Stuckmans receive national Ruby C. McSwain Outstanding Philanthropist Award

Noel and Sandra Stuckman were honored with the Ruby C. McSwain Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the National Agricultural Alumni & Development Association (NAADA).

Noel and Sandra Stuckman at their farm.
Noel and Sandra Stuckman received the Ruby C. McSwain Outstanding Philanthropist Award from NAADA. Watch their award video and acceptance speech.

On June 18, Noel and Sandra Stuckman, of DeWitt, were honored with the Ruby C. McSwain Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the National Agricultural Alumni & Development Association (NAADA).

The award recognizes individuals with a record of sustained giving to support agriculture, agricultural higher education, Cooperative Extension, and/or land grant universities. It also recognizes the individuals for their role as advocates for agriculture and natural resources and for their philanthropy in community organizations, religious institutions, art, environment and social services.

Noel and Sandra Stuckman have served as loyal annual donors rising to strategic major gift donors for Michigan State University, Purdue University and other key agricultural organizations over the past four decades. Most recently, the Stuckmans have documented planned gifts that will help ensure the viability of these land grant institutions and agricultural programs for the future.

Noel received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics at Purdue University. He had a career with Michigan Farm Bureau affiliate companies. Noel was instrumental in founding the Michigan Agricultural Cooperative Association (MACA) and served as that organization’s general manager until his retirement in 1990. He played a central role in developing landmark marketing-bargaining legislation in Michigan that became a model for other states and served as a leader in the MACA national bargaining conference.

Sandy received her bachelor’s degree from Purdue University. She then came to Michigan State for her master’s degree after working for Cornell Cooperative Extension for six years. She began her MSU career as an MSU Extension home economics agent, later serving as a regional Extension director and then director of Michigan 4-H Youth Development. During her tenure as state 4-H leader, she also served as trustee and secretary of the Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees, and in 2014, she was elected as an honorary trustee.

As Indiana 4-H alumni, Noel and Sandy have remained committed to 4-H as leadership donors and campaign volunteers to the Michigan 4-H Foundation. When Sandy retired from MSU Extension, she created a 4-H leadership endowment with gifts made in her honor. She and Noel have continued to grow and expand this endowment over the past 20 years.

The Stuckmans have established two endowments at Michigan State University. The first within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources to support graduate student education. The second, a scholarship endowment for student athletes. They are also loyal supporters of the Wharton Center for Performing Arts and the WKAR public broadcasting service.

Noel and Sandy have made two gifts of property. One farm gifted to MSU for bioenergy research and another farm in Indiana, to Purdue. These gifts have served as valuable resources for teaching and research for both universities.

Their support at Purdue has also included annual commitments for both the College of Agriculture and College of Health and Human Sciences in addition to an endowment to provide student support for graduate education. The Stuckmans have also served as leadership donors, campaign volunteers, and student mentors for the Farm House Fraternity.

Outside of the universities, the Stuckmans provide leadership and support for the East Lansing Agriculture Club, the Barn Preservation Network and the YMCA, to name a few. Additionally, they are active Michigan Farm Bureau members.

Each of these gifts were driven by Sandy and Noel’s passions. They have a desire to give back to programs, and to honor people, which made a difference in their lives. So much so, they have taken to publicly sharing their philanthropic story to highlight and explain the mindset of a philanthropic couple. By sharing their story of why they choose to give and the gift types they have used over the years, they are growing a culture of philanthropy.

Previously, the Stuckmans have been honored for their service to and support of Michigan State with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Distinguished Service Award in 2018 and the Michigan 4-H Citation Award in 2016.

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