Alfred Taubman gives $30 million

June 17, 1999

ANN ARBOR—University of Michigan President Lee C. Bollinger announced today that businessman and philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman will give $30 million to the U-M College of Architecture and Urban Planning. “This is one of the largest gifts in the University’s history and the most generous single gift ever made to a school of architecture in the United States,” Bollinger said.

Following the action of the U-M Regents today, the College will be known as the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

“Our aspirations, with this extraordinary gift, are no less than to transform the Taubman College into one of the preeminent schools of architecture and urban planning in the world,” Bollinger said. “This is a visionary gift, enabling us in one stroke to take giant steps forward in the next few years.”
U-M Provost Nancy Cantor explained, “When Douglas Kelbaugh joined the University as dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, we began to talk about the school’s programmatic and scholarly needs over the next decade. Because the Taubman gift is unrestricted endowment for the College, we will be able to allocate the new income in precisely the areas where it will make the most difference.”

According to Kelbaugh, “this endowment gift will provide the ongoing funding we need literally to transform the College. New merit scholarships and fellowships will improve our ability to compete nationally for the top applicants. We will also build on the strength of our faculty through several new appointments of junior and senior scholars and practitioners.”
Alfred Taubman is founder and chairman of The Taubman Company, Inc., a leading developer of innovative retail and commercial projects, and chairman of Sotheby’s, the leading international art auction house. He attended the U-M College of Architecture and Urban Planning and has been a longtime friend and adviser to the College. In 1991, the University awarded Taubman the honorary degree of doctor of laws. His daughter, Gayle Taubman Kalisman (BFA ’74), graduated from the U-M School of Art and Design and received a certificate in education.

One of the University’s most generous benefactors, Taubman made gifts to the University’s Medical Center for the construction of the A. Alfred Taubman Health Care Center and Taubman Medical Library. This latest gift to the University is the largest gift Taubman has made to any institution.

In making this most recent commitment to the University, Taubman said: “This gift represents both my deep respect for the University of Michigan and my commitment to the study of architecture and urban planning. It is an honor and pleasure for me to be able to provide this support to the College.”

The Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning is only the second school at the U-M to be named. In 1935, the University’s Regents established the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies as a result of a gift from the trustees of the Horace H. Rackham and Mary A. Rackham Fund of Detroit which gave the University $6.5 million for a building for graduate studies and an endowment to support scholarly investigations.

The U-M’s College of Architecture and Urban Planning has a long and distinguished tradition. Courses in architecture were first offered at the U-M in 1876 and recognized as a formal course of study within Engineering in 1906. Under Emil Lorch’s leadership, the program grew steadily in size and stature and, in 1913, the University granted the program departmental status. Lorch continued to shape the program and, in 1923, was instrumental in bringing Eliel Saarinen from Finland to teach at Michigan. By 1931, the College of Architecture was established as a separate entity.

Michigan was not only one of the few schools that considered research to be a necessary element of architectural education, but also introduced one of the first urban planning graduate programs in the country by the mid-1940’s. In addition, Michigan became the first American school to offer a doctor of architecture degree in 1969. The introduction of the doctoral program was a natural development due to the history of architectural research at the College. A sociotechnical focus was also added to the doctoral program in urban and regional planning which became the Ph.D. Program in Urban, Technological, and Environmental Planning (UTEP), giving the College one of the largest and most comprehensive programs of professional and doctoral education in both architecture and urban planning.

Throughout its existence, the benchmarks of the College have been a rigorous curriculum, an excellent faculty, strong programs of research and scholarship, talented students, and the ability to respond to change. Today, it continues to foster a broad view of architecture and urban planning in the context of a major research university. Graduates include John Dinkeloo, Charles Moore, Charles Correa, and Raoul Wallenberg.