Selma Hollander Establishes Eighth Endowment in the College of Music

Lifetime of giving marked by the appreciation
of the arts at MSU.

Selma Hollander celebrates her 97th birthday

Selma and Stanley Hollander came to Michigan State University in 1958 and fell in love.

The newly married couple was staying at the Kellogg Center, having arrived in advance of all their belonging as they moved from the East Coast to East Lansing. Just a few weeks before, Stanley had accepted a faculty post with the MSU Department of Marketing. Selma, a Brooklyn native, was ready for the Midwest. It was a change they both embraced from the moment they set foot on campus.

“It was fabulous to be here,” says Selma, now 97. “I woke up that first morning in the Kellogg Center and looked out the window. I couldn’t believe I was on a college campus. The first thing I saw was the Brody Center surrounded by green grass and trees. It was such an elegant and beautiful feeling.”

That singular adoration for MSU grew from day one and evolved into total devotion. Over the years, the Hollanders became one of the university’s strongest supporters, generously giving to multiple units that include the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, the Wharton Center for Performing Arts, the Department of Theatre, the Department of Art and Art History, the MSU Library, the Jewish Studies Program,, the Broad College of Business as well as the many areas they support in the College of Music.

While Stanley passed away in the spring of 2004, his presence is still felt through the gifts he and Selma have made to the university community. Today, the College of Music puts funding to work from eight endowments made possible through the Hollanders, including the most recent: the Stanley and Selma Hollander Endowment in Violin, established in November 2014 through a charitable gift annuity. Learn more about Charitable Gift Annuities.

Selma found the option of a charitable gift annuity to be an excellent investment not only for the future benefit of music students, but for her current needs. She takes great pride in knowing her newest endowment will help ensure recruitment and retention of exceptionally talented violin students who will perform in the MSU Symphony Orchestra and in chamber music ensembles for years to come.

“If Stanley and I enjoyed something, we wanted everyone else to have that chance, too,” says Selma. “Giving can make that possible.”

Musical memories

Selma recalls how she and her husband attended every possible art, cultural or music event they could during their first year at MSU. Music, she says, held a special place in her heart, mostly because she had never had much occasion to hear, see, or be part of music growing up in Brooklyn. Attending performances at MSU, she says, evoked memories of what she had heard in her early life, including refrains from the New York Metropolitan Opera that floated from her neighbor’s radio through the walls of her family’s brownstone every Saturday.

“I became involved mentally from the very start,” says Selma of the countless times she sat next to Stanley at a concert. “The College of Music at MSU is so accessible. I feel every student who comes here should have a chance to experience it.”

Selma not only experienced music and culture as a patron, she lived it as a student and alumna of the College of Arts and Letters. As a member of the home economics faculty, she taught weaving, crafts, and fabric design while exhibiting regionally as an artist. Those opportunities, she says, further strengthened her appreciation for the arts, as well as her commitment to support young talent.

Selma says the Hollanders most recent endowment for students of violin reflects the delight she has felt attending the symphony at MSU, and complements the festivals and performances she and Stanley have supported. The Cello Plus Chamber Music Festival that bears the Hollander name stands as a testament to the love and admiration she and her late husband have had for the musical arts.

“As avid patrons and supporters of the visual and performing arts, the generosity of Selma and Stanley Hollander has left an indelible mark which has greatly enhanced the cultural profile of Michigan State University,” says James Forger, dean of the College of Music. “The lives of future generations of students, faculty and community members will forever be enriched through the many investments they have made to support the university they love so dearly.”

Every once in a while, Selma says, she pulls out the collection of letters and thank you notes she has received from students. A recent one, she says, put her reason for giving into words.

“The young woman thanked me and then said that someday she wants to be able to give back, too,” she says. “To me, that’s the purpose. To give back so others can have opportunity, too.”

What is a Charitable Gift Annuity?

A charitable gift annuity is among the easiest and most popular methods for providing a future gift to MSU. In exchange for a transfer of cash or marketable securities, the MSU Foundation contractually agrees to pay a fixed and guaranteed stream of lifetime income to you and/or another annuitant. The annuity rate depends solely on the age of the annuitant(s). At the death of the annuitant or surviving annuitant, MSU receives the remainder of the gift annuity to use in the manner designated by the annuitant(s) at the time the original gift was made.

For information on charitable gift annuities, please contact the College of Music Advancement office at 517-353-9872 or email Rebecca Surian, senior director of development for the College of Music, at

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