It is not easy to describe Shawn Koch in a few words. An alumni of the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University, he was also a dedicated husband, son, father, friend, musician, leader, and so much more. He had a thirst for knowledge and a personality that thrived off of learning more about life. Family and friends remember him for his infectious smile and laugh that complimented his compassionate nature.
His intellectual curiosity and driven personality enriched his ability to learn from those around him. Shawn valued viewpoints and cultures diverse from his own, and was inspired by various experiences including his study abroad to Ecuador and involvement in Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. During his time at MSU, Shawn created countless relationships that lasted beyond graduation.
Shawn’s unique appreciation for every person he met and ability to always look for the good in others was inspiring. His brain cancer diagnosis in January 2010 certainly could have changed his optimistic zest for life, but it did not. He continuously led his peers by example, teaching all those around him important lessons about living life to the fullest.
Shawn Koch showing off his infectious smile
College roommate and close friend, James Carlin said, “Shawn was never the loudest person in the room, but his words instantly commanded attention because of the respect that everyone had for him.”
Shawn lost a brave battle with brain cancer on June 13, 2011, at 34 years of age. Family and friends established the Shawn M. Koch Memorial Scholarship Fund as a way to celebrate his life and give back to his alma mater in partnership with the RCPD. The scholarship will provide financial support to MSU students who share Shawn’s intellectual curiosity, leadership, work ethic and determination. He continues to leave a legacy not only through his embodiment of Spartan leadership but also through the impact he had on loved ones including his daughter, Charlie Mae Koch. She shares her father’s curiosity and contagious smile that will continue to live on through this endowment.
Carlin said, “Shawn had incredible work ethic and was tenacious about achieving his goals. He would be thrilled to know that scholarships awarded in his name are going to students who share that same drive and determination.”
Eligibility for this scholarship includes both undergraduate and graduate students of MSU with any major. Priority is given to students with financial need and whose lives have been directly affected by cancer, either personally or through a family member or friend. Recipients are awarded at the RCPD Awards Reception in the spring, and the scholarship becomes effective the following fall semester. Award size is based on endowment performance with anticipation for at least $1,000.
The RCPD would like to recognize how instrumental Shawn’s family has been in making this commemoration possible. His parents, wife, sister, and fraternity brothers have shown tremendous support through their fundraising and contributions. If you are interested in contributing to this fund, visit the RCPD Make a Gift page.