The Blake and Mary Krueger University Distinguished Fellowship, a lead gift in the Empower Extraordinary capital campaign, helps support the next generation of researchers and problem solvers at MSU.

Blake and Mary Krueger

The generosity of two Michigan State University alumni will bring an elite graduate student to study at MSU each year. Blake and Mary Krueger, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, created MSU’s first donor-funded University Distinguished Fellowship with a private donation in April 2014. The University Distinguished Fellowship is a leadership program designed to attract and support the next generation of researchers and problem solvers.

The Blake and Mary Krueger University Distinguished Fellowship is awarded annually to one of MSU’s most talented new doctoral students, with the first award made in the fall of 2014. The fellowship provides for tuition, health insurance and a stipend for the graduate student for the five years of his/her doctoral program. University Distinguished Fellowships are valuable tools in recruiting the best and brightest graduate students to study at Michigan State.

“Graduate students are the cornerstone of a strong research program and are critical building blocks for excellence in every academic area,” says Karen L. Klomparens, former Associate Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School. The Krueger Distinguished Fellowship allows MSU to recruit the best domestic doctoral students to study with our talented faculty at MSU. Much like recruiting top athletes, our faculty need to compete nationally to recruit top doctoral students to study here. And recruiting the best graduate students can also help attract the top faculty to come to MSU.

“It is our hope that this fellowship endowment will allow MSU to attract graduate students that they would not have otherwise been able to bring to study at Michigan State,” says Blake Krueger. “It is important for us that our alma mater continues to be able to compete at the highest levels in graduate education."

Blake and Mary met as undergraduate students at MSU. Mary obtained a BS from the College of Natural Science in 1977, and a second BS from the College of Engineering in 1979. She went on to obtain an MS in engineering management from Western Michigan University, and then worked as an engineer for the State of Michigan’s Air Quality Division of the Department of Environmental Quality before retiring to stay home with the couple’s four children. Blake graduated from as a member of MSU’s Honors College in 1975 with a BA in business administration. He went on to obtain a JD at Wayne State University in 1978. He received magna cum laude honors in both degree programs. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board, CEO and President of Wolverine World Wide, Inc., a New York Stock Exchange listed international marketer of footwear, apparel and accessories.

Blake and Mary are both very active in the Grand Rapids community, participating in many volunteer efforts. They are viewed as Spartan leaders in West Michigan for their devotion to their alma mater. They believe strongly in the mission of higher education, working to involve others in supporting the work of Michigan State University, and are proud to establish the first donor-funded University Distinguished Fellowship at MSU.

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