MSU Today with Russ White

{{ show.title }}Trailer Bonus Episode {{ selectedEpisode.number }}
{{ selectedEpisode.title }}
|
{{ selectedEpisode.title }}
By {{ selectedEpisode.author }}
Broadcast by

A $10 million gift from Switzerland-based packaging innovator Amcor to the Michigan State University School of Packaging will establish an endowed faculty position focused on sustainability, and support renovations to the school of packaging building. The contribution is the largest corporate gift in history for the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, home to the School of Packaging.

Show Notes

“We're investing $10.8 million in the partnership,” says Fred Stephan, president of Amcor Flexibles North America. “The partnership will create an endowed chair of sustainability professorship. The chair will conduct research into sustainability in the circular economy. In combination with that, we're also contributing towards some necessary building renovations that will offer students a modern facility and access to state-of-the-art technology. And it really is part and parcel of our ongoing strategy of open innovation as we strive to develop more sustainable packaging.”

“Amcor is really excited about growing our partnership with MSU for a couple of reasons,” adds Eric Roegner, president of Amcor Rigid Packaging. “At the heart of what Amcor is is innovation. That's how we've survived for 140 years. It's by constantly innovating the state of the art of technology that's allowed us to do that. There is so much opportunity out there that as we continue to look for the right set of partners to work with, you guys are the best. You have the biggest school for this.

“You graduate the most folks into the space. We have, the last time we checked, about 75 MSU grads active inside of our population. We know that this partnership will drive continued innovation across sustainability and across that ecosystem for us as well as for the world. We need an ecosystem of players to come together. We're a big player, the largest producer of rigid packaging in that space. But you guys are right there in the middle with everyone. You have MSU grads in just about every consumer-packaged good player and every packaging provider out there. You have a network of incredible people who are driving that innovation. We just see this as being a win-win across the whole ecosystem.”

Matt Daum is the director of the MSU School of Packaging.

“I can't overstate the importance of this gift and what it's going to mean to our school,” says Daum. “We're really at a critical juncture in the history of the school. And I can't be more thrilled to partner with a global leader like Amcor. We've talked and thought and visioned for many, many years about how do we take the school of packaging to the next level, and how do we prepare for the future? And this gift is going to do that. It's really going to help continue our separation from other packaging programs and keep us in a preeminent position.”

Stephan, Roegner, and Daum elaborate on how Amcor and the MSU School of Packaging define sustainability.

“We love plastic; we hate plastic waste,” says Roegner. “And one of our missions is to make sure that as soon as humanly possible, every one of our bottles is made out of 100 percent post-consumer resin. And after we make that bottle and the consumer uses it, they put the cap back on, it goes back, and 100 percent of them get recycled back in. We want to minimize the effect that our products have on the environment. And we are absolutely convinced that we're at the forefront with the most sustainable package by any metric.”

“We've made a pledge for our packaging to be reusable or recyclable by 2025,” says Stephan. “And what we're really talking about is packaging that truly can be recycled or reused. That's how we're defining sustainable packaging. We've made substantial progress in that area as well. Close to 70 percent of our packaging is already recycled across the Amcor portfolio. We're working to close that gap between now and 2025. And the way we think about it is it's really a three-legged stool. We've got the product piece of it. We've got the infrastructure to actually be able to recycle. And then we've got behaviors, and we need people to actually take products to the right bin to be able to recycle. If we get all three of those in that three-legged stool in place, we're going to be making a lot of progress across the country.”

“Sustainability and trying to purposely and intentionally design your packaging to be more sustainable is now a customer expectation,” Daum adds. “It's a business imperative. Companies now don't have a choice but to really address this and be purposeful about it. We teach a material neutral perspective. Sustainability is built into our curriculum in most of the classes. This is where Amcor and MSU really have a similar vision and a similar commitment to doing what's right for the environment.

“That's why this partnership really fits well. It's not necessarily that there's bad packaging, there are bad packaging applications. You've got to have recycling facilities and infrastructure. You need to have waste management companies bought in. You've got to have your legislation all lined up. It's a very intricate problem. You can't solve it with just one specific solution. Part of the motivation behind this endowed chair is that we have a voice that thinks systematically and that thinks across the whole ecosystem, the whole value chain, and can bring a data-driven perspective into the conversation and help facilitate this partnership that has to happen between a lot of different places in order to have long-term solutions.”

