In 1959, Phil and Betty Georgeau met on the old campus hill of WMU. They were both studying anatomy in the same building. She was a Bronson student nurse and he was studying biology and chemistry. Three years later they married and started life together in Kalamazoo. They never lived more than five miles from campus. For fifty-four years, Western had always been home to this couple. They immersed themselves in Bronco culture and sporting events. Phil used Waldo library extensively to develop his business and for consulting purposes. Betty loved football and the 2016 unbeaten season was a special year for her.
In 1987, Betty was diagnosed with a slow progressive form of multiple sclerosis. She worked in nursing until she could no longer walk in 1999. In spite of her disability Betty was a driving force in their family business and an inspiration to all who knew her and worked with her.
Together the Georgeau family built three businesses creating over two hundred jobs. The most recent business, Chern Link, had one hundred and four employees when Phil and Betty sold the company in 2016 . By then Betty had lost her mobility, but not her intellect and passion for life. The last Georgeau business was committed to developing adhesive, sealant, and coating construction products that are stronger, safer, more durable, and also sensitive to the needs of the world we live in. The only world we have.
Violent weather, increases in ambient temperature, energy shortages, population increases, and air quality problems have forced engineers and architects to rethink traditional building codes and construction practices. Change is not only desirable, but it is unavoidable. To help meet these needs the Georgeau's have provided $5,000,000 to develop the Construction Research Institute at WMU committed to support innovative construction research.
Along with this gift, an additional $250,000 were gifted to the WMU Office for Sustainability help further their studies in environmental and renewable building materials issues that impact our current and future survivability on this planet. Additionally, the Georgeau family has endowed $500,000 for a permanent scholarship in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences in Betty Georgeau' s name.
Betty passed away in November 2016 but it was her wish, along with her husband’s, that these financial resources be made available to Western Michigan University as partial repayment for all the University has done for them, their family, their employees, and their community.