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MSU philanthropy at work: Venice Smith

All gifts, no matter what size, are significant.

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Before she became a member of the All University Campaign Cabinet two years ago, D. Venice Smith (’77, Social Science) was pretty sure that most donors had pots of gold hidden somewhere.

Today she knows that all gifts, no matter the size, are significant. And she says the best part of being on the cabinet is sharing that message with fellow employees.

“If every MSU employee contributed to our university each year, just think of how much good it would do,” she said. Venice is a member of MSU’s Presidents Club donor society and has supported many MSU initiatives with her gifts including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund, Wharton Center’s Seats 4 Kids Fund and the Residence Halls Activities Fund.

Venice joined the MSU staff in 1992 as the multicultural development coordinator in the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. She leads the educational and development efforts of the office, including designing and implementing workshops that address a wide variety of diversity and inclusion related topics as well as consulting and coaching on diversity and inclusion matters throughout the MSU community.

Passionate about her work and MSU, Venice believes that being “a goodwill ambassador” for MSU is part of going the extra mile. “If you are really a Spartan, you are concerned with what you can do to make MSU better,” she said.

She strives to take that positive approach wherever she goes. Not long ago, she noticed two students carrying obviously heavy bins across campus. She offered to give them a ride to their destination at Hubbard Hall. The gratitude and enthusiasm of the students made her day.

“Whenever I give, I always receive more back than I gave,” she said.