February 20, 2014
As part of the Victors for Michigan Campaign, J. Ira and Nicki Harris, through the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Foundation, have made a leadership gift of $10 million to U-M for the benefit of the athletic department.
This contribution will provide necessary endowment resources to the football program to help its students excel in the classroom and in competition and support the facilities in the Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus. In recognition of their tremendous generosity, the head football coaching position will now be formally known as the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach.
"This gift was a way to honor and pay tribute to the history and tradition of Michigan football and the joy it has given my family throughout the years," J. Ira Harris said. "We are proud to be a part of the Michigan family and to provide resources that will continue our tradition as leaders and best."
The head football coaching position is responsible for preserving, enhancing and passing along the rich history and tradition of Michigan football to the next generation of student-athletes who will don the winged helmet. These young men go on to become future leaders of our community and ambassadors of Michigan.
"I am honored to have my name and title as Michigan head football coach associated with Ira and Nicki," said Brady Hoke, the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach. "The Harris family has been incredibly generous to Michigan Athletics. Beginning with Bo, they established meaningful relationships with members of our Michigan football coaching tree and I am honored to be one of them."
"We are incredibly appreciative of the generosity of Ira and Nicki," said Dave Brandon, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics. "This tremendous leadership gift will strengthen our program for years to come and ensure that future generations of Wolverines will continue to benefit from outstanding coaching and leadership."
J. Ira Harris of Palm Beach, Fla., received a Bachelor of Business Administration from U-M in 1959 and an honorary Doctor of Laws from U-M in 2012. He is the chair of the financial consulting firm, J.I. Harris & Associates. He is a member of the U-M Investment Advisory Committee, the President's Advisory Group, the leadership committee of the Michigan Difference Campaign Steering Committee, the Campaign Leadership Board of the Victors for Michigan, and the Leadership Advisory Board for the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute.
Nicki Harris attended the University of Colorado and is the president of several family foundations. She also serves on the board of numerous art organizations, foundations and educational institutions nationwide.
In addition to their generous support of athletics, Ira and Nicki Harris have been outstanding supporters of other areas of U-M. They have created scholarships, endowed professorships, and provided support for LSA, the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
The university launched the Victors for Michigan campaign in November 2013. The athletic department's $355 million goal will focus on providing student-athletes across 31 teams with the resources they need to be the leaders and best in every way. Athletics is investing in three campaign pillars: Building Our Home – The Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus, Student-Athlete Enrichment, and Scholarship Support. To learn more about these campaign priorities, visit support.mgoblue.com/victors-for-michigan.
U-M has approximately 7,800 different endowment funds. Michigan Athletics has endowed scholarships for 254 student athletes and the athletic director position.