Daum says more about the impact the gift will have on the school.

“We need to upgrade our facilities. We really need to match the facilities that we have with the leadership that we produce. But our facilities are quite dated. The last renovation was back in 1987. There were no cell phones then. There were no laptops. The way that classes were taught is different than today's needs. And we really want to create and update our facilities so that we're giving our students an environment that better matches what they're going to see when they go into industry. We also want the space to be a hub, a place where thought leaders from industry, government agencies, and NGOs feel like this is the place to be. This is the place to come when you can come and gather and talk about solving some of the great packaging and sustainability challenges.

“The building renovation in particular is about modernizing what we have. We want to continue to keep pace with the industry. The industry's growing 3 to 4 percent a year. And we know that we're going to have to eventually grow as well. But this phase one really is about bringing the level up of our current facility to make it what it needs to be. The other part of the gift is going to be given for an endowed chair position. And this is really critical. There's a certain element when you have an endowed position where you're saying to the academic community and to industry that this is a really important area. That's what we want to create here in the area of sustainable packaging.”

Daum describes the three key areas the endowed chair will focus on: research, teaching, and outreach – consistent with MSU’s land grant mission.

“We are convinced that in partnering with MSU, that we can promote and actually accelerate thought leadership in this space,” Roegner adds. “We need more. There's much more innovation to be had, and we think MSU is the place that's going to drive that. And we're just glad to be able to partner with you, both in that chair for the professorship as well as helping out with the facilities in the building. And this is going to be just a start of a relationship. And I'm looking forward to the next 75 MSU grads that we're going to get, bringing you all into our technology centers, letting us work with you on the whole spectrum of different opportunities out there. Because, we have to crack the code on this. When I talk to my kids about what I do and how proud I am to be here, in today's generation, sometimes packaging of any type gets a bad name for a variety of reasons.

“I say, Really? You really want to move the needle? You really want to help the environment and make a real difference in greenhouse gas emissions or whatever it is, then this is your answer. Solve the packaging problem. Figure out how to get every one of these PET bottles recycled and then made out of a hundred percent PCR. That will do more to help the environment than just about any other activity that you can engage in anywhere. If you want to move the needle, this is where you do it. MSU is right at the forefront of that.”

“We've made a commitment to the environment, and our commitment is to transform the sustainability of flexible packaging,” Stephan adds. “And we see that combining our efforts and the real-world experience we have at Amcor working with many diverse customers around the world with the academic world and all of the talents at Michigan State can really help us accelerate our efforts to bring sustainable packaging solutions to everyone. The partnership offers us access to the MSU talent and bright minds working on how to make the world a better place. It's going to take all of us working together to make progress in this area. It's not just one single group of companies or constituencies. It's everyone working together to really advance the cause.”

Daum describes challenges and opportunities facing the packaging industry, and he says packaging is a major for students who want to combine skills and interests in a way that can directly impact the environment.

“We call it a discovery major because usually people find it once they get here. It’s a unique major for this reason. It blends creativity with engineering and material science, and it has business in it as well. It's this very interesting combination where you're creating things that people see, touch, and feel. And you are able to directly have an impact on the environment.

“When you're designing packaging for a company, you're front and center with customers and how they view sustainability and the environment, and you can have great impact. And we have very high starting salaries. We have one of the higher starting salaries in the university. We have students go to almost all the fortune 500 companies. We have students at Tesla, Apple, Pepsi, you name it, and there's probably an MSU packaging grad in those companies. It’s a fantastic way to combine a lot of different interests into something that is creative, and visible, and tangible, and usually you'll find yourself having a great career in packaging.”

In summarizing the importance of Amcor's gift to the MSU school of packaging, Daum says he hopes this is the first of many partnerships between the school and industry.

