ANN ARBOR—The University of Michigan publicly launched its most ambitious fundraising campaign of $4 billion—the largest effort in the history of public higher education.
The goal for the Victors for Michigan campaign, the sixth one undertaken by U-M, was announced Thursday at a news conference. The most recent, the Michigan Difference campaign, ran from 2004 to 2008 and raised $3.2 billion.
The university has already received gifts totaling $1.7 billion during a two-year silent phase, before the public launch. Every unit and all three U-M campuses will participate in the campaign fundraising for some or all of the three priorities:
- Student support
- Engaged learning
- Bold ideas
The university's highest priority is to raise funds for student support so that every student accepted by the university 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 student experience. The goal for that priority is $1 billion.
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.
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 expressed her confidence in the success of the ambitious campaign.
"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, the U-M's largest donor, is serving as chair of the campaign.
A celebration to kick off the public phase of the campaign will be held Friday (Nov. 8), with a community-wide festival on Ingalls Mall at 5-7:30 p.m. followed by an event in Hill Auditorium at 8 p.m. Following the Hill event, there will be an after party at 9-10 p.m. on Ingalls Mall. All events are acknowledgement that it takes an entire community—alumni, faculty and staff, students, fans, friends and grateful patients—to achieve the goal of raising $4 billion.
- Victors for Michigan campaign: https://leadersandbest.umich.edu/