Michigan State University

MSU Library Receives Largest Cash Donation in its History for Renovation and Relocation of Special Collections

Cindy Hunter Morgan

Stephen O Murray (left) and Keelung Hong, PhD  (right) in 1983

The MSU Library has received the largest single cash donation in its history, a gift from research scientist Keelung Hong, PhD, 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 A. Salem, Jr. said the donation will be used to renovate space on Three East in the Main Library and to move Special Collections to that floor. 


“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. 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 and teach and will have access to the Library’s Stephen O. Murray Archival Collection and other vast resources of the MSU Libraries. 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is intended to ensure that Stephen O. Murray’s research, whether complete and published or incomplete and remaining unpublished at his death, remains accessible to other scholars, and to support additional research into the topics that interested him,” Hong said.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.”


Hong met Murray in 1981 while Murray was doing postdoctoral research at Berkeley Anthropology Department. “He was probably the first sociologist I knew in my schooling and professional training years,” Hong said. “In 1983, he invited me to attend the American Anthropological Association annual meeting. 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. Later and together, we wrote two books 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.” 


Stephen O. Murray, a San Francisco-based sociologist, anthropologist and independent scholar, was raised in rural southern Minnesota. He graduated from James Madison College at Michigan State University and later attended the University of Arizona. He earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Toronto, was a postdoctoral fellow in anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, and worked in public health in California, Ohio, and Texas. He wrote and contributed to more than 20 books.Hispublications include studies in sociolinguistics, the history of social sciences, and extensive historical and cross-cultural studies on homosexuality in various cultures.He was an aficionado of Japanese and Sicilian cinema and literature. He held positions on the editorial boards of several journals including the Journal of Homosexuality, Sexualities, Histories of Anthropology Annual, Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology, and Anthropology Today.


Keelung Hong, PhD, Stephen O. Murray’s partner for 38 years, is a native of rural Taichung and was educated at Taiwan Cheng Kung University; the University of Texas at El Paso; and the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned a Ph.D. in chemistry. He did postdoctoral research at Stanford University and was a research scientist at the University of California, San Francisco for 20 years. He has published over 100 research papers, and his longstanding interest in improving cancer therapy has led to a series of breakthroughs and a number of patents in drug carrier technology for improving drug and gene delivery. 


After being a consultant to several biotech companies, Dr. Hong founded Taiwan Liposome Company in Taiwan and its subsidiary, TLC Biopharmaceuticals in United States. He currently serves as Chairman & CEO. Under his leadership, TLC has been selected by Red Herring as a Winner of Asia Top 100 Company in 2006 and a Finalist of Global Top 100 in 2007. TLC went public in Taiwan in December of 2012. Subsequently TLC was dual listed in NASDAQ in November of 2018.


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


The MSU Libraries are partners in the teaching, learning, research, and engagement missions of Michigan State University. 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 of ephemera supporting research in popular culture, radicalism, comic art, and gender. Notable rare book collections include early veterinary medicine, eighteenth century British history and culture, modern American literature, cookery, and natural history. All of the materials may be seen and used in the Special Collections reading room during open hours. The core mission of the Libraries is to create an inclusive environment where intellectual discovery is encouraged. 


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