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Eli Broad, billionaire MSU philanthropist, dies at 87

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Eli Broad, a Michigan State University alumnus who became a billionaire philanthropist and contemporary art collector, has died. He was 87.

Suzi Emmerling, a spokeswoman for the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, confirmed his death to The Associated Press. She said Broad died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a long illness.

After graduating from MSU in 1954, Broad co-founded homebuilding pioneer Kaufman and Broad Inc. and launched financial services giant SunAmerica Inc, both Fortune 500 companies. 

Broad left his mark on the East Lansing campus with the business school and art museum that bear his name, as part of more than $100 million he donated to Michigan State.

But he downplayed his legacy at MSU.

“I don’t worry about my legacy,” Broad told MPRN in 2019. “I’m just thrilled with the progress Michigan State has made since I got here in the summer of 1951.”

Michigan State University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. expressed sadness at Broad’s passing Friday night.

“Eli was a selfless, kindhearted man who dedicated much of his life to making the lives of others better. From the classroom to the board room, altruism was the backbone of his mission, and Eli embodied what it means to be a Spartan,” said Stanley.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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