In 1946, Stephen Hickman's father helped found Brazeway, Inc. Headquartered in Adrian, Michigan, Brazeway is known worldwide as an innovative producer in the HVAC, automotive, appliance, and commercial refrigeration industries. While Brazeway was the family business, philanthropy became the family tradition, spanning three generations and improving the lives of people in their communities and the world over.

The origins of the Hickman Family Endowed Chair in Oncology, established in 2022, date back to 1989. At that time, Stephen and Sally Hickman gathered the family to create a foundation that would allow the family to make a difference in the lives of others, together.

The Stephen L. Hickman Family Foundation focuses on community and economic development, health, arts, education, environment, and impact investing.

The Hickman Family Endowed Chair in Oncology was established when MSU Alumnus Stephen Hickman (’64, Business); his wife, Sally; and their family—daughter Stephanie Hickman Boyse, a 1990 graduate of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences; daughter Tracy Hickman, who earned a degree in interior design in 1988; and Tracy’s spouse, Chad Munger, a 1988 graduate of the College of Arts and Letters—made a $6 million gift to support cancer research and treatment at Michigan State University. Half the gift went toward the chair, while the other supports research to advance the standard of oncology care in veterinary and human medicine.