Skip to Main Content
Make a Difference Giving to Michigan State University

Legacy Continues Through Endowed Chair

Whyte's work is inspiring students, impacting communities

Legacy Continues Through Endowed Chair

These days, Kyle Whyte is thinking about past and future generations.

As a philosopher and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Whyte came to Michigan State University in the hope of addressing climate change and environmental issues, specifically within communities and tribal nations.

Whyte, a professor and inaugural Timnick Chair in the Humanities within the MSU College of Arts & Letters, holds a deep understanding of the dynamic core issues facing the groups. His work not only fits perfectly with the chair he holds, it closely aligns with the university’s land-grant mission, as Whyte works directly with the communities he serves. 

Leading by Example

Teaching and improving its quality is a priority for Whyte.

“When I see students’ high energy, ambitions and ideas, I become so motivated to support them in achieving their goals,” Whyte said. “For many university grads, our best experiences were with particular teachers.”

Connecting individually with students is also something Whyte places high importance on. Demonstrating leadership qualities, collaborating well with others or simply having a sense of humor are all traits Whyte strives to model for students.

Whyte admits he is inspired by the mother of Henry Timnick, who endowed the Timnick Chair.

“Ottilie Timnick wasn’t a professor but she modeled qualities in her life that are also important ones in the classroom,” Whyte said. “She was an amazing human being. And even though she’s passed on, she’s guiding my work every day.”

Author: Sarah Wardell