Michigan State receives $12.6M to establish endowed chairs

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Dr. Dehn
Dr. Albert C. Dehn (Courtesy of MSU CVM)

The Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine has received the largest single gift in its history: $12.6 million from the estate of the late alumnus Dr. Albert C. Dehn. The gift will initially fund two new endowed chairs in the Large Animal Clinical Science and the Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigations departments, with a plan that the gift could eventually support four more endowed positions, according to a Feb. 6 university announcement.

After earning his DVM degree from MSU in 1950, Dr. Dehn returned to his hometown of Abbotsford, Wisconsin, where he practiced for his entire career, primarily treating the cows on local dairy farms. Dr. Dehn also served on the board of the local bank and spent his life quietly giving back to his community.

“While the magnitude of this gift is unprecedented, the motivation is not,” said Dr. John Baker, dean of the veterinary college, in the release. “Our culture of humble philanthropy is well-known and well-documented here. It’s not uncommon for us to receive estate gifts from alumni who maintained a quiet passion for the college and its mission over decades.”

Both departments in the veterinary college are recognized as a source of important research, from identifying the effects of bacteria in autoimmune disorders, to investigating the implications of antimicrobial resistance and protecting the food chain, to understanding airway cell damage and repair in connection with the effects of airborne pollution.

“Endowed chairs enhance the quality of the faculty and the educational experience, which is the foundation for academic excellence,” said Lou Anna K. Simon, Michigan State president, in the release. “We are especially grateful that Dr. Dehn chose to support one of our most important priorities—the academic program. This gift will enable us to attract faculty leaders in veterinary medicine with stable support to actively engage in leading-edge work.”

The Albert C. and Lois E. Dehn chairs will be established at the veterinary college sometime this year. The college is in the process of identifying qualified candidates for the initial chairs.