“First of all, I want to say a huge thank you to Amcor. This is just really unprecedented in terms of the size. It means a lot that they would think that highly of our program and our school. Hats off to them. The gift really shows a leadership perspective and vision, and we want to make good on that. The other thing it does is it really demonstrates the kind of partnership that we want to have and that we need to have with industry. If we're going to continue to be the premier program, and if we're going to continue to grow and develop students that the industry needs, then I'm hoping that this is just the start of many kinds of partnerships that we can have with industry that really create a robust long-term program that meets the needs for students, and for our faculty, and for the companies that our students go work for.”

“We need to groom and train and enable the next generation of leaders, not just in packaging, but in all of sustainability and the circular economy,” Roegner adds. “MSU is at the forefront of that. Being able to contribute and play our part in developing that next generation of leaders is huge. And it gives us all a great amount of satisfaction. It's one of the things we can help give back as a leader in the industry Let's enable the future.”

“I want to also offer a big shout out to all of our Michigan State alumni,” says Stephan. “Thank you for all of your efforts. Hopefully this demonstrates our commitment to the legacy that you're creating at Amcor, and we look forward to recruiting much more in the future from Michigan State.”

MSU Today airs Sunday mornings at 9:00 on 105.1 FM and AM 870 and streams at WKAR.org. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.

What is MSU Today with Russ White?

MSU Today is a lively look at Michigan State University-related people, places, events and attitudes put into focus by Russ White. The show airs Sundays at 9 A.M. on 105.1 FM and AM 870 WKAR, and 8 P.M. on AM 760 WJR.

Russ White 0:00
A $10 million gift from Switzerland based packaging innovator Amcor to the Michigan State University School of Packaging will establish an endowed faculty position focused on sustainability and support renovations to The School of Packaging building. That contribution is the largest corporate gift in history for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, home to The School of Packaging.

Fred Stephan 0:26
So we're investing $10.8 million in the partnership. The partnership will create an endowed chair of sustainability professorship who will conduct research into sustainability in the circular economy. In combination with that, we're also contributing towards some necessary building renovations that are offer students you know, modern facility and access to state of the art technology. And it really is just part and parcel to our ongoing strategy of open innovation. As we strive to develop more sustainable packaging.

Russ White 1:01
That's Fred Stephan President of Amcor Flexibles North America. Eric Grosvenor is president of Amcor Rigid Packaging

Eric Grosvenor 1:09
Amcor is really excited about growing our partnership with MSU. for a couple of reasons, I'd say at the heart of it, though, really at the heart of what amcor is, is innovation. That's how we've survived for 140 years, and Lord willing, why we're going to be here for another 140 years into the future. And it's by constantly and constantly innovating the state of the art technology that's allowed us to do that. I mean, I'm standing on the shoulders of giants underneath me, that figured out how to make these packages only a plastic bottle of core in my hand, for example, they make them lighter weight, with whole new design capabilities. Now getting them 100%, PCR for postconsumer resin. And now we're figuring out to do even more with that. And it's just astounding what we've been able to do. And we innovate internally. But we also work with partners. And we work with partners all around the world. And as the sustainability I'll call them opportunities continue to grow through a variety of different areas. And I think about even in my own space, what we can do with material science, we can do with additives, what we can do with manufacturing capability, but even more so across the entire ecosystem of the circular economy, from changing consumer behavior. So then they actually are done with it, they put the cap on, put it back in the recycle bin, and every step along the chain. So it comes right back into that bottle. There is so much opportunity out there, that as we continue to look for the right set of partners to work with. I mean head and shoulders, if you're going to work with someone, you're going to work for them and see you. I mean, you guys are the best, you have the biggest school for this, you graduate the most folks into the space, we have last time we checked about 75 MSU grads active inside of our population, we know that this is this partnership will drive continued innovation, across sustainability across that ecosystem. For us, as well as for you know, the world. The reality is we're big fans of of open innovation, we call it open innovation, because oftentimes, it's not enough just for us to do something to be aware of it. If we're really going to crack the code on the circular economy and to drive sustainability. Everybody has to get involved. I think about a program that we've been partnering with the American Beverage Association on that they launched last year, called the every bottle back campaign and we support them in a number of our locations and sites. It took Pepsi and Coke and courage Dr. Pepper together with other associations to really get their arms around standards and communications to launch across the country. In this case, it was very North American centric, to really elevate the need for recyclability, but also the ability to use recycled content and the package. And we need that ecosystem of players to come together. We're a big player, the largest producer of rigid packaging in that space. But you guys are right there in the middle with everyone. I mean, you have MSU grads, and just about every consumer packaged goods player, every packaging provider out there you have a network of incredible people that are driving that innovation. So we just see this as being a win win win across the whole ecosystem.

