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Haneys Establish STEM Scholarship in College of Education

by Tom Hanlon / Jan 27, 2023

Michael and Susan Haney have established a STEM scholarship in the College of Education. The College is just one of many places on campus where the Haneys have committed funds to, all with the intention of bettering students’ lives.

When Susan Haney first stepped foot on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus in 1979, she did so on a Children of Veterans Tuition Waiver, one which saw her to the finish line of her B.S. in Accountancy.

That tuition waiver did more than just make it possible for her to get her degree. It planted a seed that has, over the years, continued to grow.

She and her husband, Michael Haney, have given generously to a number of units on campus, including to the College of Education, where they have established the Michael and Susan Haney STEM Education Scholarship for students who are enrolled in a science, technology, engineering, or math education program. The first College of Education student to receive the scholarship will do so in fall 2023. The scholarship will offer tuition assistance to students of academic merit with a need for financial assistance to complete their education. The scholarship will give a preference for students returning from the workforce to college, says Lisa Denson, assistant dean for advancement in the College.

Michael Haney is also an alumnus of Illinois, having received both an M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the U. of I.

The Haneys got the idea for a STEM scholarship when Michael saw a discussion on CSPAN concerning the shortage of people with technical backgrounds and skills in this country.

“Nurturing STEM interests in young people helps everyone, at every level,” Michael says. By establishing a STEM scholarship, he adds, “Susan and I can help the people who become teachers, who in turn encourage the science, technology, engineering, and math interest of students, at a point in their lives where it can make a significant difference.”

Giving Across Campus

As for the tuition waiver that Susan received planting a seed: The Haneys have established scholarships or are otherwise funding six entities on campus—including the Chez Veterans Center, which works to maximize the potential for veterans, military-connected members, and their families. “Having benefited from receiving the Children of Veterans Tuition Waiver when I came here, which made a tremendous difference to me, I feel I’ve come full circle with the Chez Center endowment,” Susan says.

Besides the STEM scholarship and the Chez Veterans Center support (which goes to a veteran, offering support beyond tuition and fees), the Haneys established an annual scholarship with the School of Social Work in 2009, and also have set up the Susan and Michael Haney Fund for Young Audiences with the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, as well as funds for both Illinois Theatre and Lyric Theatre. Susan is also a prolific volunteer both in the community and on campus. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of strolling through the University of Illinois Arboretum and Japan House, which is surrounded by traditional Japanese gardens, know that the Haneys supported the construction of that house as well.

"Our Choices Can Help Others"

Susan and Michael Haney are great examples of people who give where their hearts are, and where they see needs going unmet.

“We’re grateful to be able to help in this way,” Susan says in referring to the School of Social Work scholarship. “Because we don’t have any kids of our own, we feel like these scholarship winners are kind of like our kids.”

In exhorting others to consider giving back to help students, Michael says, “Our choices can help others, even if it’s just a few. Because if the people we help can help others, then a little bit of effort can do a lot of good.”

Lisa Denson lauds the Haneys’ commitment to a College of which neither is an alum.

“They see how important education is in underpinning all the learning that happens in elementary, middle, and secondary levelsas well as at higher education levels,” Denson says. “Their willingness to support the work that we do is very touching. The Haneys are making a huge difference across campus, which is very much appreciated.”