A $3 million gift from the Dow Company Foundation will continue the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program at the University of Michigan.
The gift supplements the company’s $13 million in donations to fund the Dow Fellows Program since its inception in 2013 and secures funding through 2023. The program offers a graduate-level interdisciplinary training and sustainability project experience to students across the university.
Since the inception of the program, more than 400 students from 17 of the 19 schools and colleges on the Ann Arbor campus have served as fellows, and an additional 500 scholars have been supported through the program. Dow Fellows undertake research on sustainability topics that affect an aspect of real-world challenges.
“I thank our partners at Dow for making the Sustainability Fellows program possible, and creating opportunities for our fellows and students,” President Mark Schlissel said. “Dow’s long history of engagement with our campus through philanthropy, service and employment and research opportunities is contributing to U-M’s ability to make a positive impact on our world.”
“Sustainability leaders of tomorrow must navigate complex systems and collaborate across disciplines to tackle challenges such as circular economy and climate protection,” said Mary Draves, Dow’s chief sustainability officer and vice president of environment, health and safety. “We are pleased to continue funding for this program that offers a unique experience for students that broadens their view and approach to problem solving.”
Through the program, Dow Fellows receive professional input and guidance from Dow advisers, faculty advisers and client organizations. In turn, clients receive more than 400 hours of high-level research and scholarship, resulting in a useful, actionable deliverable that addresses a specific, client-identified sustainability challenge.
“I am absolutely delighted we have the opportunity to continue the good work of the Dow Sustainability Fellows at the University of Michigan,” said Margaret Wooldridge, Dow Sustainability Fellows Program director, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and professor of mechanical engineering and of aerospace engineering. “Our interdisciplinary program is unique in academia and has had remarkable impact. The new gift will allow us to leverage our key learnings in community solutions to sustainability challenges and to advance our program with greater success.”
The interdisciplinary structure of the program brings together the top tier of graduate students from natural and social sciences, engineering, business, law, public health, public policy, architecture, urban planning, medicine and other disciplines. Students learn together how to integrate the power of their unique disciplines to help solve a range of sustainability challenges, including energy, climate change, water, food, housing, transportation and health.
“Thanks to the Dow Company Foundation’s generous new gift, we can continue to provide a transformative learning experience for graduate students across U-M, who tell us every year how much the program means to their careers and personal development,” said Jennifer Haverkamp, Graham Family Director of the Graham Sustainability Institute, which administers the program.
The Dow Sustainability Fellows Program is the largest corporate fellowship program at U-M. By continuing the program, the Dow Company Foundation helps ensure that more than 100 additional students can conduct research in these areas. Dow Fellows work on projects with corporations, nonprofits and government organizations during their experience, and pursue a variety of fields after graduation, from business and medicine to policy and law.