How do you express your love and appreciation for a spouse upon 50 years of marriage?
That was the question facing Dr. James Mitchell, who, as dean of SVSU’s College of Business and Management from 1979 to 1992, guided the college through a period of significant growth.
“Barbara and I were celebrating our 50th anniversary,” he says, “and I didn’t know what to get her. She had always loved to sing and had studied vocal music and sung with various choirs throughout our marriage. So I thought a vocal music scholarship in her name would be a nice gesture.”
When the couple went to their anniversary dinner, Dr. Mitchell concealed the scholarship acknowledgement letter from SVSU’s then-president, Eric Gilbertson, keeping it out of sight until dessert.
When he presented Barbara with her gift, “she was surprised and touched,” he recalls. “It’s nice to think that the scholarship, in Barbara’s name, will be helping students in a study she loved. And an endowment means ‘forever.’”
The idea of “forever” was so appealing to Dr. Mitchell that he decided to establish another endowed fund, this time in his own name. The James L. Mitchell Endowment for the College of Business and Management will be funded through Dr. Mitchell’s estate plan.
“My hope is that students will be able to fill the gaps in their ability to pay for college, helping ease some of their debt.
“SVSU was very good to me,” he says. “There’s no shortage of worthy organizations to support, but I wanted to do something for the place that had done a lot for me. Including SVSU in my estate plan was easy, and it means I’ll be able to leave a legacy that will help deserving students.”