Mary Neller ('60, Human Ecology) had been dating David Jessup ('55, Agriculture and Natural Resources) for seven months when he posed the question:
"Have you ever canoed?"
In fact, Mary had, as a camper at the Chippewa Trail Camp for Girls. And so the two walked to the campus canoe livery and paddled the Red Cedar River on that spring day in 1953.
"At the time," Mary says, "I never knew how many miles I would paddle a canoe in front of Dave."
The two married and traveled to California for his job with the U.S. Forest Service. After two years with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, they returned to Michigan, where he worked as a forester in land management and wood procurement in Alpena Michigan, then in commercial and residential construction in Albion and the greater Lansing area. Along the way, Mary finished her degree. They raised a family and purchased a kitchen and bath business.
They also paddled thousands of miles, including forays with their three children into Ontario, Canada.
"Our parents had a fit that we were exposing our children to all sorts of dangers," Dave chuckles. "We lived off fish and had a lot of fun."
In 1999, they decided to give back to MSU, the place where their adventures began. The David and Mary Jessup Forestry Summer Camp Endowment Fund supports an experience Dave loved as a student, and the David and Mary Jessup Dietetic Internship Scholarship defrays costs of the one-year requirement for registered dieticians.
They've also established three charitable remainder trusts that provide them and others income now and will benefit generations of students to come by enhancing their respective endowed funds at MSU.
"In 60 years together, you experience a lot of things," Dave says. "Our contributions are a celebration of a good life well spent."
Celebrate your journey with a gift to MSU. Your support can help students launch successful lives and provide an income stream for the rest of yours. To learn more, contact MSU Office of Gift Planning at 800-232-4678 | 517-884-1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.