Russ White 4:26
Matt Daum is the director of the MSU School of packaging.

Matt Daum 4:30
I can't overstate the importance of this gift and what it's going to mean to our school. We're really at a critical juncture in the history of the school. And I can't be more thrilled to partner with a global leader like amcor with the global leader in page education, which is the School of action here. And so, we've talked and thought and visioned for many, many years about how do we take the school paxgene to the next level. How do we create Prepare for the future. And this gift is going to do that. It's really going to help continue our separation from other packing programs and keep us in a preeminent position.

Russ White 5:11
How do amcor and the MSU School of Packaging define sustainability?

Eric Grosvenor 5:16
Oh, great question around what exactly do we mean by sustainability? And there are many different angles you can take and, but speaking, you know, specifically about my business and rigid packaging, and then I'll go more broadly into all of amcor, we love plastic, we hate plastic waste. And one of our missions is to make sure that as soon as possible, every one of these bottles is made out of 100% post consumer resin. And after we make that bottle, and the consumer uses it, they put the cap back on and goes back on 100% of them get recycled back in. So no, the PE tea bottle for example, is one of the only package types where you can actually do that 100% recycled 100% PCR infinitely. When we do that, you minimize the amount of virgin material that needs to be extracted out of the ground. And also because so much of this is done with mechanical recycling the greenhouse gas footprint of taking a bottle back into a bottle 70% or even more, or I should say less greenhouse gases are emitted when you're making the plastic bat package than just about any other substrate. So back to sustainability. We want to minimize the effect that our products have on the environment. And we are absolutely convinced that we're at the forefront with the most sustainable package by any metric 100% recyclability, minimal weight, which can lead to minimal greenhouse gases. And and just keep innovating and keep pushing the envelope along those metrics.

Fred Stephan 6:50
Yeah, so our the way we think about it, and we've made a pledge for our packaging to be reusable or recyclable by 2025. And what we're really talking about is, you know, packaging that truly can be recycled or reused. That's how we're defining sustainable packaging, we, we've made substantial progress in that area as well. You know, close to 70% of our packaging is already recycled ready, across the amcor portfolio. And so we're working to close that gap between now and 2025. And, you know, the way we think about it is it's really a three legged stool, we've got the product piece of it, we've got the infrastructure to actually be able to recycle. Right, and, and then we've got behaviors and, and we need people to actually, you know, take products to the right bin, to be able to recycle. So if we get all three of those, and that three legged stool in place, we're going to be making a lot of progress across across the country,

Matt Daum 7:52
I would say even just maybe five years ago, the whole sustainability topic in in packaging was is there or has been there. But I think we reached a tipping point a few years ago. And the tipping point now is that sustainability and trying to purposely and intentionally design your packaging to be more sustainable. It's now a customer expectation. It's a business imperative, it's kind of it's table stakes, really. And so companies now I think don't have a choice, but to really address this and be purposeful about it. And so that's why, you know, our school we teach promote material neutral perspective. So sustainability is built into our curriculum in most of the classes, we also have special specialized classes in this area. But this is where am core and MSU really have a similar vision, and a similar commitment to doing what's right for the environment. And, and so that's why this partnership really fits really fits well. It's not necessarily that there's bad packaging, there's bad packaging applications. And so trying to find not just the right materials, but the right kind of design the right ecosystem, right? You've got to have recycling facilities and infrastructure, you need to have waste management companies bought in, you've got to have your your legislation all lined up. And so it's a very intricate problem. You can't solve it with just one specific solution. So part of the motivation behind this endowed chairs that we have a voice that thinks systematically that thinks across the whole ecosystem, the whole value chain, and can bring a data data driven perspective into the conversation and help facilitate this. This partnership that has to happen between a lot of different places in order to have long term solutions.

Russ White 9:54
And tell us more about Amcor.

