Annual report highlights strong finances, new research initiatives


From record-breaking fundraising efforts to cutting-edge research initiatives, fiscal year 2019 abounded with accomplishments and honors for the University of Michigan, according to a new annual report, made available this week in a digital format.

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The university’s “amazing breadth of academic and research expertise that we are able to bring to bear in pursuit of excellence, innovation and societal change” is evident in the achievements of its faculty, staff and students, President Mark Schlissel wrote in the report’s introductory message.

“For more than two centuries, the University of Michigan has worked to serve the public and address some of our world’s most pressing challenges,” Schlissel wrote. “Our sound financial footing and strategic use of resources have positioned us to continue to fulfill our critical mission in the years ahead.”

In addition to messages from university leaders, the report includes highlights of the year, awards and honors, major projects and financial statements. Some of the many individual items in the report include:

  • The university’s School of Public Health was selected as the site for a new $18 million tobacco research center. The multi-institutional center — The Center for the Assessment of the Public Health Impact of Tobacco Regulations — will focus on modeling and predicting the impact of tobacco regulation.
  • Michigan Medicine expanded its health care services in September 2018 with the opening of the new Brighton Center for Specialty Care. The three-level, 297,000-square-foot facility houses more than 50 adult and pediatric specialty services, including cancer care and orthopaedic surgery.
  • UM-Dearborn’s College of Engineering and Computer Science launched two new master’s programs, including a Master of Science in Human-Centered Design and Engineering that is one of the few offered in the country focused on cross-college coursework in engineering, art and design, marketing and human psychology.
  • Debasish Dutta was selected as the new chancellor of UM-Flint. Dutta, a distinguished professor of engineering and former chancellor at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, succeeded Susan Borrego, who stepped down as UM-Flint’s leader in July 2019.

In October 2018, U-M became the first public university to surpass $5 billion in a fundraising campaign, and on Dec. 31, 2018, the Victors for Michigan campaign concluded after raising $5.28 billion from nearly 400,000 donors.

In his message, Thomas Baird, vice president for development, celebrated what he described as “a historic year on many fronts.”

“Thanks to the tireless efforts of more than 1,600 volunteers around the world, the leadership of my predecessor, Jerry May, the vision of President Emerita Mary Sue Coleman and President Mark Schlissel and the deans, directors and regents who championed our efforts along the way, our donors are making a difference for the Michigan experience and the university’s impact around the world,” said Baird, who succeeded May, a longtime vice president for development, earlier this year.

Key donor commitments included a $33 million gift from Chris and Lisa Jeffries to support students at the Law School, the largest gift in the school’s history. Chris Jeffries is a 1974 Law School graduate.

Other notable contributions included a $20 million gift from the D. Dan and Betty Kahn Foundation to expand the Michigan-Israel Partnership for Research and Education, a $10 million gift from Regent Ron Weiser and Eileen Weiser to establish the Weiser Diplomacy Center, and a $10 million gift from the Patricia W. Mitchell Trusts split evenly to support LSA and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

Kevin Hegarty, executive vice president and chief financial officer, characterized the university’s “exceptionally strong financial position” and its dedicated employees as critical advantages that “allow U-M to offer an outstanding education to students from around the globe, perform research that benefits society and deliver excellent health care services.”

The university’s net position, which represents the residual interest in the university’s assets and deferred outflows after liabilities and deferred inflows are deducted, stood at $14.8 billion at the close of fiscal year 2019, up from a net position of $14.3 billion at the close of fiscal year 2018.

Financial highlights in the report include:

  • The university’s research enterprise tallied a record year of $1.62 billion in research expenditures, with more than half of it funded by the federal government.
  • The university increased its budget for undergraduate financial aid by 16.3 percent on the Ann Arbor campus, 15.4 percent on the Dearborn campus and 8.4 percent on the Flint campus.
  • The value of the university’s endowment totaled $12.4 billion on June 30, 2019, reflecting strong investment performance and endowment gifts offset by endowment distributions for university operations, which totaled $361 million.

The consolidated financial statements of the university are audited by the independent accounting firm of PwC.


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