Donor spotlight: Fred Sievert

Fred Sievert (’76 M.A.) had a long and successful career in the insurance business. Since he retired as president of the New York Life Insurance Company in 2007, Sievert has taken the grand sum of his own life lessons learned – personal, professional and spiritual – and uses them to benefit the lives of others.

Sievert began his career at John Hancock and then spent more than a decade at the Maccabees Mutual Life Insurance Company in Southfield before moving onto New York Life in 1991. During his career in overseeing the individual insurance businesses at New York Life – where he began as Senior Vice President and CFO of Individual Operations – the company first achieved a number-one market share ranking in the sale of life insurance in the United States, a distinction it held for the next seven years. While Sievert served as president, the company also achieved a number-one market share ranking in the sale of immediate annuities and in the direct sale of life insurance through the AARP organization.

Following his retirement from New York Life, Sievert attended Yale Divinity School, where he was awarded a master’s degree in religion in 2011. He has taught business school courses at Fairfield University and continues to serve on numerous nonprofit and for-profit boards.

In his spare time, he has written a book, titled God Revealed: Revisit Your Past to Enrich Your Future, which was published in 2014. A number of his articles and nonfiction essays have also been published in national periodicals and industry publications. In addition to remaining active throughout his career in industry activities, Sievert has also regularly participated in civic and volunteer activities in his local community and church. Fred Sievert and his wife, Susan, have five grown children and three granddaughters.

Paying it forward

When it comes to his first graduate alma mater, Sievert has been exceedingly generous with his time, talent and financial resources. He currently serves on the School of Business’ leadership committee for the Pivotal Moments Campaign for Wayne State University. Since 2012, he has given a number of lectures to Wayne State Business School students.

He was also a speaker at WSU’s spring 2015 commencement, where he shared some of his tips to success and explained to the new graduates where his commitment to supporting student scholarships began.

"Like many of you, I was raised in Detroit in a lower middle-class family that couldn’t afford to send me to college," Sievert told the audience. "If it weren’t for scholarships and numerous part-time jobs, I would never have been able to attend college at all."

Sievert went onto tell the graduates that he was the first in his family to earn a college degree, a trait he knew he shared with many in attendance.

"I am not just some old, successful business guy who was asked to speak today," he said. "No! I’m one of you … a Wayne State grad and proud of it!"

How can I give back?

To learn more about making a financial contribution to the Wayne State University School of Business, please visit or contact:

Stephen D. Moore, CTFA, AEP
Director of Major Gifts

April Jones
Associate Director of Development


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