MSU receives $1 million gift for Spartan student-athletes

Posted at 10:00 AM, Jan 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-31 10:00:29-05

Helping to ensure the future success of Michigan State University Athletics, alumna Mary Helen and Craig Crooks have made a $1 million gift to endow scholarships for student-athletes in men’s basketball and football.

“As we continue to pursue excellence in our athletics programs, gifts like this help us maintain the momentum of success,” said President Lou Anna K. Simon. “The men’s basketball and football programs are a source of pride for all Spartans and an engine of opportunity for the student-athletes in the programs. We are grateful to the Crooks family for their support and vision.”

Through MSU’s Empower Extraordinary campaign, MSU Athletics seeks to raise $262 million to build championship-level facilities, increase endowment support and elevate annual giving. All gifts made through the Spartan Fund during the campaign support MSU Athletics’ mission “to teach, celebrate and support MSU student-athletes in their quest for excellence.”

“An athletics scholarship to Michigan State can be life changing for recipients and we are so grateful to Mary Helen and Craig for establishing these two endowed scholarships,” said Director of Athletics Mark Hollis. “Endowed gifts like this not only help support our department today, they also provide financial resources in perpetuity. We thank Mary Helen and Craig for leaving a legacy with Spartan Athletics today, tomorrow and forever.”

The Crooks Family Men’s Basketball Scholarship Endowment will provide a full-ride in-state scholarship. The Crooks will be recognized in the new Tom Izzo Hall of History along with other donors who fully-funded a scholarship endowment. The Crooks’ names are also a part of the Athletics Endowment Donor Recognition Wall at the North End Zone Expansion of Spartan Stadium.

Mary Helen Crooks, a 1980 graduate of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, is CEO and president of Harlo Corp. in Grandville, Michigan. Harlo Corp., a minority-owned business, owns and operates a diverse group of companies. From its origin serving the electrical utility industry, Harlo Corp. now serves a multitude of industries including oil and gas, agriculture, construction and more.

“I was raised by immigrant parents who only had the opportunity for a formal education up to third grade, so I was raised with a very strong emphasis on higher education. My dad’s mantra was ‘never stop learning,’” said Mary Helen Crooks. “Throughout our married life, Craig and I have been supporters, both through volunteering and financially, of our K-12 school districts and other school districts. The idea that we have reached a point in our lives where we can give back through a full scholarship to student-athletes is very rewarding. We have been Spartan fans for decades, which makes the opportunity to make this kind of impact on a student-athlete’s education even more special.”

This past fall the Spartan Fund hosted endowment donors and many had a chance to meet their scholarship recipients.

“We continue to see great momentum within MSU Athletics, not just in competition, but our donors continue to rise to the challenge so we can sustain success. In the end, it comes down to providing great leaders with extraordinary private support and we’re thrilled the Crooks recognize that,” said Chuck Sleeper, executive associate athletic director for development.

The Crooks are members of the Athletic Director’s Campaign Leadership Council, a group of leadership donors and campaign volunteers from around the country.

For more information on financial support of MSU Athletics and the Empower Extraordinary campaign, visit