Fred Stephan 9:55
So Amcor's a global leader in developing and producing responsible packaging, we focus on the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, medical home personal care markets. And we work with leading companies from around the world to protect their products and the people who rely on them. We try to differentiate their brands so they win in the marketplace. And we're also focused on supply chains around the world as a very large global supplier. We have the ability to work with a wide network of suppliers and our very broad network of manufacturing plants to bring products to our customers.

Eric Grosvenor 10:37
So Amcor, we are the largest producer of primary packaging in the world. And when I say primary, what I mean is it touches the food or it touches the medicine or the medical device, whatever it may be. We've existed for 140 years. We are all over the world with 250 locations, and about 50,000 employees out there. So that's ampere overall, we're a little over 13 billion in revenue, we will have an update because we're going to announce our earnings on August 17. And within that, we have to what we would call big business segments. The largest portion of what amcor does is our flexible business. So flexible packaging would be anything from the packaging that you get and when you get meat products, you know the plastic that goes around that you buy your grated cheese or whatever it is from, you know, the grocery store and it comes in the pouch all the way to the Nescafe cups, those little aluminum Nescafe cups, we actually make all of those little Nescafe cups, so it ranges over a whole variety of different package types. There are about more or less three quarters of amcor the other one quarter of amcor is rigid packaging. And that's the business that I run and rigid packaging is code for bottles. We make bottles that hold beverages they also hold food, like a Hellman's mayonnaise jar. We do some medicines we do eyedroppers for Bausch and Lomb, and I'll count and all of that. And we will make the bottle we also will make a closure. And in the technology of making bottles, there are pre forms that come into the bottle, we made those and we sell all of those and my business. So that rigid packaging business is in 12 countries, mostly the Americas, we have about 3 billion in revenue. And around 7000 employees

Russ White 12:26
And Matt say more about the MSU School of Packaging, and its mission.

Matt Daum 12:31
Michigan State School of packaging, we're the first and the oldest packaging program in the nation. We're also the largest by far, you know, we have huge industry influence, probably between 40 to 50% of all packaging engineers, they come out of this school. And you can find our graduates at all different levels and companies, you will find our graduates both in business leadership positions, all the way up to CEO, you find our graduates doing all kinds of technical innovation, you'd be hard pressed to go into a store and not find a package that was created or designed by an MSU grad. So we have big influence, I would say we have very robust research. And so lots of innovation on that front. So we for good reason we've, we've had the reputation of being the premier packaging program, and I want to keep it that way. And so investments like this, partnerships like this with am core help us do that and maintain that status that we have. And we're not going to rest on our laurels.

Russ White 13:40
Director Matt Daum. say more about what the gift will do for the school.

Matt Daum 13:44
The vision right now is that we need to upgrade our facilities, we really need to match the facilities that we have with the leadership that we produce thought leadership, from a technical perspective, thought leadership from a business perspective. But our facilities are quite dated. The last renovation was back in 1987. There were no cell phones, there were no laptops, the way that classes were taught is different than today's needs. And so we really want to create an update of facilities so that we're giving our students an environment that better matches what they're going to see when they go into industry. We also want the space really to be a hub,

a place where thought leaders from industry, from government agencies from NGOs, feel like this is the place to be this is the place to come when you when you can come and gather and talk about solving some of the great packaging sustainability challenges. The building renovation in particular is really a phase one approach and like I said earlier, it's about modernizing What we what we have longer term, we want to continue to keep pace with the industry industry is growing three to 4% a year. And so we know that we're going to have to eventually grow as well. But this phase one really is about bringing the level up of our current facility to make it make it what it needs to be, the other part of the gift is going to be given for an endowed chair position. And this is really critical. And so there's, there's a certain element when you have an endowed position where you're, you're saying, to the academic community and to industry that this is a really important area. And so that's what we want to create here in the area of sustainable packaging. It's going to attract great faculty, it's going to signal to students that they're learning from some of the best, and it's going to be a reputable voice, in the whole conversation about the sustainable packaging, what are the right types of solutions? And what's a data driven approach for how we need to go forward? Sometimes I get asked, Well, what does an endowed chair do, you don't really see this type of position and in packaging. And so really, there's three focuses for three key areas that this person is going to focus on. One is just what you would normally think of in terms of material development. So new technologies, new innovation in the material space. And so that's, that's a lot about research. And so trying to find new materials, new recycling methodologies, and of course, this is done in partnership with colleagues across the university and other universities, for that matter, and in partnership with amcor as well. So that's one of the core things is the research in that area. The other piece of this is then going back into the classroom and teaching our students what they're learning through the research. This is also where the partnership with amcor comes in so that we're integrating in the latest technologies, the latest thinking, and that gets into our curriculum that really helps separate our curriculum from from other options. And then the third piece really is an outreach piece. So I'm envisioning that this person in the endowed chair, they're going to be visible in industry conferences, and government and NGO workshops, and different foundations, and really bring a data driven scientific perspective in how to help solve sustainability issues, as well as how to help guide and shape where laws and regulations can help in all of this.

