All in the family: Karen Holland honors her family legacy by encouraging a new generation of volunteers

February 1, 2016

Karen Holland honors her family legacy by encouraging a new generation of volunteers.

Karen Holland
Karen Holland
Karen Holland, third from left, received the Susan B. Anthony Campus Award last year for her service to the community. She used the funds from the award to endow the Holland Family Scholarship.

There’s no place like home—except for the office. Isn’t that how the saying goes?

For Karen Holland (’82 B.A., ’96 M.P.A.), working at University of Michigan-Dearborn feels like a second home. “Many of the people here are family to me,” she said.

As the coordinator of special events in the Office of the Chancellor, Holland is visible across campus planning special university events. Fresh in her mind is Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service—Holland has organized campus volunteers for eight years to make polar fleece blankets, hats, mittens and scarves for distribution to shelters for abused women and children and the homeless.

“It’s something I look forward to because we’re helping others. And I’m able to get my campus family—the staff, students and alumni—excited about doing community service,” she said.

Holland’s commitment to community service started at an early age.

“My parents, Betty and Clair Holland, taught all of their five kids the importance of being responsible members of the community and the value of helping those in need,” said Holland.

Now, she’s honoring a new generation of volunteers. Holland established the Holland Family Scholarship in 2011 to recognize UM-Dearborn students performing community service. More recently, she started endowing the scholarship with a stipend she received as the 2014-2015 Susan B. Anthony Campus Award Recipient.

One scholarship recipient, Alexandra Choate, is applying the principle of giving back to her future plans of becoming an attorney.

“My goal is to make a contribution and assist others in a way that allows me the opportunity to make a positive change,” said the sophomore who is studying history and philosophy.

Holland believes that faculty and staff can make a difference in the futures of students like Choate. That’s why she gives back to UM-Dearborn every year during the Faculty and Staff Giving Campaign.

The annual campaign, which will run February 23 through April 12, 2016, supports the belief that the university’s future success begins with the commitment of its faculty and staff. Holland understands that employee giving sends a strong message of support and belief in the university’s mission.

“The more you help other people, the bigger the community gets and the tighter the community gets,” she said. “I believe in what I’m doing here, and it’s important to give back.”

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