Thursday, September 16, 2021

MSU athletics receives $32 million donation, largest single donation in school history

February 4, 2021
Former men's basketball players left to right, Jason Andreas, Mateen Cleaves and Matt Ishbia chat during halftime during the game against Florida on Dec. 12, 2015 at Breslin Center. The 2000 basketball team was honored during halftime.
Former men's basketball players left to right, Jason Andreas, Mateen Cleaves and Matt Ishbia chat during halftime during the game against Florida on Dec. 12, 2015 at Breslin Center. The 2000 basketball team was honored during halftime. —
Photo by Sundeep Dhanjal | and Sundeep Dhanjal The State News

Michigan State University Athletics is receiving their largest single cash commitment in school history from men's basketball alumnus Mat Ishbia, according to a release from MSU Athletics.

Ishbia has committed $32 million to benefit MSU Athletics in a variety of ways, including a significant expansion of athletic facilities, funds to support career services and as well as enhancing the university's athletics overall, the release states.

“On behalf of the university, we are deeply grateful to Mat and his generosity and significant commitment to a place that clearly had a strong impact on his life,” MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said in the release.

Ishbia is a 2003 graduate of the Eli Broad College of Business and played on the Spartan men’s basketball team as a walk-on and was a member of the 2000 National Championship team.

Ishbia has led a successful career after being at MSU, he is chairman, president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, which went public earlier this year.

“This donation is not about me, this is to give credit to and thank coach Tom Izzo, the business school and Michigan State University for the incredible impact they have had on my life,” Ishbia said in a statement.

Ishbia will be giving $2 million towards the Men’s Basketball Excellence Fund to be used at the discretion of head coach Tom Izzo.

“This gift speaks volumes to Mat’s character and the way he runs his business today; always focusing on creating a family atmosphere and being there for one another," Izzo said. "I am honored and humbled by his gift and thankful for his philanthropy, but I am more proud of the man he is. Mat’s parents always supported Mat throughout his college career, as Mat has done with his own kids, and with his gift he will support the life journey of so many more Spartans. Like me, he’s been lucky enough to live his dreams. Today he’s helping countless Spartans to live theirs.”

$2 million of Ishbia’s commitment will create the Spartan For Life Fund to serve as a springboard for student-athletes to find employment after graduation.

Pending approval from the MSU Board of Trustees, Ishbia has requested that the expansion of the Skandalaris Football Center and the Jack Breslin Student Events Center’s basketball court be named in honor of Tom Izzo, as well as the southwest entrance of the Breslin Center and a display case inside be named in honor of Jeffrey and Joanne Ishbia.

“MSU Athletics is extraordinarily grateful for Mat’s transformative gift, which is an example of bringing our mission to life,” said MSU Athletic Director Bill Beekman in the release. “Mat’s gift will forever enhance our department’s ability to ‘provide opportunities for our student-athletes to succeed academically, athletically, and in their life’s pursuit.’ Years from now, we will point back to this truly historic day as a catalyst for broad success.”

Ishbia is the current chairman, president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, the largest wholesale mortgage company in the nation, and No. 2 overall mortgage lender.

He recently guided his company to the biggest Special Purpose Acquisition Companies merger in United States history.

Ishbia credits his business success to his time at MSU and with Izzo.

He was a three-time letter winner, a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, and a member of three straight Big Ten Championships and Final Four teams, as well as a student assistant coach from 2002 to 2003.

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