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Diving In

"Students are the reason we're here. I felt like it was part of my job to be involved, to make connections with them--and I've met some great ones." -Tom Luccock

Diving In

When Tom Luccock talks about MSU, he does so with such fondness and familiarity that it’s easy to forget he didn’t actually go to school here.

Tom became a Spartan by trade in 2000, when he came to MSU to be the director of the Internal Audit Department. Rather than uproot his wife, Cathy, from a great career of her own in their hometown of Tulsa, Tom lived in East Lansing during the week, and commuted home to Oklahoma on weekends.

But even with one foot still in Oklahoma, Tom embraced his other new title, “Spartan,” wholeheartedly. The fact that his apartment was in an MSU residence hall—right in the thick of undergraduate hustle and bustle—probably helped a little. But mostly, he embraced it because that’s how Tom is. He gets involved. He makes connections. He cares deeply. He just…dives in.  

It’s obvious that working with students was one of the things he loved most about his career at MSU. “Students are the reason we’re here,” Tom says. “I felt like it was part of my job to be involved, to make connections with them—and I’ve met some great ones.”

He liked having student interns around in the audit office, and he found that he learned just as much from them as they from him.

Tom and Cathy were always inspired by the things students were capable of, which led them to create three scholarship endowments. The latest, the Thomas and Catherine Luccock Men’s Swimming Scholarship Endowment, is a testament to two outstanding former student-athletes Tom is proud to call his friends.

When Tom met Jake Austermann (’14, Business) and David Zoltowski (’15, Engineering), both were long distance swimmers, just as dedicated in the classroom as they were to their sport. And both found a great mentor in Tom.

Jake, who interned for Tom in the summer of 2013, works as a real estate consultant for Plante Moran in Detroit. David, who was awarded the Churchill Scholarship and went on to study at Cambridge, welcomed the Luccocks to England for a visit over Thanksgiving in 2015. He is now pursuing his PhD in neuroscience at Princeton. They keep in touch with Tom—for life advice, or just to catch up.

Their friendship, and being able to watch their lives and successes unfold, has meant the world to Tom and Cathy. And when they decided to create a scholarship endowment in swimming, it wasn’t about creating a legacy for themselves, it was about cementing David’s and Jake’s places in MSU swimming history, and honoring future swimmers who are following in their footsteps.

For his own devotion to MSU, Tom received the 2017 Honorary Alumni Award at this fall’s Alumni Grand Awards Gala (see video).

And even though he retired in 2015, watching the ripple effect of his mentorship and his giving has helped him feel like he’s still immersed in MSU.

“It means something to me,” Tom says, “to be able to honor the students I’ve connected with by creating scholarships that will make an impact on the next generation of students like them.”

Author: Devon Barrett