September 12, 2014
Confidence in Albion College’s future, excitement about the presidency of Mauri Ditzler, and an appreciation for Mike Frandsen’s interim presidency all were expressed through a significant gift announced near the conclusion of President Ditzler’s inauguration ceremony September 12.
Together on stage, J. Donald Sheets, ’82, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, and his wife, Angela Scott Sheets, ’82, shared the news of their $1-million gift to the College to establish an endowed scholarship fund for future students.
“Angela and I met while we were students at Albion, and our Albion experience truly has shaped our lives,” said Don, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Dow Corning Corp. in Midland. “It has given us the knowledge and the confidence to achieve whatever measure of success we have earned.”
“Our gift will be used to endow a scholarship that will provide future generations of students with the same opportunities to learn and grow that Don and I enjoyed at this amazing institution,” said Angela, who worked in advertising and public relations before devoting her time to volunteer leadership roles with Midland civic groups and Albion College admission efforts.
“We know this scholarship will make a difference in students’ lives,” Angela continued. “We want to make it possible for everyone who wants to go to Albion to do so.”
The Sheets’ gift is driven by today’s realities as much as by inspiration. They cite a liberal arts education—with its critical-thinking focus, intellectual flexibility, and global outlook—as crucial preparation for 21st-century college graduates.
“We need institutions like Albion,” Don says. “Many of us work in teams drawn from around the world to collaborate and share and learn and develop. The world is rushing to where liberal arts graduates are best equipped to go. We need more people with these broader intellectual skills.”
In announcing the gift, the couple expressed their appreciation to Frandsen, who recently left the College after serving as interim president during the 2013-14 academic year following nine years as a professor and administrator. With an eye on the future, under Ditzler’s leadership, Angela said she and her husband look forward to “sharing our Albion with others” through this gift.
“Don and I love this wonderful institution,” Angela said, “and genuinely believe that a strong Albion College changes lives. It changes the lives of students, and it changes the lives of all who live and work in this state, this region, and this country.
“We want to see Albion continue to thrive for generations. It is therefore critical to help equip President Ditzler to lead our alma mater to new distinction.”
The gift is also intended to serve as a catalyst, encouraging others to give.
“Remember the role that Albion has played in your life,” said Don, speaking directly to alumni. “You can’t deny that it had a great impact. Now is the time, in particular, when the College needs to be affordable for students. We must expand our reach, and we need the resources to do it."