Building a Healthy MSU
Veterinarian Kurt Dunckel ('78 Natural Science; '82 DVM, Veterinary Medicine), this year's winner of the Distinguished Alumni Award, sees giving as a "win, win, win."
Kurt Dunckel views life in broad strokes. When he talks about MSU, he talks not just about his education, but about the generations of his family who have attended the university, starting with his grandfather and continuing to his own two sons—the youngest of whom now uses a long board to travel the same streets Kurt once biked from the Brody complex to the Veterinary Medical Center.
He talks about the mentors who inspired his veterinary career but moves quickly to other areas at MSU—education, medicine, business, engineering and more—that have also earned nationwide and worldwide respect.
He talks about President Lou Anna K. Simon, admiring her penchant for improvement.
"I've never been satisfied to settle for the status quo," he says. "Advancement is how you thrive."
He talks about all that before coming to another value that has been passed down in his family.
"If your community doesn't thrive, your family doesn't either. If I give to Michigan State and that improves our state and our country, and even our world, I've improved the environment in which my family lives, and they do better, also," he says.
It helps explain why Kurt and his wife, Debbie, have made both short- and long-term commitments to MSU. Their 2012 gift to the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) launched a fundraising campaign for a state-of-the-art critical care facility that opened this year. They've also established a gift in their will (bequest) and a charitable remainder trust that will fund a residency at CVM.
"It was awesome to see the development of the emergency and critical care center," Kurt says. "But the charitable remainder trust and bequest financially help the giver and MSU both. We get income during our lifetime and when we die, MSU will get what's left in the trust."
In his big-picture perspective, there's nothing better. "It's helping us now and them later," he says. "It's a win, win, win."