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May 14, 2004

The Michigan Difference campaign launched with $2.5 billion goal

Michigan Difference website >

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman publicly launched the University's major fundraising campaign today (May 14), and announced an ambitious goal of $2.5 billion. The campaign, titled The Michigan Difference, will support scholarships, endowed professorships, academic programs, facilities and other projects.

Since launching the quiet phase of the campaign in 2000, the University has raised $1.094 billion in cash and pledges and $187 million in bequests, a total of $1.281 billion or 51 percent of the goal. The campaign will wrap up Dec. 31, 2008.

"The Michigan Difference will focus on maintaining and building the depth of excellence that is the foundation of the University of Michigan's pre-eminence as a public research university," Coleman said. "Fourteen of U-M's colleges and programs rank among the top 10 in the nation, a claim no other university can make. Our breadth of accomplishment and activity—in Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint—gives U-M students and faculty an unparalleled array of opportunities. The title of the campaign, The Michigan Difference, captures the remarkable capability of the University of Michigan to make a difference for our students, for our state and for society."

The breakdown for fund-raising goals across the University reflects the campaign's focus on the core academic mission: $400 million for student scholarships and fellowships; $425 million for faculty support; $625 million for programs and research; $500 million for facilities; and $150 million for labs, infrastructure and discretionary support.

The campaign goal was announced during a three-day kick-off attended by more than 1,200 donors and friends who had the opportunity to learn about the projects that fund raising will support and to attend 90 events showcasing academic programs.

Coleman also announced that President Gerald R. Ford and Betty Ford will serve as the honorary chairs of the campaign. Ford, the 38th president of the United States, is a 1935 U-M graduate and is the namesake of U-M's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. He served in leadership roles in two previous U-M campaigns.

"Betty and I are delighted to serve as honorary chairs of The Michigan Difference campaign. The University of Michigan has had such a profound influence on my life that I believe strongly in giving back to this institution. We are proud to lend our support and commitment to this effort that will make a difference to students and faculty now and in the future, and in turn to the state, the nation and the world.

"As a leader in previous campaigns for the University, I have seen over and over that our donors have always provided a substantial margin of excellence, making the difference between a good university and a great public institution. We look to our supporters once again to join us in making The Michigan Difference campaign a success."

Jerry May, vice president for development, noted the tremendous response to the kickoff from invited guests. "We could not be more delighted that more than 1,000 volunteers joined us on campus to express their support for The Michigan Difference. The wonderful response from our donors and friends exemplifies the enthusiasm that will make this campaign a success," May said.

Paul N. Courant, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, noted, “Philanthropy has always been a part of what makes Michigan great, and is even more important in the budget climate that we face today. Private giving helps us to provide that margin of excellence that makes the Michigan Difference.”

In setting priorities for the campaign, U-M's 19 colleges and schools, three campuses and numerous other units collaborated to define five themes that express core activities across the institution.

Fulfill the Promise of Science and Technology. A broad array of University colleges, schools and departments collaborate to discover knowledge and develop technologies that improve and save lives, create innovative solutions for sustaining the environment and make information technology secure and accessible for all.

Enrich the Student Experience. Michigan students study with faculty whose excellence has been rewarded with prestigious prizes and nominations to the nation's most respected scholarly societies. Fund raising will provide for student scholarships and fellowships, as well as programs and new facilities, to make the student experience the best it can be.

Inspire a Life of Arts and Culture. In the classroom and throughout museums and theaters, the University stimulates creativity and engages tomorrow's performers and artisans. The University educates actors, architects, dancers, musicians and designers, while exposing the entire student body and the community to outstanding cultural offerings, enriching the quality of life for all.

Advance Health and Society's Well-Being. University doctors and researchers, social scientists, public policy experts and scientists obtain new knowledge, introduce treatments, provide insights and identify trends that advance health care delivery, inform government decision-making, care for the planet, increase understanding and improve the human condition.

Prepare Leaders for the Local and Global Community. The University puts force behind its maxim of "Leaders and Best" by imbuing students with a sense of citizenship, by encouraging deeper knowledge of various cultures, and by imparting a sense of global connectedness.

Contact: Nancy Connell
Phone: (734) 764-7260