Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M

Topics: Philanthropy

Victors for Michigan

By Laura Lessnau
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“Where the leaders and best come together”

In early November the University publicly launched its most ambitious fundraising campaign of $4 billion—the largest effort in the history of public higher education.

U-M’s most recent campaign, the Michigan Difference, ran from 2004-08 and raised $3.2 billion.

The University has already received gifts totaling $1.7 billion during a two-year silent phase of the fundraising effort. Every unit and all three U-M campuses will participate in the campaign for some or all of the three priorities: student support, engaged learning, and bold ideas.

Priority one: Student Support

The University’s highest priority is to raise funds for student support so that every student accepted by Michigan can afford to attend, so that the University can attract students who can compete at the highest levels, and so that every student can have an outstanding experience. The goal for that priority is $1 billion.

Priority two: Engaged Learning

The second priority is to extend learning from the classroom out into the world to provide a global purview and to encourage a creative, entrepreneurial mindset. Such experiences can occur in nearby communities like Detroit or Flint and across the globe.

Priority three: Bold Ideas

The third priority, linked to the U-M’s responsibility as a public university, is to collaborate on bold ideas to address the world’s most challenging problems, such as sustainability, kindergarten-12th grade education, and cancer.

President Mary Sue Coleman is confident the University can meet its ambitious goals.

 ”University of Michigan donors have always understood the importance of private gifts to the success of the university,” she said. “They understand that private support adds the margin of excellence necessary to maintaining our role as one of the top public research universities in the world.”

Andrea Fischer Newman, chair of the U-M Board of Regents, said the regents were committed to maintaining the excellence of the public research university, while also maintaining its affordability.

“We believe that by judiciously controlling our costs and tuition increases, while also committing university funds for financial aid, we can join with donors to make it possible for the best students, from any socio-economic background, to afford to get a Michigan education,” Fischer Newman said.

“The regents are particularly pleased that students at U-M have embraced the culture of philanthropy, becoming donors and fundraisers for the campaign. For the first time, there is a student committee as part of the campaign leadership. Students are announcing that they have given and raised more than $1.5 million for the campaign thus far. This is an extraordinary act of philanthropy.”

Stephen M. Ross, U-M’s largest donor, is serving as chair of the campaign.

Laura Lessnau

Laura Lessnau

LAURA LESSNAU is director of Michigan News, the University's news service. Follow Laura on Twitter: @LauraLess24.