Sept. 29, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State University has announced a $1 million gift from Mark and Nancy Hollis to support an academic scholarship endowment, improvements to Spartan Stadium and arts programming at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum and the Wharton Center for Performing Arts.
Both are MSU graduates and work on campus: Mark Hollis serves as the director of Intercollegiate Athletics, and Nancy Hollis works in the study abroad program.
They were clear it was important their gift had a strong academic component. Nearly half the donation is committed to scholarships, providing $460,000 to establish the Hollis Family Endowed Scholarship, which will award financial support for Michigan resident undergraduate students with strong academic credentials. An additional $40,000 supports arts enrichment activities at the Broad Art Museum and Wharton Center.
"I believe in the theory that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts," Mark Hollis said. "We have amazing things happening across our campus, and everyone should be supportive of the collective accomplishments. Providing half of our gift to academic areas is our way of saying thank you to those that work at our university."
The remainder of the gift is designated for the North End Zone project at Spartan Stadium, specifically to help build the room that will host recruits for all varsity athletic teams.
"From my position, I understand the impact that first-rate facilities have on the quality of an intercollegiate athletics program," said Hollis, who was named athletics director in 2008. "My family and I wanted to join other donors to support this expansion of Spartan Stadium, which is critical to the future of the football program and will improve the entire athletics program."
MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said Mark and Nancy Hollis have been tireless supporters of MSU and the Spartan community.
"This gift promises the Hollis' leadership legacy will be felt in a new, very tangible way, and we are grateful for their generosity," Simon said. "Their gift will create new opportunities for current and future generations of Spartans across the university."
Mark Hollis graduated from MSU in 1985 from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences; Nancy graduated a year later from the College of Business.
"Nancy and I met as students at MSU; we believe that all we have accomplished in our lives was positively affected by those who have walked with us on the MSU campus," said Hollis, noting the appreciation for the influence people such as Jack Breslin and Jud Heathcote had on their lives. "We are appreciative of not only our parents and families for their support, but also of all the coaches, athletics staff and university employees who make MSU a special place to work."
Nancy Hollis said after growing up in Michigan, her family continues to live here because of all the state has to offer.
"Our goals in developing a scholarship fund is our way of trying to create a positive future for the state, as well as MSU," she said. "Along with our three children, Thomas, Kathryn and Michael, we look forward to creating opportunities for future Spartans with our gift."
MSU recently announced plans to significantly renovate the North End Zone of Spartan Stadium to address maintenance needs and update the facility's home and away locker rooms, media center, concessions areas and restrooms. The new facility will serve many functions related to the recruitment of Spartan student-athletes for all sports.
Endowed funds such as the newly established Hollis Family Endowed Scholarship differ from other funds in that the total amount of the gift is invested. Each year, only a portion of the invested income earned is spent while the remainder adds to principal growth, creating a perpetual gift. Endowed scholarship funds are critical to ensure MSU maintains a commitment to keeping its doors open to the best and the brightest regardless of their financial means.