WMU News

State Farm supports WMU Haworth College of Business

April 10, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- State Farm Insurance Company is contributing $25,000 to support instruction in financial planning services at Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business.

"State Farm's generosity is crucial in helping us develop our curriculum in the important area of financial planning," says Dr. James W. Schmotter, dean of the college. "The company is investing intellectually as well as financially in our efforts. Our students and business stakeholders will be the beneficiaries of this investment by State Farm."

One-half of the State Farm contribution will provide $12,500 in annual support for the State Farm Professor of Financial Services in the Department of Finance and Commercial Law. An additional $6,000 will support three scholarships for minority students pursuing studies in the area of financial planning services. The gift also will support a State Farm Executive-on-Loan, who will serve as an adjunct professor in the business college, and a State Farm Insurance and Financial Services Executive-in-Residence program. Executives-in-residence will spend two to four days each on the WMU campus engaged in workshops and round-table discussions with students.

"State Farm has a long history of supporting higher education, especially in areas of primary concern to our industry," says Mark Odland, a vice president for operations with the company. "We look forward to our partnership with Western Michigan University, and we realize that our loaned executives stand to learn a lot from this experience just as we expect the students will.

"One of our motivations in making this gift is our excellent experience in hiring Western Michigan graduates," notes Odland, who is based in Marshall, Mich., and is a member of the advisory board for the Haworth College of Business. "They have been among our top employees, and we look forward to recruiting at WMU for many years to come."

Schmotter announced the gift during a recent visit to the University by senior State Farm executive Vincent J. Trosino, who was in Kalamazoo to deliver a presentation as part of the Haworth College's Distinguished Speaker Series. Trosino, who spoke on the subject "Leadership and Integrity in Business, Government and Societal Institutions," is president, chief operating officer and vice chairman of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. He also serves as vice chairman of State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. and State Farm Life Insurance.

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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