The Impact of One ...
Fred & Suzanne Siebert: Giving back to UDM through scholarship
Fred Seibert '70, '73, a Detroit native and Fullerton, Calif., resident, had a vision for his career that began by obtaining a college degree at University of Detroit (now UDM). While attending U of D Jesuit High School, Fred fondly remembers going to Titan basketball games with his high school sweetheart and future wife Sue. After the games, they would sit near the Fisher Fountain on campus, sharing their dreams for the future.
As newlyweds in 1969, Fred and Sue found it difficult to pay his tuition even though Fred had a part-time job. His U of D fraternity came to the rescue by providing a loan, which enabled Fred to complete his liberal arts degree in 1970. Being a high achiever, he returned to earn an MBA while working full time at Ford Motor Co. He credits his education and good decisions with helping him advance in the workplace. "I don't think that I'd be anywhere without my MBA. At that time, the MBA degree was just coming into mainstream. Large companies were looking at people with these degrees for future management positions. I knew that if I wanted to differentiate myself, this degree would be important," he said.
After rising through the ranks at Ford in materials management, Fred was offered a position in California in 1981. He and his wife had agreed that if a job offer arose in California or Europe that Fred would take it. Even though their children were 10, 12 and 14 at the time, they moved across the country. Three years later, Fred joined Preece, Inc., a company that makes fluid and pneumatic and components for aeronautics and other industries; he became its owner and CEO in 2000.
In Jan. 2010, the couple made a gift to establish the "Frederick and Suzanne Seibert Scholarship," an endowed scholarship to benefit juniors and seniors who are struggling to complete their education.
"Most scholarships are for freshmen," Fred said. Yet there's not a lot of scholarship money available for upperclass students. Recipients of the Seibert Scholarship must be upperclassmen or women in good academic standing, citizens or permanent residents of the United States, and in financial need. The Seiberts' gift of $125,000 over a five-year period will help students for years to come.
"My education instilled a willingness to give back," Fred said. "I had to take philosophy and religion in high school and college, and if you took those lessons to heart, you want to give back to an organization that makes things better for society as a whole. Higher education is a tremendous place to devote funds; you are helping to build the foundation for future leaders.
"Many people with the discretionary income to make contributions to the University are entering the twilight of their careers," he noted. "It's a very rewarding experience to know that you can help worthy students who will contribute to the ongoing greatness of our country."