$15M Raised to Build MSU Research Center in Grand Rapids


Michigan State University has received $15 million in gifts toward creating the MSU Grand Rapids Research Center, designed to support researchers looking into treatments and cures for Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and autism, among other health issues. The center, estimated to cost $88 million to build, is set to open by the end of 2017.

Richard and Helen DeVos gave $10 million, while Peter and Joan Secchia donated $5 million. Richard DeVos and Peter Secchia are co-founders of Amway.

“They have imagined and made a commitment to invest in the medical discoveries that are yet to come and believe this community will be a driving force in making them happen,” says Lou Anna K. Simon, president of Michigan State.

Simon says the center, to be located on the site of the former Grand Rapids Press building at the corner of Michigan Street and Monroe Avenue, will bring together Michigan State scientists and clinical-based faculty physicians with researchers at Michigan State’s partner institutions. She says the center will support 44 research teams poised for finding answers in inflammation, transplantation, genetics, pediatric neurology, Alzheimer’s disease, women’s health, and reproductive medicine, among other health areas.

“Michigan State’s research enterprise is ushering in a whole new era of medical discovery and there is no place we’d rather see that happen than Grand Rapids,” says Rich DeVos, co-founder of Amway.

Secchia, a 1963 graduate of Michigan State and the former U.S. ambassador to Italy, also provided the lead gift for the MSU College of Human Medicine’s headquarters in downtown Grand Rapids, known as the Secchia Center.

The private fundraising goal for the research center is $40 million. The other $44 million needed to build the center will be generated through research funding.

The MSU Grand Rapids Research Center is expected to generate 400 new jobs, along with an increase of more than $28 million in local annual spending, according to East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group.