Transformed by Education
Jeanne Day Gives Back
It was only $100. But for Jeanne Day (’51, Social Science), the scholarship was everything.
The only child in a rural Michigan family, Jeanne grew up feeling alone. “It was the Depression,” she says, “and we were a dysfunctional family—the lowest of the lower class.” She missed fourth grade because she didn’t have shoes.
Then, when she was 11, her family moved to Midland, into “a real house with running water and an honest-to-God icebox.” There was also a city library. “I read my way through that library, starting with the Nancy Drew mysteries and moving up and down the shelves to history and science.”
Her senior year of high school, Jeanne completed an MSU scholarship exam. She’s never forgotten opening the letter stating she was Midland County’s winner. “It was just $100 a term,” she says, “but that letter gave me a feeling of worth that changed my whole life.”
At MSU, she found a “beautiful, welcoming world” of challenging conversation and rigorous coursework. She also met her future husband, a gentle and kind accounting student named Denver Day (’51, Business).
In 1960, they moved to the Los Angeles area, where they worked full-time while also rehabbing and managing apartment buildings. Jeanne earned two master’s degrees and a pilot’s license. “Denver wasn’t naturally adventuresome,” she laughs, “but boy, he went along with it.”
From the start, the couple resolved to give back to MSU. Over the years, they increased their giving through charitable trusts and charitable gift annuities, and eventually, the Denver and Jeanne Day Endowed Scholarship Fund.
Now, letters from recipients make Jeanne’s day. “They’re bursting with vitality and goals,” she says. “Boy, that hits the ball right in middle field for me.”
Denver passed away in 2013, but Jeanne takes comfort in having shared a life lived to the fullest—starting at MSU.
Education Changes Lives
To learn more about assisting MSU students while protecting your future, contact MSU Office of Gift Planning at 800 232-4678 | 517 884-1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.