MSU Arts & Letters Establishes New Endowed Position In Spirituality


An endowed position has been created at Michigan State University to focus on the holistic well-being of students through spirituality.

The Foglio Chair of Spirituality in the College of Arts & Letters will honor Father Jake Foglio, an alumnus, former faculty member, longtime priest, and mentor to countless MSU student-athletes and coaches.

portrait of a man in a green suit
Father Jake Foglio


The endowment was made possible through $600,000 in donor contributions and a reinvestment of $3 million in media revenues from the Big Ten Network.

"Father Jake Foglio is a renowned force for good at Michigan State, and we are proud that his legacy will live on to enrich the lives of others for generations," said MSU Interim President John Engler. "The academic mission is at the core of everything we do at Michigan State so it is fitting that this endowment will help attract and retain world-class scholars who will elevate and sustain the educational experience and academic excellence of the entire university."

Father Jake Foglio

After graduating from MSU in 1951, Foglio worked for WKAR before serving in the United States Marine Corps. He graduated from Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit in 1957 and was ordained a priest in 1961. He has served St. Johns Student Parish, near MSU's campus, since 1970. Father Jake joined the MSU Department of Family Medicine in 1986 to assist with medical behavioral science teaching and counseling and served as an assistant professor in the department until his retirement in 1997.

The spirituality chair will bring new research and scholarship to our commitment to help students understand more deeply what it means to be human and how to enact that humanity in whatever profession they undertake.

Dean Christopher P. Long

"As students move through the MSU curriculum, they have the opportunity to think about their values and explore how they might put them into practice to live a meaningful life," said Christopher Long, Dean of the College of Arts & Letters. "The spirituality chair will bring new research and scholarship to our commitment to help students understand more deeply what it means to be human and how to enact that humanity in whatever profession they undertake."

For more than two years, the athletic department and the College of Arts & Letters worked with a committed group of donors to endow the Foglio chair position to make the practice of spirituality more available to all MSU students. MSU alumnus Kellie Dean helped secure more than $600,000 in gifts for the position, which created the endowment with an additional $1.5 million from revenues. There is an ongoing fundraising campaign to secure an additional $900,000 to support the spirituality chair position.

Disposable photos of a man in plaid shirt with beard and mustache
Photos from the past of Father Jake Foglio. 


The position is the 81st endowed faculty position established during MSU's Empower Extraordinary campaign toward a goal of creating 100 new endowed faculty positions. These positions were identified as a campaign priority to provide critical resources for recruiting and retaining leading faculty members.

The Empower Extraordinary campaign, which publicly launched in fall 2014 and is the most ambitious in MSU's history, exceeded fundraising goals in areas such as student scholarships and has raised more than $1.6 billion to date. The campaign will continue through December 31, 2018, with a focus on funding several key initiatives including additional endowed positions.

To learn more about MSU's engagement and philanthropy efforts, visit empower.msu.edu.