Wayne State mourns the loss of Carol C. Schaap, longtime employee and benefactor

The Wayne State University community is deeply saddened by the death of Carol C. Schaap on Aug. 4, 2023, at the age of 85. Carol was a longtime member of the Wayne State family and a recognized name for her philanthropic efforts on Wayne State's campus, as well as at Hope College, and in Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park.

Raised in Detroit, Carol Craig Schaap graduated from St. Mary's Commercial High School in 1955. After secretarial stints at the FBI and Parke-Davis, she joined Wayne State in 1961 as secretary for the chair of the chemistry department. She went on to serve as secretary for the vice president of research, the provost, and in 1982, became the executive secretary to the president of the university, David Adamany. She remained in that role until her retirement in 1990.

While working in the chemistry department, Carol met faculty member Dr. A. Paul Schaap, and the couple married in 1976. Dr. Schaap retired from the university in 2000, and he survives her.

The Schaaps are best known at Wayne State for the transformative gift that funded construction of a new lecture hall and a four-story glass-enclosed atrium as part of the expansion and renovation of the chemistry building, now known as the A. Paul Schaap Chemistry Building and Lecture Hall, as well as the renovation of the Central Instrument Facility, now known as the Lumigen Instrument Center. Lumigen, Inc. is the company founded by Dr. Schaap based on the research he and his team developed, which was a novel luminescent compound called a 1,2-dioxetane that can be triggered to produce light in medical tests.

The couple also established the A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap Endowed Chair in Chemistry, the A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap Endowed Distinguished Graduate Student Stipend, graduate chemistry fellowships and the Schaap Faculty Scholars program in chemistry. Through an estate gift, they established the A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap Endowed Facility Preservation Fund to ensure the A. Paul Schaap Chemistry Building and Lecture Hall remains at its highest level.

"Carol was a true partner to Paul in supporting Wayne State chemistry faculty and students," said Matt Allen, chair of the Department of Chemistry. "Their passion for creating new pathways for learning and discovery in this field has been immeasurably impactful in helping us attract the very best faculty and students, and pursue valuable research in a state-of-the-art facility."

The couple also made numerous leadership gifts in support of Hope College, Dr. Schaap's alma mater. These include the A. Paul Schaap Science Center, the Schaap Auditorium in the college's student center, many gifts for the college's Department of Chemistry, and the Saint Anne Oratory at the Carol C. Schaap Chapel, a worship space for Catholics on Hope's campus.

Their shared passion for giving led to the formation of the A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap Foundation, which supports education, community initiatives and the arts. One of the foundation's most significant gifts was its pledge of $5 million to jump-start the Grand Bargain during Detroit's bankruptcy. Their contribution was the first, and it led to other foundation and individual gifts that were instrumental in restoring pension funds and preventing the Detroit Institute of Arts from having to sell pieces of its collection.

"It's so interesting that Dr. Schaap's research and career involved generating light through a chemical reaction," said Dave Ripple, vice president of development and alumni affairs at Wayne State. "In his life, Carol was his light, and they had a shared sense of values about what was important to them and a shared vision about how to make a difference."

As residents of Grosse Pointe Park for more than 30 years, their philanthropy established the Carol C. Schaap Theatre in the city's Windmill Pointe Park and the A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap Center for the Performing Arts, which is set to open in 2025.

In 2015, Carol was asked what kept her working at Wayne State for 30 years. "I liked the atmosphere and the collegiality and what good the university was doing in educating the student population," Carol recalled. "In the city of Detroit, I'm sure I would have had an opportunity someplace like General Motors or Chrysler or one of the other corporations, but I'm glad I chose Wayne State."

A memorial service to honor Carol's life will be held at St. Paul on the Lake Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, on Saturday, Aug. 26, at 10 a.m.

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