Eric Grosvenor 17:44
We are convinced that in partnering with MSU, I mean, we are endowing the chair, which is a professorship, looking at sustainability, that we can promote and actually accelerate thought leadership in this space, we need more, there's much more innovation to be had. And we think MSU is the place that's going to drive that. And we're just glad to be able to partner with you, both in that chair for the professorship as well as you know, helping out with the facilities in the building. And this is going to be just a start of a relationship. And I'm looking forward to the next 75 MSU grads that we're going to get bringing you all into our technology centers letting us work with you, on the whole spectrum of different opportunities out there. Because we have to crack the code on this, when I talk to my kids about what I do and how proud I am to be here. You know, in today's generation, sometimes packaging of any type gets a bad name for a variety of reasons, I say, really, you really want to move the needle, you really want to help the environment and make a real difference in greenhouse gas emissions or whatever it is. And this is your answer, solve the packaging problem, figure out how to get every one of these bt bottles recycled and then made out of 100% PCR that will do more to help the environment that just about any other activity that you can engage in anywhere. So you want to move the needle needle, this is where you do it. MSU is right at the forefront of that.

Fred Stephan 19:13
We've made a commitment to the environment and our commitment is to transform the sustainability of flexible packaging. And we see that, you know combining our efforts with the academic world and all the talents at Michigan State, as well as the real world experience that we have at amcor working with many diverse customers around the world can really help us accelerate our efforts to bring sustainable packaging solutions to everyone. It's part of an koers overall strategy of open innovation as we develop more flexible packaging solutions, you know, and I think the partnership really offers us access to you know, the MSU talent, really bright minds and just working on you know how to make the world better. To place it's going to take all of us working together to make progress in this area. It's not it's not just one single group of companies or constituencies, it's everyone working together to really advance the cause.

Russ White 20:12
And, Matt, what are some challenges and opportunities ahead for the packaging industry?

Matt Daum 20:17
I think from a challenge perspective, there definitely is a lot more heightened awareness in general society about waste and pollution. And the role of packaging packaging is very visible at times in that conversation. And so there's, there's a, there's definitely a challenge and trying to bring to the table into the conversation, all the benefits of packaging. So what doesn't get talked about as much is the food waste that's prevented from packaging, or the the delivery of life saving medicines or vaccines as totally dependent on packaging. And so there's elements like that, that need to be brought into the conversation to help balance out the sometimes the negative perception of packaging. So those are, I think that's kind of the general category of of challenge. opportunities. There's lots of opportunities, everything from new material developments. And that means maybe moving away from petroleum based and maybe more other types of renewable resources, and still yet maintaining the the properties of current plastics, I think another big opportunity is connecting all the different parts of the value chain, so the producers of packaging, and then the brand owners that use packaging, and then the recycling infrastructure and helping to make the case for investment in, in the infrastructure for recycling. So trying to work through where the players and every node of that value chain where they're incented. And, and because everyone wants to do the right thing. But how do you help bring that conversation together, and then create a whole ecosystem that has long term, viability and scalability. And so there's, I think, a lot of a lot of opportunity there.

Russ White 22:18
Director Matt Daum says packaging is a major for students who want to combine their varied interests to directly impact our environment.

