The Michigan Difference campaign launched with $2.5 billion goal

May 14, 2004

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ANN ARBOR—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.”

Paul N. Courant, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, noted,