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Make a Difference Giving to Michigan State University Make a Difference Giving to Michigan State University

Sometimes Speakers Create Writers

John says he and Heather were destined to give back to the institution that had given them so much.

John and Heather Hill

Great speakers can inject ideas and energy into entire departments and nudge students to think in completely new ways.

Jeff Grabill, professor and chair of the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC), wants to bring in more experiential opportunities for professional writing students, but the department has a short history. And limited resources.

Enter John (’97, Communication Arts and Sciences) and Heather (’97, CAS; ’12, Arts and Letters) Hill who recently made a $10,000 unrestricted pledge to the department. Heather is a master’s-level digital rhetoric and professional writing (DRPW) graduate who considers her recent student experience life changing. She says she knew it would feel wonderful to help deliver a similar experience for others.

“With the resources Heather and John Hill are providing, we will bring in world class people from industry, cultural institutions and universities,” says Grabill. “We will be able to provide experiences for our students that we would otherwise be unable to make available, and our ability to do so makes MSU distinctive.”

John says he and Heather were destined to give back to the institution that had given them so much. They met at Michigan State as students in Journalism 300; married at the MSU Alumni Chapel and eventually both worked on campus—he in the MSU Alumni Association and she in the Broad College of Business. Today, she is a web content manager for Stanford University, and he’s the higher education evangelist at social media giant, LinkedIn.

“We have both worked in higher education, so we have this very unique view of the importance of gifts and how much they mean to the lifeblood of the institution,” John says.

“We have seen what those gifts actually do,” adds Heather. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the DRPW program.”

For more information on making a gift to the College of Arts and Letters contact Director of Development Bridget Paff at paff@msu.edu or call (517) 353-4725.