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Psychology faculty honored with endowment

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The benefits MSU students receive from the mentorship of MSU faculty and staff can never be underestimated. Two alumni, Stephen Gilliland (Social Science, M.A ’90, Ph.D. ’92) and Jaclyn Jensen (Social Science, M.A. ’04, Ph.D. ’06), can attest to that.
Gilliland and Jensen were so appreciative of the education they received at MSU, that they made leadership gifts to spearhead a fundraising effort to create an endowment in the name of their mentors in Industrial/Organizational Psychology in the College of Social Science. The Ilgen-Schmitt Endowed Graduate Fellowship is named after Dan Ilgen and Neal Schmitt, professors in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.
Schmitt, department chairperson and university distinguished professor, and Ilgen, the John A. Hannah distinguished professor in Psychology and Management, set examples their students find difficult to replicate. Gilliland fondly remembers Schmitt’s extraordinary responsiveness during the preparation of his dissertation. “I felt great satisfaction upon turning in an initial draft of more than 200 pages. Not only had I completed the draft, but now it was off my desk and onto Neal’s. The next morning I arrived at the office and the draft was waiting on my desk. Like fairies that work in the night, Neal had somehow managed to read and provide substantive comments on the entire draft in less than 24 hours. I realized at that point that he was setting an example of mentorship that I would always try, but never truly be able to live up to. To this day, I don’t know how he did it,” Gilliland said.
Jenson recalls Ilgen’s unfailing encouragement and commitment to his students. “It’s hard to think of just one example that best characterizes Dan and his contribution to the I/O program,” she said. “He was generous with his time and resources, and was a constant source of support during my time at MSU. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor and will be forever thankful for his wisdom and his role in my development as a scholar.”
While the two former students played a leadership role in initiating the Ilgen-Schmitt endowment, it is the two honorees themselves that helped ensure its growth and prosperity in the future. Dan and his spouse Barbara Ilgen, and Neal and his spouse Kara Schmitt, had already made planned gifts to MSU. Both couples were so touched by the former students’ efforts to create this fund, that they each made provisions to designate part of their estate gifts for the Ilgen-Schmitt Endowed Graduate Fellowship. 
“We’re honored that some of our former students initiated the establishment of this fund in our names. Both Dan and I feel that privately supported graduate fellowships are key to the ongoing success and reputation of the Industrial/Organizational Psychology Program at MSU,” commented Schmitt. Ilgen concurs. “Without  ongoing fellowship and other forms of graduate student funding,  the program would not be able to attract the high caliber of graduate students needed for the program’s success. It is a pleasure to support this initiative,” Ilgen said.
Both Ilgen and Schmitt are distinguished scholars in the field of industrial/organizational psychology. MSU’s Industrial/Organizational Psychology Program has been ranked No. 1 nationally for the last ten years. This endowment fund honoring two of its faculty leaders will certainly help to contribute to the program’s prestigious academic reputation for years to come.
For more information on making a gift to the Ilgen-Schmitt Graduate Fellowship or to the College of Social Science, contact Senior Director of Development Sarah Blom at (517) 432-1802.