The (Extraordinary) Fruits of Labor
Edwin L. Carpenter loved three things in life: working, agriculture, and MSU.
As a result of his lifelong commitment to work—and the fruits of a career that lasted through age 90—Carpenter was able to make a gift upon his death in 2014 that jointly honored his two other loves: a $1.6 million donation to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. "He was very proud of giving to MSU," Carpenter's nephew, Tom Carpenter, said. "I think it is amazing what my uncle did and the legacy he left."
Although the amount of his last contribution may have suggested otherwise, Carpenter did not live a lavish lifestyle, nor was he the benefactor of old family money. He was a hard-working man who lived simply and saved money.
Born the son of a dairy farmer in Union City, Michigan, in 1916, Carpenter adopted his work ethic early in life.
With his younger brother Bob still at home to help with the farm, Carpenter was presented with an opportunity not many farm kids had at the time: a chance to go to college.
Carpenter graduated from MSC in 1941 with a degree in agriculture and natural resources and returned to the family farm before serving his country in World War II. Upon his discharge, Carpenter came back home where he farmed alongside his brother Bob, growing corn, soybeans, oats, and hay.
His friend and neighbor Frank Hull told MSU: "Ed felt it was a great honor to be able to go to MSU (Michigan State College at the time). Although he didn't talk about it much, Hull believes one of the reasons Carpenter left his final gift to the college was to give "MSU farm kids" the same chance he had been given.
As a result of his contribution, the Edwin L. Carpenter Endowed Fund for CANR was created in 2015. An unrestricted endowment, the funds will be used at the discretion of the CANR dean, who can choose a different project each year.
"For our dean to have this resource is incredibly valuable," explained Tami Baumann, senior director of development for CANR. "It improves our ability to offer special programs that prepare and retain students. Because of the fund, we will be able to create advantages for a new generation of CANR students—all thanks to our friend Mr. Carpenter."
Use Your Bounty for Good
Large or small, a gift in your will to MSU advances knowledge and transforms students' lives. To learn more, contact MSU Office of Gift Planning at 800 232-4678 | 517 884-1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.