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Schalon Scholars Fund aims to inspire volunteerism

By Lois Furry

Marcie Gast Shalon

Marcella (Marcie) Gast Schalon credits her family with teaching her the importance of making life better for others. She recently established the Schalon Scholars Fund in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences to support students who demonstrate academic achievement but who also have served non-prof it organizations as volunteers and have a plan for continuing their involvement after graduation. She hopes that the Schalon scholars will carry on her dedication to service as they use their MSU education to enhance their own lives and communities.

Having a heart for the work of nonprof its ref lects the life legacy of Marcie. For MSU, where she earned her BA ('46) and MA ('47) in social work, that has meant cash support that now totals $2.3 million. Early on, Marcie and her late husband, Ed Schalon, gave more than $200,000 during the 1992-1995 capital campaign. They became regular supporters of the Spartan Fund, Wharton Center for Performing Arts, the MSU Libraries Endowment Fund and MSU Safe Place.

A $1.7 million gift to the Eli Broad College of Business in the late 1990s established the William C. and Martha H. Gast Business Library Endowment in honor of her parents. Next, Marcie directed $450,000 to support MSU's Chance at Childhood Clinic, part of a pioneering program in which faculty and students from the School of Social Work and other disciplines work to train child welfare professionals to better serve abused and neglected children.

Her newest gift honors another member of her family also passionate about service, her daughter Susan K. Schalon ('73, Communication Arts and Sciences). Recently, mother and daughter joined together to become catalysts for the Silver Beach Center in St. Joseph, Michigan. Marcie became one of the lead donors for the project, a private-corporate-public collaboration that has transformed the area with unique tourist attractions including a carousel, a splash fountain, a children's museum and Michigan's tallest kaleidoscope.

She was inspired to establish the Schalon Scholars Fund to recognize her daughter's efforts to promote the Silver Beach project and secure its funding.

"Marcie Schalon is one of those special people who profoundly impacts everyone who comes to know her," said Pamela Whitten, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. "She and her late husband Ed have given so much to MSU, and we are so appreciative for her decision to honor her bright and thoughtful daughter Susan with this scholarship program to support students who wish to give back to their communities. And, we are uniquely grateful for the lessons Marcie teaches all regarding the importance of giving back as both a responsibility and a joy for a life well lived."

It was through a $200,000 cash gift and a $300,000 charitable gift annuity, that Marcie established the fund. A charitable gift annuity is a popular choice for donors who wish to provide a gift, while creating a guaranteed stream of income for one or two lives and receiving a charitable tax deduction representing a percent of the gift.

For their generous record of providing major, on-going f inancial support and leadership to Michigan State University, Marcie and Ed (posthumously) received the 2010 Philanthropist Award from the MSU Alumni Association. Marcie is a life member of the association.

For more information on making a gift to the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, contact Director of Development Cara Boef f at (517) 432-5672; boef