Inspiring a Lifetime of Giving

“I attended MSOE on a scholarship, and I am thankful that I now have the opportunity to give back to my alma mater and help students who may need it.” Alumnus Michael Holmes ’67 has nothing but fond memories about his time at MSOE and the opportunities the university provided him before starting his career at General Electric.

“I attended MSOE during a period of transition. We had a short, six-week summer term in 1966. We could take two courses in preparation for a change to the school calendar that fall. I remember what a thrill it was for several of us to fly to Boston prior to graduation to visit Digital Equipment Corporation for a tour and job interviews.”

After graduation Holmes began working as an industrial field service representative at GE. At that time, he started out with small donations to MSOE and as his career grew, so did his donations. As a bonus the company matched his contributions. “GE’s charitable match program was a good incentive for me to give,” said Holmes.

In 2007 he established the Michael J. Holmes Annual Scholarship Fund. It provides annual scholarship support for five sophomore, junior or senior electrical engineering students toward their tuition costs. In addition, those same students also receive funding from an additional endowment scholarship Holmes set up in 2010. “I felt that if the students showed they could handle freshman year at MSOE, then they have proved themselves and deserved a little extra help,” said Holmes.

One of Holmes’ scholarship recipients, senior Phillip Kieselhorst, is especially grateful for the assistance. As the eldest of eight children in his family, the Watertown, Wisconsin native may not have attended MSOE without scholarship support.

“I had very little help when it came to college,” said Kieselhorst. “This scholarship has made a huge impact on my life by giving me the opportunity to go to an amazing school and learn about engineering, and I love engineering.”

As an honors student, Kieselhorst has certainly made the most of this opportunity throughout his college career. “A huge highlight for me was getting to design my own robot sophomore year. I also play rugby for MSOE and have made so many lifelong friends.”

Kieselhorst has big dreams for his future. “I want to get my MBA and am currently working on starting my own business and designing a new system that utilizes a solar panel.”

This past summer he also worked as an intern at HUSCO International in Waukesha, Wisconsin and already has an offer from the company to work as a control engineer when he graduates in spring 2022.

None of which would have been possible without Holmes’ gift.

“It makes me proud to know that the money is helping support so many bright futures,” said Holmes.

And little does Holmes realize that his generous philanthropy has also inspired future generations.

“Thank you, Mr. Holmes, for the opportunity to learn at MSOE. Hopefully someday I can do the same for another student,” said Kieselhorst.