Ford Motor Company aids education, the environment and the arts
ANN ARBOR—Ford Motor Company and the University of Michigan have announced a $9.3 million pledge from Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of the company, to support major initiatives at the U-M in education, the environment and the arts.
Ford’s pledge will have a significant impact on the College of Engineering; the School of Business Administration; the School of Natural Resources and Environment; the College of Literature, Science, and the Art; the Center for the Education of Women; visual and performing arts; and the U-M-Dearborn College of Engineering and Computer Science.
At a luncheon at Ford World Headquarters, attended by Jacques Nasser, president and chief executive officer, Ford Motor Company; Lee C. Bollinger, U-M president; Ken Kohrs, vice president, Large and Luxury Car Vehicle Center, Ford Motor Company; James C. Renick, chancellor of the U-M-Dearborn; University deans and executive officers; and Ford vice presidents, Nasser announced the Ford pledge. “Ford Motor Company’s relationship with the University of Michigan is a partnership in the truest sense, and Ford is committed to keeping it strong,” said Nasser. “At Ford Motor Company, we are dedicated to becoming the world’s leading consumer company for automotive products and services. As part of that dedication, our support of higher education continues to be a top priority. Through our strong working relationship with U-M, we’ve focused on efforts that further research, develop safety and environmental programs and enhance educational opportunities—all areas of importance to Ford Motor Company.”
In accepting the pledge, Bollinger explained: “The University’s partnership with Ford has spanned almost 50 years, covering a breadth of initiatives including faculty support, industry research, student support, and programmatic support. This is but the latest example of Ford’s exceptional generosity.”
This latest gift from Ford Motor Company Fund will support a number of education priorities. In the College of Engineering, funds will support the Summer Engineering Academy, a highly structured series of engineering enrichment initiatives for students from seventh grade through incoming first year college students. The program is key to the College’s comprehensive minority student support system.
In the Center for the Education of Women, funding will create Ford Graduate Fellowships for Women in Business, Engineering, and Natural Resources and Environment, areas in which the University is committed to increasing the number of women seeking professional degrees.
In the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Ford funding will be used to endow an annual distinguished lectureship in the Department of Physics.
The College of Engineering and the School of Business Administration will receive support for the Tauber Manufacturing Institute, a joint program that sponsors interdisciplinary education and research in manufacturing. The School of Business Administration will also receive funding for the renovation of Hale Auditorium.
Ford will play a key role in supporting the renovation of the Samuel Trask Dana Building, the School of Natural Resources and Environment.
Ford has also been a staunch supporter of cultural programs at the U-M and will continue its support for the visual and performing arts.
On the Dearborn campus, the College of Engineering and Computer Science will be a major benefactor from the Ford gift. Three laboratories will be upgraded to provide undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to work with tools similar to those they will use in industry. The Center for Engineering Education and Practice, which integrates the teaching environment with engineering practice, and which received its initial funding from Ford, will receive further funding. Ford has also pledged support to a joint project between the College of Engineering and the School of Management to increase the number of minority students graduating with degrees in engineering and management.
Bollinger pointed out that in addition to this generous pledge of $9.3 million, over the past five years, Ford has given on average $4 million per year to support a range of research activities. Ford is currently engaged in nine affiliates programs (research partnerships) with various schools and colleges throughout the University in which Ford scientists work with U-M scientists and engineers. “These research affiliations of Ford Motor Company, the range of projects, and Ford’s history of such support demonstrate what an exceptional corporate partner Ford is,” said Bollinger. “Ford is also our single best matching gift partner, matching its employees’ gifts to the U-M. I only wish we had 20 more such partnerships.”