Go Blue Guarantee, strong finances among annual report highlights


Record research volume, a strong financial position featuring unprecedented levels of fundraising and the rollout of the innovative Go Blue Guarantee are just three of the highlights in the university’s fiscal year 2018 annual report, made available this week in a digital format.

The year’s accomplishments illustrate how the University of Michigan continues to extend the reach of its excellence throughout the state and beyond, President Mark Schlissel wrote in the report’s introductory message.

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“U-M’s commitment to pursuing impact for the public good relies on investments in research and education, cost control, increasing financial aid, tuition restraint and philanthropy — along with what we hope will be a continuing reinvestment by the state in public higher education,” Schlissel wrote.

“I am continuously energized by our many amazing partnerships, within the Michigan family and beyond — as we aspire to higher levels of excellence and impact during our third century,” he wrote.

The report has five main components: messages from campus leaders, highlights of the year, awards and honors, major projects and financial statements. The many individual items in the report include:

• The university launched Precision Health, an initiative to harness campuswide research aimed at finding personalized solutions to improve the health and wellness of individuals and communities. Precision-related research already is occurring throughout the university, including expertise in precision health for cancer, mental health and metabolic disease, among other areas.

• The university introduced new academic offerings, including the School for Environment and Sustainability, the first undergraduate majors in the School of Public Health and the first online degree programs.

• An assessment of the university’s Third Century Initiative — a $50 million project launched in 2011 to reimagine teaching and learning at the university — showed the culture around engaged learning on campus had changed. For example, 96 percent of 4,300 graduating undergraduate students reported at least one engaged learning experience such as an internship, research, civic engagement or international experience.

• UM-Flint received the 2018 Governor’s Service Award for Education Service Leader as part of its annual ceremony acknowledging the contributions made by Michigan volunteers. The award is given to a state institution of higher education that has exhibited outstanding community service efforts.

• Domenico Grasso was named chancellor of UM-Dearborn. Grasso, who most recently had served as provost and chief academic officer at the University of Delaware, is the sixth leader of the Dearborn campus, replacing Daniel E. Little, who filled that role for 18 years.

In his message, Vice President for Development Jerry May wrote about the record-breaking success of the Victors for Michigan campaign, which concludes at the end of the 2018 calendar year.

“In 2013, we set out to raise $4 billion — the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the history of public higher education,” May wrote. “On Oct. 1, 2018, we surpassed $5 billion — the first public university to achieve that goal in a campaign.

“It is truly an honor to work with such incredible people who give to their passions and fuel the future of this great university,” wrote May, who will retire at the end of the year.

Key donor commitments included Rich and Susan Rogel’s $150 million gift to the Rogel Cancer Center, the largest gift in Michigan Medicine History.

“The gift will open doors for world-class researchers to work at the center, including a new suite of professorships in cancer research,” May wrote.

Other notable fundraising efforts included $30 million for the Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center raised through the support of thousands of donors, including a lead gift by Regent Ron Weiser and Eileen Weiser.

Mike and Sue Jandernoa also made a $4.3 million contribution that will go toward a number of university efforts.

Kevin Hegarty, executive vice president and chief financial officer, credited the university’s strong financial position with helping “provide students from around the world with an outstanding education, perform leading-edge research that benefits society and deliver excellent health care services.”

“As the University of Michigan enters its third century, it is widely recognized as a global leader in higher education,” Hegarty wrote in the report. “The university’s financial position continues to be strong.”

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 $14.3 billion at the close of fiscal year 2018, up from a net position of $13.4 billion at the close of FY ’17.

Financial highlights in the report include the following:

• The university again earned the highest credit ratings available from Standard & Poor’s Global (AAA) and Moody’s Investor Services (Aaa), which are a strong indication of the institution’s financial health.

• The university’s research enterprise tallied a record year of $1.55 billion in research expenditures, with a significant portion resulting from federal research funding.

• The University of Michigan Hospitals continued its strong financial performance during the year, with an operating margin of 4.2 percent ($143 million) on operating revenues of $3.4 billion.

• The university increased its budget for undergraduate financial aid by 9.5 percent on the Ann Arbor campus, 9.4 percent on the Dearborn campus and 12.7 percent on the Flint campus. The Ann Arbor campus also implemented the Go Blue Guarantee, a promise of free tuition for in-state students whose families earn less than $65,000 and have assets totaling less than $50,000.

• The value of the university’s endowment totaled $11.9 billion at June 30, 2018, reflecting strong investment performance and new endowment gifts offset by endowment distributions for university operations, which totaled $339 million.

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


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