 1935 and waited for him to finish his Michigan State education so they could marry. The newlyweds spent their honeymoon in East Lansing, having married in Buffalo, New York on a Thursday in order to see the campus and spend Saturday watching Spartan football. It started a family tradition that lives on through their children, their children’s spouses and grandchildren.

A cross-country legend inducted into the Spartan Hall of Fame in 2007, Richard passed away in 2001 and Alma in 2010. The two were longtime members of the MSU Alumni Association and helped lead local clubs in Western New York for many years. Their daughter Barb Frey (’65 and ’67, Natural Science) together with her husband Nick Thines, recently established the Alma Frey MSU Libraries Cookery Collection Enrichment Fund to enhance the cookbook collections at the MSU Libraries in honor of Alma’s love of cooking and loyalty to Michigan State. They also hoped to commemorate her love of reading. Alma’s sweet and cheerful personality is something they wish to honor. 

“If all mother-in-laws were like her, there would be no mother-in-law jokes,” noted Nick. 

Barb and Nick, who chose to make planned gifts through bequest provisions in their will, are veterans in establishing endowments to support MSU. They previously created an endowment for scholarships for student-athletes in cross country to honor her father; one to fund scholarships in the College of Human Medicine in honor of a family physician; another to help small animal Veterinary Medicine students in recognition of Barb and Nick’s love of small animals; and an additional endowment in the College of Natural Sciences to support student internships at zoos to honor Barb’s College of Natural Science degrees. 

“The MSU degrees I received helped me succeed in a long and enjoyable community college teaching career,” Barb said. “In return, we hope to help others in several of our favorite areas of the university.” 

Barb and Nick also are donors to the Spartan Fund. 

They reside in Farmington Hills and were reunited at a high school reunion in Western New York in 1992. Like her parents, Barb has been active in the MSU Alumni Association and is a dedicated Spartan sports fan who claims she would watch tiddlywinks if MSU played it. It didn’t take long for Nick to catch on to her Spartan spirit. 

“It wasn’t hard,” he said. “Walking into Spartan Stadium that first time for my first Big Ten game was a memorable experience.” 

Whether through birth, marriage or something else, the love of Michigan State pervades the Frey/ Thines family. Their giving ensures their impact will live on for future generations of Spartans. 

To explore how you can remember a college or program through a charitable bequest to MSU, contact the Office of Gift Planning at (517) 884-1000.