Mat Ishbia’s donation is the largest from an individual in MSU’s history.
Mat Ishbia was a team player when he played basketball at Michigan State University, doing all he could to make his teammates better players.
He did the same thing Feb. 4, only on a much larger scale.
Ishbia, president and CEO of Pontiac-based United Wholesale Mortgage and a 2016 inductee into the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, donated $32 million to Michigan State’s athletic program.
It’s the largest donation from an individual in MSU’s history.
“This donation is not about me,” Isbhia said in a news release issued by UWM. “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.”
Izzo, in turn, praised Ishbia in the release.
“From the first day he joined our basketball team and, in the years following, I’ve watched Mat continue to make an impact for the betterment of others, taking the lessons he learned at Michigan State and instilling them in his company,” Izzo said.
“Every day, as a member of our team, Mat wanted to improve himself and others around him, knowing that on every successful team, just as in business, everyone has a part to play. He has never relented that attitude.
“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.”
The largest part of Ishbia’s donation to MSU — $20 million — is for the football program. The money will be used for an expansion of the Skandalaris Football Center.
Some $2 million will go to the MSU basketball program’s Excellence Fund. Izzo will decide how that money is used.
Ishbia was a star basketball player at Birmingham Seaholm High School (1996-98) and he was named a Jewish News High School Athlete of the Year when he was a senior.
He was a member of three straight Big Ten champion and Final Four teams (1999-2001) at MSU, and he was a graduate assistant coach for the Spartans for one season.
He also was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree (2000-2002) at MSU, and the winner of the President’s Award for having the highest grade-point average of all senior athletes.
He graduated from MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business in 2003.
Ishbia became a billionaire Jan. 22 after his company went public.
Look for a feature profile of Mat Ishbia in an upcoming JN.