Department of AD+PR Turns Alumni Support into Student Success

AD+PR Alumni Give Back in Countless Ways

By Haley Klein

Thousands of students spend their time at Michigan State University pursuing a degree in Communications Arts and Sciences. Many of us are unaware of how the college and Department of Advertising + Public Relations secure new opportunities for both students and faculty each year. ComArtSci boasts 62,000 alumni worldwide, and MSU University Advancement seeks to engage with those alumni and connect them with ways to give back.

MSU University Advancement is comprised of two major units: Alumni and Development. Alumni focuses on engaging and supporting MSU alumni worldwide. Development works with alumni and friends who are interested in financially contributing to MSU. Development has gained over 2,000 donors, generating over $1.6 million for the college annually.

Women poses in headshot photo

Laura Peek, MSU alumna and associate director in the Office of Gift Planning.

Laura Peek, an MSU alumna, is the associate director of gift planning, focused on the east side of Michigan. Her role is to help donors support their passions at MSU, and determine the best ways for them to contribute.

“The goal is to help create communities of donors, as well as talk with people about their interests at MSU,” said Peek. “We fundraise for anything and everything MSU. It’s about learning what the donor is most passionate about and helping them support that.”

Women posing in headshot photo

Melissa Wagasy, MSU alumna and associate director in the Office of Advancement, posing with Sparty.

Melissa Wagasy, an MSU alumna and associate director in MSU University Advancement, says that there are many ways for alumni to contribute. ADV 413 welcomes ComArtSci alumni to share their knowledge and experiences with students weekly. In 2018, the Media Sandbox Street Team was granted a donation from the MSU Federal Credit Union, allowing students to pursue nonprofit projects over the next five years. One project specifically, a Cherryland Humane Society trip to Traverse City, Michigan, was funded by alumna, Jill Byron. Several AD+PR scholarships are also made possible thanks to generous alumni support.

“It is our job to help people see MSU in the best light, and in the end, it comes back to what the students are accomplishing, and how we can help them do more,” said Wagasy.