Alpena man receives MSU Snyder Award

ALPENA – Alpena resident Carl Basel recently was welcomed into the Jonathan L. Snyder Society by Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon for his contributions to MSU. He received a personalized memento for his recognition along with a letter conveying warm thanks from Simon. Basel and his late wife, Helen, established many scholarship funds for students planning to attend or currently attending the university.

“Helen and I never had children,” Basel said. “I always expressed to her that I thought we should set up some scholarships. We wanted to do something to help the youth in our area.”

The Carl and Helen Basel MSU Scholarship Fund has been assisting students from Northeast Michigan who wish to attend MSU’s College of Natural Resources, College of Agriculture, Human Medicine, Engineering and a few other specific studies. The couple also established an Annual Outstanding Senior Award Fund, an endowment of an MSU Scholarship Fund administered by the Community Foundation of Northeast Michigan, and in 2013 Carl created an endowed MSU dcholarship fund just for students in Mortheast Michigan.

“The fund for students from Northeast Michigan includes eight counties,” Basel said. “The funds have done very well. The faculty decides who gets the award, and the students must have a 3.0 (grade point average) or better and plan on going to MSU.”

This scholarship is available only to students from Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego and Presque Isle counties.

Basel grew up on a farm in Wellington Township, just northeast of Hillman, where he spent 21 years of his life until he went into the service. He served 4 1/2 years in the United States Coast Guard during World War II, and when he returned, went on to receive a B.S. degree in forestry in 1950 from MSU, and a M.S. in forest management the next year. He worked with the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Soil Conservation Service before becoming a forester with Abitibi-Price in 1956 in Alpena, attaining the level of chief forester.

“I chose MSU because I was raised on a farm, and it was always an agriculture and natural resources oriented university,” Basel said.

In Simon’s letter to Basel, she emphasizes the “substantial personal commitment” Basel has made, and how this commitment will contribute to “ensuring that the innovation for which Snyder is recognized continues at MSU well into the 21st century.”

Jonathan L. Snyder was president of MSU from 1896 to 1915, and is credited with introducing many innovations in higher education. During his tenure, the student body increased four-fold, and the faculty increased five-fold.

“It gives you a good feeling to find a way to contribute,” Basel said. “I have hundreds of ‘thank you’s’ from students. It makes you feel good.”

The funds set up by the Basels continue to help students pursue natural resource and health degrees through ACC and MSU, and will continue for years into the future.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.