Matt Daum 22:26
Well, I tell you, packaging is something that as a student, you don't really know about it very often, or you, it's not the first major that comes to your mind. So we're called a discovery major, because usually people find it once they get here. But, I mean, I was inspired to go into packaging, because I had a family member who actually worked with Nestle at the time, I had no idea that there were actually jobs out there to design packaging. And so the what I would say to students is that this is a very unique major, for this reason, it blends creativity, with engineering and material science, and it has business in it as well. And so it's it's this very interesting combination, where you're creating things that the people see touch, feel, and you are able to directly have an impact on the environment. So when you're designing packaging for a company, your front and center with customers and how they view sustainability and the environment and you can have, you can have great impact. And we have very high starting salaries. It's one of the we have one of the higher starting salaries in the university, and certainly in the college here. The other thing I'd say is we have students go to almost all the fortune 500 companies. So we've got students, yeah, Tesla, apple, Pepsi, you name it, and there's probably an MSU packaging grad in those companies. So fantastic way to combine lots of different interests into something that is creative and visible and tangible. And, and usually, usually you'll find yourself having a great career in packaging. You know, one more thing I would say to prospective students is that come Come check us out. It the atmosphere in packaging is very family like and so in that sense, it can be different than other majors. It's not. It's not an environment where students are trying to compete with each other. This really is a collaborative environment. And it's a collaborative industry. And so that mentality lends itself to really not just becoming a pageant professional, but becoming friends with others in the profession. And you'll find that the alumni network is really, really helpful for new students, new employees. And so we have our own career fair. We have alumni that helped prepare students for career fair. We have good alumni network to keep people connected. And so look, we're wide open. We want to make this this perfect. Session available to anyone who has interest.

Russ White 25:02
In summarizing the importance of an cores gift to the MSU School of Packaging. Daum says he hopes this is the first of many partnerships between the school and industry.

Matt Daum 25:13
Well, first of all, I want to say a huge thank you to Amcor, I mean, this was this is just really unprecedented. In terms of the size, it's a it's the largest corporate gift given to MSU, direct corporate gift given to MSU. And it means a lot that they would think that highly of our program and our school. So hats off to them that really shows a leadership perspective and vision. And we want to make good we want to make good on on that. And so that's that's the first thing I would say is thank you. You know, the other thing it does is it really demonstrates the kind of partnership that we want to have, and that we need to have with industry. So if we're gonna continue to be the premier program, and we're going to continue to grow and develop students that the industry needs, then I'm hoping that this is just the start of many kinds of partnerships that we can have with industry that really creates a robust long term program that meets the needs for students and for our faculty, and for the companies that that our students go work for.

Eric Grosvenor 26:20
You know, there's two other elements in working with MSU, when Amcor and MSU come into partnership that I think are just fantastic and full of opportunity. Number one is as we push the thought leadership and the innovation, together, we're going to come up with things and MSU will come up with things that Amcor just by nature of our products probably wouldn't capitalize on ourselves. But there are huge opportunities elsewhere. And that's the door that MSU can open. They are unconstrained completely. They can seed ideas into other organizations could be other universities, NGOs, maybe even other companies in a way that we couldn't by nature of the businesses that we're in. And then very exciting to me, I'd made the comment earlier that I'm standing on the shoulders of the giants that came before it and the work that's done. Well, this is our responsibility. You know, we need to groom and train and enable the next generation of leaders, not just in packaging, but in all of sustainability, the circular economy. And we think MSU is at the forefront of that. So being able to contribute and play our part in the next. and developing that next generation of leaders is huge and gives us all a great amount of satisfaction. It's one of the things we can help give back as a leader in the industry is let's enable the future.

Fred Stephan 27:39
So I just wanted to also offer a big shout out to our all of our Michigan State alumni. Thank you for all of your efforts, co-ops interns, full-time employees. Hopefully this demonstrates our commitment to the legacy that you're creating it Amcor and we look forward to recruiting much more in the future from Michigan State.

Russ White 28:02
We've been discussing a $10 million gift from Switzerland-based packaging innovator Amcor to the Michigan State University School of Packaging that will establish an endowed faculty position focused on sustainability, and support renovations to the School of Packaging building. That contribution is the largest corporate gift in the history for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Home to the School of Packaging. I'm Russ White for MSU Today.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai