Dr. Berg

Dr. Sam Baskett

Why an Endowment?

While we were meeting in his Morrill Hall office in December 1982, Dr. Sam Baskett told me that he hated to fail a graduate student unless he absolutely had to do so. In my case, he explained, he did not feel that he absolutely had to do so.

Dr. Baskett's message was clear. I was on the verge of failing out of my doctoral program. Essentially, I was on Academic Probation.

Three months later, I stopped drinking.

On behalf of the Michigan State University English department, in 1983 Dr. Baskett awarded me an assistantship. Academically, I was no longer the same student with whom he had met with less than a year earlier.

I am aware that some would argue that assistantships and other forms of financial aid are better spent only on those whom have never experienced a personal setback; that it is a mistake to take a risk on a student like me.

In December 1983, I finished teaching my first college composition class. Just three years later, in 1986, I was awarded the most prestigious honor Michigan State University gave to graduate teaching assistants.

In 1987, I published my first book. And in 1989, I completed my dissertation on AA, Spiritual Issues, and the Treatment of Lesbian and Gay Alcoholics.

I am currently a tenured faculty member at Schoolcraft College with a joint appointment in the departments of English and History; a tenured faculty member who had almost failed out of graduate school.

I am grateful that Dr. Baskett and the Michigan State University English Department believed, as I do, that students who have had serious setbacks can reach their potential with appropriate encouragement and mentoring.

The Berg Endowment honors

  • my family who for years have been strong supporters of education.

  • Dr. Cathy N. Davidson, Dr. Mary Lee Schneider, Dr. George Landon, and others who guided my own academic career and helped me re-establish myself as a scholar and provided the initial guidance in my path to a professorship.

  • the talented students who are able to overcome obstacles to pursue their education.

  • those who referred to themselves as the Back Porch Group.



Return to Home Page


The Berg Endowment and Dr. Steven L. Berg Fund are managed through the

Dr. Berg


This page was last updated on 25 August 2011.