Raising the bar for packaging science

chuck and jackie frasier

Raising the bar for packaging science


Gifts from Chuck and Jackie Frasier spur renovations for the MSU School of Packaging building.

Michigan State created packaging science as we know it.

The School of Packaging was the first of its kind when established in 1952. Today, it’s the nation’s premier packaging program, offering the only Ph.D. degree in packaging in the U.S.

It’s also the nation’s largest. In fact, more than half of all packaging engineers employed in the U.S. are Spartans. And MSU packaging doctoral alumni are found in nearly every packaging school across the globe.

As much as the School of Packaging is among the academic jewels of MSU, the building that houses it is among the most modest. When it was last updated in 1986, students didn’t yet use computers in classes. The learning landscape has significantly changed since then. Likewise the scope of the packaging discipline has significantly expanded.

Study in the School of Packaging entails engineering materials—glass, paper, plastic, metals—to house and transport all manner of goods. There is also design and prototyping, economics and cost controls, environmental and sustainability issues. More specialized fields delve into print and graphics, robotics, laws and regulations and the unique requirements of industries like food, energy and healthcare. Packaging in one form or another affects everyone, everywhere.

Preparing the next generation of packaging leaders will require top-notch research facilities and spaces that promote teamwork.

Pending MSU Board of Trustees approval, a $7.5 million renovation has been proposed for the packaging building. One that will:

  • Replace stadium-style lecture halls with multifunctional spaces where students can reconfigure the furniture to work in groups or gather after classes to interact with industry leaders
  • Provide community environments for graduate students to interact while working
  • Offer world-class research laboratories
  • Create study spaces where students can plug in and recharge electronic devices

All of that made a lot of sense to School of Packaging alumnus Charles “Chuck” Frasier (’70) and his wife, Jacqueline “Jackie,” who recently gave a $1.5 million gift to jump-start the project.

Chuck founded and served as chief executive officer for packaging and shipping companies operating around the world. In 1981, he established Dixie Box and Crating. The first location opened in Charleston, South Carolina, and after just a few years, the company expanded to two more divisions. By the time Chuck sold the business in 2005, the company had grown to 11 divisions coast to coast. He says his time at Michigan State gave him the training and background he needed to launch and grow his companies, which have been successful for decades.

When Chuck and Jackie heard about the goals for the School of Packaging, they decided it was the perfect opportunity to give back to the school that gave him his start.

“My wife and I have no children. As we thought about getting our estate in order and learned about the School of Packaging’s plan for renovations, we decided it was a great opportunity to start giving back,” Chuck says.

Their gift will name what will become the new atrium in the School of Packaging building. Additionally, they have committed another $1.5 million to endow a professorship through an estate gift.

“Chuck and Jackie Frasier’s leadership and support for the School of Packaging will help transform a space that continues to produce business and industry leaders,” says Ron Hendrick, dean, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, where the School of Packaging resides.

To attract the next generation of faculty and students, it is imperative that our academic spaces and laboratories reflect what we are—the top school in packaging,” Hendrick said. “People like the Frasiers know that investing in our students, our faculty and our spaces allows us to continue to develop packaging as a science and become the starting places for students like Chuck was—curious and ambitious.”


LEARN MORE about making a gift to support the school of packaging project by contacting Senior Director of Development Tami Baumann at bauman13@msu.edu or calling (517) 355-0284; or visit go.msu.edu/packaging