Hickman Family Gifts $6M to MSU to Fund Cancer Research

Michigan State University in East Lansing announced that alumni Stephen Hickman, his wife Sally, their daughters Stephanie Hickman Boyse and Tracy Hickman, and Tracy’s spouse Chad Munger, have joined together to make a $6 million gift to support cancer research and treatment at Michigan State University.
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The Hickman family came together to donate $6 million for cancer research to Michigan State University. // Courtesy of MSU
The Hickman family came together to donate $6 million for cancer research to Michigan State University. // Courtesy of MSU

Michigan State University in East Lansing announced that alumni Stephen Hickman, his wife Sally, their daughters Stephanie Hickman Boyse and Tracy Hickman, and Tracy’s spouse Chad Munger, have joined together to make a $6 million gift to support cancer research and treatment at Michigan State University.

The gift will create a $3 million expendable fund that will fuel research and initiatives that advance the standard of care in veterinary and human medicine, including a clinical innovations program in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The remaining $3 million will establish the Hickman Family Endowed Chair in Oncology, which will take advantage of the synergy between veterinary and human medicine to develop diagnostic and therapeutic tools to fight cancer in people and animals.

“These gifts will support work offering great promise for human and animal health care,” says Dr. Samuel L. Stanley, president of MSU. “I’m grateful for the Hickman family’s confidence in Michigan State’s stewardship of their generosity. Such transdisciplinary research is a vital element of the excellence and impact MSU’s strategic planning envisions.”

Stephen graduated in 1964 with a business degree, Stephanie in 1990 from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Tracy in 1988 with a degree in interior design, and Chad in 1988 from the College of Arts & Letters.

The Hickman family’s roots are in Adrian, where Steve’s father helped found Brazeway Inc., which today is the one of the world’s largest producer of innovative aluminum components for the HVAC, automotive, appliance, and commercial refrigeration industries.

To the same degree that Brazeway was the family business, philanthropy became a family tradition that now spans three generations and has made a transformative impact in a variety of areas, in their home communities and beyond.

“We feel a responsibility to give back to a community that has been good to us,” says Steve. “Our giving started out in small doses, but now we are focused on making an impact that takes us to a whole new level.”

“MSU reaches into small communities and collaborates. We recognize the depth of MSU and the resources it has to make a difference,” adds Sally.

Contributing to work that advances efforts to vanquish cancer has long been a philanthropic priority for the Hickmans, and the family says they have been impressed by MSU’s collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to research and its commitment to improving access to quality health care across the state.

“The Hickman family is inspirationally purpose-driven,” says Dr. Norman J. Beauchamp, executive vice president for health sciences at MSU. “They share our commitment to hastening the pace at which the most promising advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment are made available to all. This is a gift that fosters integration, collaboration, and synergy, now and in the decades to come.”

The deans of the College of Human Medicine and the College of Veterinary Medicine noted that the Hickmans’ generosity builds on the capacity of the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering at MSU.

“The endowed chair will support a translational scientist at the very highest caliber,” says Birgit Puschner, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “One who in turn will attract other clinicians and researchers to our clinical innovations program.”

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