Longtime MSU donor Peter Secchia dies at 83 after contracting COVID-19


Secchia Stadium/Photo Credit: Michigan State Athletic Communications

Brian Goldsmith, General Assigment Reporter

EAST LANSING-  Peter Secchia, a well-known MSU Athletics program donor, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 83.  Secchia, who served as a U.S. ambassador, was also a prominent figure within the Republican Party. Secchia contracted COVID-19 shortly before his death.

He graduated from Michigan State in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. 

Secchia is perhaps most well-known for his philanthropic efforts on the campus of Michigan State. In 2010, the Grand Rapids businessman donated $1 million to help with the construction of a new softball stadium. For his contributions, the stadium was named in his honor. 

“Peter Secchia was a tremendous Spartan who loved his alma mater,” said MSU Athletic Director Bill Beekman in a press release. “His generosity touched many areas of our state, including Michigan State University and certainly Spartan Athletics.” 

The Secchia Center—a building that serves as the headquarters for the Michigan State College of Human Medicine— was also named after Secchia. It is located in Grand Rapids.

“I am very saddened to hear the news on the passing of Peter Secchia,” said MSU men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo. “He and his wife, Joan, have been incredible friends to me, Lupe and my family. What I will miss most about Peter is the loyal support he gave me.  He was someone I turned to over the years when I was making important life decisions, both personal and professional.” 

Secchia served as the U.S. ambassador to Italy from 1989-1993 after being appointed by President George H.W. Bush. Before his ambassadorship, he served on the national advisory committee for the 1988 George Bush presidential campaign. 

My thoughts are with Joan and the Secchia family on the passing of ambassador Secchia,” said MSU softball head coach Jacquie Joseph. “His love for MSU and our softball program are obvious as our beautiful stadium bears his name —a symbol of his generosity which will live on for years.” 

Seccia was born in Englewood, New Jersey, on April 15, 1937. He is survived by his wife, Joan, and their four children, Mark, Stephanie, Sandy and Charlie.