As dean of the College of Science at Coastal Carolina University, Michael Roberts is responsible for more than 150 faculty and staff members, and 10 departments that offer 20 major, minor and graduate programs ranging from biology to sociology. And with a headcount of approximately 4,500 undergraduate students, the College of Science is by far the largest college on campus.
Roberts says he is very thankful for the opportunity to lead a college with such impressive enrollment numbers and evolving state-of-the-art facilities – such as Swain Hall and the new Science II Building. But he understands that to keep the momentum moving in the right direction, for the College of Science in particular and CCU as a whole, he and his colleagues throughout campus must embrace the importance of financially supporting the University.
“There are several reasons why all faculty and staff should give,” said Roberts, who also serves as vice president for research and emerging initiatives. “First, by giving we provide opportunities and access. Scholarships often provide the resources that enable a student to attend CCU and pursue their education. If a department raises funds to support their students it may mean that a student can buy a textbook they cannot otherwise afford; this allows them to perform better in class and continue on their path toward completing a degree. Second, a high-level of giving among the employees can often induce foundations and other donors to give. Finally, in giving up of oneself, you link yourself to another’s success. Yes, this happens when faculty teach and engage with students in the classroom, but a monetary donation expands the dimension of this connection.”
Roberts and his wife Mary Jo have been steadfast donors since he joined the University in 2007. Their support includes annual donations to various causes and programs around campus as well as establishing the Mary Jo and Michael Roberts Endowed Program for Multicultural Student Services.
“The reason we give – specifically in the case of the endowment that we set up – is that the students at this University have given us so much,” he said. “In their success they validate what we do professionally; validate our own career choices. Setting up this endowment is a very minor way to give back, acknowledge and support the students who have given so much to us and to the CCU community.
“We hope, in some small way, that we are able to help a student move along their chosen path. In doing so, that student will enrich this campus and will leave CCU with the potential to impact their profession and contribute to their communities. That’s ultimately why we give."