Joan and Sanford Weill give $5 million for U-M's Ford School of Public Policy building
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan announced today (Feb. 18) a $5 million gift from Joan and Sanford Weill and the Weill Family Foundation, in support of the construction of a new building to house the school. The Weills made their gift in honor of President Gerald R. Ford, with whom they have a longstanding friendship.
"I am greatly touched by Sandy and Joan Weill's decision to make this generous donation to the Ford School in my honor," Ford said. "In recognition of their gift and our friendship of more than 20 years, I have asked the University to name the new building the Joan and Sanford Weill Hall."
"This gift will be tremendously important in helping the Ford School grow and develop its educational and research programs into the future," said U-M President Mary Sue Coleman. "The school, which bears both President Ford's name and his commitment to preparing young people for a life of public service, will be able to continue this important work in a modern, technologically advanced facility designed specifically for the work of faculty and students."
The Ford School of Public Policy was named for President Ford in 1999 in recognition of his long and outstanding career of public service. President Ford has helped the University raise more than $17 million toward construction of the new building and to support the school's academic programs.
The new building, to be named Joan and Sanford Weill Hall upon approval of the Board of Regents, will be located on the northeast corner of State and Hill streets, serving as a southern gateway to the U-M's Central Campus. The 80,000-square-foot facility will feature classrooms, a library, research centers, a computer laboratory, faculty offices, and public spaces for conferences and lectures. The internationally recognized firm of Robert A.M. Stern Architects has been selected to design the building.
"Joan and I are pleased to make this gift to the Ford School in honor of our longtime friends, President and Mrs. Ford. President Ford's own career demonstrated the importance of quality leaders in public service," said Sanford Weill. "I hope that our support of the School's new building will enhance the education of tomorrow's leaders."
Sanford Weill is chairman of Citigroup Inc., the diversified global financial services company formed in 1998 by the merger of Citicorp and Travelers Group. Mr. Weill retired as CEO of Citigroup on Oct. 1, 2003, and will serve as chairman until April 2006.
Mr. Weill became a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2001. He has served as chair of the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Hall since 1991, and he co-chaired the fundraising campaign that raised $60 million for the Hall's restoration. He and his wife, Joan, also have been generous benefactors of his alma mater, Cornell University. Both Mr. and Mrs. Weill are actively involved with the Weill Medical College of Cornell University where Mr. Weill serves as the chairman of the Board of Overseers and Mrs. Weill serves as the co-chair of the Women's Health Symposium. Mrs. Weill, a graduate of Brooklyn College, also is chair of the board of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Foundation.
"This gift is very important to the Ford School and moves the building much closer to construction," noted Rebecca Blank, dean of the Ford School. "Just as the Ford name links us to a man whose life work was devoted to public service, the Weill name will link us with Joan and Sanford Weill who have always found time for community service in addition to their many achievements in the private sector."
Gerald R. Ford, 38th president of the United States, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan in 1935. He was a member of Michigan's national championship football teams in 1932 and 1933, and the U-M campus is home to his presidential library.
Ford's lifetime of public service includes 25 years in the U.S. House of representatives. He also was a member of the Presidential Commission investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He succeeded Spiro T. Agnew as vice president of the United States in 1973, and served as U.S. president from 1974-1977.
The University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy was established in 1914 as the Institute for Public Administration and was one of the first programs in the nation to train public managers. The school's curriculum emphasizes the value of social science techniques in understanding, developing, implementing and evaluating public policies. The school also brings many distinguished leaders to campus to participate in public lectures and conferences on public policy issues.
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