Lyman Briggs College alumnus Mike McLelland and his wife, University of Michigan alumna Nancy McLelland, believe that a good college education is a critical building block in the path to a successful life. It was this firm belief that inspired the McLellands to make a gift of $600,000 to support the students of Lyman Briggs College. Half of this gift will be added to the McLelland Family Spartan Scholarship Challenge, an endowed scholarship program to assist LBC students in need of financial assistance. The remaining $300,000 will be used to support the Lyman Briggs Learning Assistants Endowment Fund.
Mike graduated from Lyman Briggs College in 1976 with a BS in biochemistry, and proceeded to the University of Michigan, where he earned his MBA in 1979. Before his retirement, he was the President and CEO of Berwind Corporation, a privately held investment management company in Philadelphia.
Mike chose Briggs because of his affinity for math and science, and the draw of a small college inside a major University. He especially enjoyed the breadth of the curriculum that included exposure to social sciences, the humanities and most importantly development of critical thinking skills.
Nancy earned both a bachelor's degree in Zoology and an MBA from the University of Michigan. The pair met during their graduate studies there. Nancy worked in commercial lending and corporate accounting before retiring to raise their family.
For over 25 years, Nancy has been a highly involved community volunteer. She is a past President and serves on the Board of Directors for the Home of the Sparrow, a non-profit focused on assisting homeless women to help them develop life skills to support their families. She also works with the Chester County Fund for Women and Girls, a community dedicated to ensuring women and girls have resources and opportunities to thrive, and the Community Volunteers in Medicine, a non-profit providing free healthcare to low-income individuals and families.
Supporting students with financial need is very important to the McLellands, which inspired them to create the McLelland Family Spartan Scholarship Challenge in 2010. "We've always been strong believers in education and the opportunities that a good education can provide you," said Nancy. "We've been very fortunate in our lives and a lot of it is a function of the educations we received at both Michigan State and Michigan."
In addition to supporting students in financial need, the McLellands are also avid supporters of the Learning Assistant program at Lyman Briggs. Learning assistants play an important role in the college. They facilitate collaboration in classroom labs, assisting with course instruction and maintaining labs. This valuable work experience reinforces their own understanding of the LBC curriculum, and allows them to serve as role models to incoming students as they adapt to the rigors of college study and life. For first generation college students, who have not been exposed to the college environment and may not be as prepared to succeed, Learning Assistants can help them get acclimated and increase their chances of graduating.