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You Led the Way

matthew anderson and his wife

You Led the Way

Making a $5,000 gift to MSU is out of reach for most recent graduates. But Matthew Anderson wasn’t going to let that hold him back.

His graduation from The School of Hospitality Business in 2009 coincided with a fundraising campaign for the Culinary Learning Lab. Gifts of $5,000 would be recognized by naming a seat in the lab’s theater. Matthew wanted to support his school and the future students who would enjoy the lab, so he recruited three friends to join him in making the donation. Between the four of them—and the ability to make a pledge for giving over five years—they were among the first and the youngest to name a seat. And Matthew’s generosity—and ambition—hasn't slowed down since.

Today, he’s a father of three who is responsible for five companies. He also serves on the alumni board for the school, and he’s a driving force behind an endowment to provide current hospitality business students with the opportunity to participate in the world-renowned Dale Carnegie Course. The program helps build a person’s confidence, develops their people and communication skills, focuses on leadership, and teaches tools to deal with stress­—all skills that are valuable to college students and emerging professionals.

“I wished I had taken the course before I graduated,” says Matthew, “I would have been a better leader for my first teams, instead of an average manager. Now I’m committed to help current students get this opportunity so they can be great future leaders.”

Matthew joined with a fellow alumnus to name the fund the Ronald F. and Shelley G. Cichy Hospitality Business Student Leaders Endowment, in honor of the former director of The School, Dr. Ron Cichy, and his spouse, Shelley. To date, nearly 250 students have had the opportunity to experience a series of three half-day professional development programs, and over 50 have completed the full Dale Carnegie Course. These students are already honing their new skills as student leaders in Hospitality Association events, clubs, and the executive board.

Matthew says his strong support for MSU stems from the support he received from alumni as a student. 

“I was given so much as a Spartan student,” says Matthew. “The university, faculty, staff, and alumni provided me with opportunities that enriched my life. Now it’s my turn to give back.”