Chapins mark retirement with new 4-H endowment

Julie and Larry Chapin have created a new 4-H endowment in honor of their retirements.

Participation in the Ottawa County 4-H Program as a youth started Julie on a lifelong journey of engagement with MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development. Julie and Larry both were engaged as 4-H volunteers in Ottawa and Ingham counties. Julie’s career with MSU Extension included work with 4-H at the county, departmental and state levels. Each of these experiences contributed to a commitment to support these three aspects of

4-H work. It is their hope that this endowment will be used to help provide support to youth, volunteers and the staff members who recruit, train and support them.

“We believe giving back is as important as receiving the many gifts and benefits our engagement with MSU, Extension and 4-H have provided,” Julie said. “This endowment gift completes the cycle of the true purpose of 4-H and MSU Extension – ‘Making the Best Better’ – and improving lives through education.”

The Julie A. and Larry T. Chapin 4-H Endowment will provide unrestricted support for Michigan 4-H youth programs with priority to assisting with costs associated with 4-H program participation fees for youth participating in 4-H programs, volunteer training, or staff professional development.

Julie Chapin, an Ottawa County 4-H alumna and 4-H Emerald Clover Society member, has dedicated her 36-year career toward the positive development of young people through multiple MSU Extension and 4-H roles. Since 2010, she has served as director of the MSU Extension Children and Youth Institute and in that role also served as Michigan’s state 4-H leader and secretary of the Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees. In 1981, she began her career as an MSU Extension 4-H youth agent, then became a youth animal science specialist before serving as state 4-H program leader for volunteer development. Chapin is recognized nationally for her leadership in convening and directing the National Center for Action in Science and Technology and the National Network for Science and Technology, both dedicated to expanding youth opportunities to explore science and technology through formal and nonformal learning opportunities. She also helped launch the 4-H Club Read youth literacy initiative in response to Michigan’s commitment to have every child reading by grade three. She has been honored for her Extension service with the Michigan and National Distinguished Service Awards. Chapin is as active in supporting positive youth development in her private life as she is in her professional life. She has announced her retirement at the end of January 2018.

Larry Chapin retired earlier this year from the MSU Department of Animal Science where he conducted research. He also served as a 4-H volunteer and until recently, the Chapins worked with youth as Tae Kwon Do instructors and volunteered in their local community for the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity and the local band boosters.

“We encourage others to commit to helping make this world a better place for our next generations and give freely of their time and treasure throughout their lives,” Julie said.

Additional gifts are welcome to help grow the Julie A. and Larry T. Chapin 4-H Endowment. To contribute, mail a check, written to Michigan State University including the fund name above, to 535 Chestnut Road, Room 300, East Lansing, MI 48824. Donations  may also be made online at

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