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Spartan Sagas
John Shinsky
Alumnus, 1974, 1977, 1983
Lansing, Michigan
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John Shinsky

Fostering hope.

Alumnus, 1974, 1977, 1983
Lansing, Michigan


John Shinsky knows first-hand the importance of creating opportunity for children.

As a child, the MSU alumnus and former Academic All-American Spartan football defensive tackle was orphaned and lived in foster care before being adopted and eventually receiving a scholarship from Michigan State. Today, he’s working to help young people in an orphanage he founded in Mexico.

Shinsky’s own opportunities turned into a lifetime of accomplishment. With scholarship support at MSU, he excelled both on the football field and in the classroom, earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education in 1974. He went on to earn a master’s degree in special education in 1977 and a PhD in educational administration in 1983 from Michigan State and now is an associate professor at Grand Valley State University.

Several years ago, Shinsky learned of the need for a new orphanage 2,000 miles away in Matamoros, Mexico. He knew it was his calling and his opportunity to give back.

In three years, the City of Children orphanage has served more than 60 children, and the ultimate goal is to help ensure the children pursue their education and become productive citizens who are able to help others in turn and make a difference for generations.

Shinsky believes his opportunity to go to Michigan State and receive a quality education was a gift and a blessing that he intends to pass along. “It’s important that I give back and do the same thing for other young people.”