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Michigan State University

Bonnie Larson, Philanthropist Award Recipient


Bonnie Larson, Philanthropist Award Recipient


B.A. College of Social Science, 1970

Philanthropist Award: Presented to individuals, families, associations, corporations or foundations with a proven record of providing major, ongoing financial support and leadership to MSU and whose generosity inspires others.

She is an inspirational philanthropist, cultural leader and a Spartan.

Bonnie Larson is a philanthropist and cultural leader who is an advocate for the arts in Southeastern Michigan and at Michigan State. She has held leadership positions in iconic arts institutions, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Cranbrook Academy and Museum. Additionally, she has served on the boards of Meridian International in Washington, DC, the Detroit Zoo, Kids Kicking Cancer and the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan.

Larson graduated from MSU with a bachelor’s degree from the College of Social Science. She is a founding member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum and past chair of its International Advisory Board. She established the Bonnie A. Larson Aspiring Musicians Endowment for the Community Music School in Detroit, and the Bonnie A. Larson Music Scholarship Endowment at the College of Music. Additionally, she facilitated valuable partnerships between the College of Music and the DSO. In 2021, she was invited to join the College of Music National Leadership Council.

As an enthusiastic supporter of MSU Athletics, Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Alan Haller recently requested that she join the newly formed AD Advisory Board. Additionally, she has endowed a scholarship for student athletes in men’s basketball in honor of Coach Tom Izzo. Coming from a family of proud Spartans, Larson established the Cecile A. and Donald R. Borgeson Education Enhancement Fund within the Eli Broad College of Business, in honor of her parents. Bonnie Larson continues to inspire others with her unwavering dedication and commitment to philanthropic leadership, which has made a long-lasting impact at MSU and in the Detroit community.  

“If you find something that you're passionate about, it's a joy to be able to give to that organization or that program to see that you're making a difference somewhere. For me, our students are our future. So supporting the endowments at Michigan State is my way of helping to ensure that future generations will be able to reach their full potential.”

Who will make a difference for future generations? Spartans Will.