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Thompson Scholars

SVSU Receives Largest Single Gift

$6 million gift to support Thompson Working Families scholarships

A Michigan couple is contributing millions to support their commitment of changing lives through education. Bob and Ellen Thompson believe that education can make a significant difference in everyone’s life. Their latest gift of $52 million is to support Thompson Working Families Scholarships. The Thompsons already have contributed $33 million to Thompson Working Families Scholarships and with this additional $52 million over 5,200 students will receive support at partnering institutions. 

Their latest gift to SVSU of $6 million to support the Thompson Working Families Scholarship is the largest single gift in university history.

“We deeply appreciate the Thompsons’ profound generosity and their show of faith in students from working families,” said Donald Bachand, SVSU president. “They have provided hope and opportunity to many capable students who thought a college degree might be out of reach financially. By supporting scholarships for four years, they provide motivation and support for those students to complete degrees and pursue meaningful careers.”

The Robert and Ellen Thompson Scholarship for Working Families was introduced at SVSU in 2016 and has since helped hundreds of students achieve their academic and career goals. The latest contribution will help even more students realize their desire to complete a college degree.

“The Working Families Scholarship was designed to help offset the funding gap that exists for many families. With the limits of federal and state support and the increase in costs, the gap has widened, especially for middle income families,” said Andy Bethune, executive director of the SVSU Foundation.

“We currently have 297 students who are receiving the Thompson Scholarship. That number will grow to a cohort of more than 450 students over the next few years.”

The funds will be put to use immediately, rather than placed into an endowment.

“The philanthropy of Mr. and Mrs. Thompson is a great example to others. It demonstrates their belief in our mission and will likely raise awareness of SVSU,” said Bethune. “The impact is significant as 100% of the funds go directly to student scholarships. This is especially important as we navigate these uncertain times.”


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