Michigan State University main website

MSU Libraries Receives Largest Donation In Its History

MSU Main Library
The MSU Libraries has received the largest single donation in its history — a gift from research scientist Keelung Hong in honor of his longtime partner Stephen O. Murray, a sociologist, anthropologist and independent scholar who graduated from MSU’s James Madison College.

Dean of Libraries Joseph Salem said the donation will be used to renovate space on Three East in the Main Library and to move Special Collections to that floor.

Stephen O. Murray

Stephen O. Murray, a sociologist, anthropologist and independent scholar who graduated from MSU’s James Madison College.

“This gift is a tremendous act of generosity and philanthropy,” Salem said. “The etymological root of philanthropy begins with love, and this is Keelung Hong’s demonstration of love for Stephen Murray, for MSU Libraries and for research, teaching and learning. His gift will help us support and protect our collections, and it will help us support research related to issues of diversity and inclusion. We appreciate all that his donation represents.”

The library renovation will include the addition of a dedicated HVAC system and a fire suppression system. The move to Three East will create more storage capacity for Special Collections, provide Special Collections staff with a dedicated processing space, offer more security for the collections and give Special Collections staff the opportunity to work together in one location.


Keelung Hong, research scientist at the University of California, San Francisco.

The recently created Special Collections Reading Room and the Special Collections Seminar Room will remain on the first floor of the Main Library.

MSU Libraries will receive $5 million from Hong for the renovation and relocation. Hong’s total gift to MSU is $6.1 million. James Madison College will receive $1 million to support the Stephen O. Murray Scholar in Residence.

Each year this residency will support a different visiting scholar who will research, teach and have access to the library’s Stephen O. Murray Archival Collection and MSU library’s other vast resources.

The other $100,000 will be used by MSU Libraries for travel fellowships to bring other outside researchers to MSU Special Collections to use Murray’s materials.

“My donation is intended to ensure that Stephen O. Murray’s research, whether complete and published or incomplete and remaining unpublished at his death, remains accessible to other scholars, and to support additional research into the topics that interested him,” Hong said. “I also want MSU students, staff and faculty to know and remember his passion and appreciation of his college days.”

Keelung Hong (right) and Stephen O. Murray (left) pictured in 1983.

Keelung Hong (right) and Stephen O. Murray (left) pictured in 1983.

Hong met Murray in 1981 while Murray was doing postdoctoral research at Berkeley’s Anthropology Department. “He was probably the first sociologist I knew in my schooling and professional training years,” Hong said.

Murray invited Hong to the American Anthropological Association annual meeting in 1983. “As I learned more about his interests in social science, I knew he could help me to answer questions about governmental propaganda, which I experienced growing-up under martial laws in Taiwan,” Hong said.

Later, the pair wrote two books together on Taiwan.

“I admire his efforts to collect books and to donate to libraries, and his commitment to libraries really helped me understand that I should continue to support his interests and continue to support libraries for future generations,” Hong said.

Stephen O. Murray, a San Francisco-based sociologist, anthropologist and independent scholar, wrote and contributed to more than 20 books. His publications include studies in sociolinguistics, the history of social sciences and extensive historical and cross-cultural studies on homosexuality in various cultures.

An earlier gift from MSU alumna Beverly Smith gave the Libraries an opportunity to begin plans for this phase of the Special Collections project.

Special Collections was established in 1962 with the charge to house special materials and to build, preserve and make accessible important research collections for educational use. Today, Special Collections holds over 450,000 printed works, numerous manuscript and archival collections, and an extensive collection that supports research in popular culture, radicalism, comic art and gender.

Cindy Hunter Morgan and Beth Brauer via MSU Today

Comments are closed.