U-M’s annual Congressional Breakfast sees record turnout


More than 330 people came together March 13 to celebrate the achievements of the University of Michigan community during the 73rd annual U-M Congressional Breakfast in Washington, D.C.

It was the largest gathering in the event’s seven-decade history and raised a record $87,000 for the Samuel L. Chappell Family Scholarship, the U-M Alumni Club of Washington, D.C.’s need-based scholarship program for students from the D.C. area.

President Santa J. Ono stressed the importance of U-M alumni and supporters in D.C., not only to the strength of the university, but also to the vitality of the nation.

“Because of distinguished and principled alumni-leaders such as President Gerald Ford, we continue to look to Michigan for solutions to the greatest challenges of our time,” Ono said.

President Santa J. Ono speaks to a record crowd at the U-M Congressional Breakfast in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Paul A. Sherman)

He also highlighted distinct areas in which U-M will aspire to affect the nation: climate action, sustainability and economic justice; democracy, civic and global engagement; human health and well-being; and life-changing education.

“Today, more than ever, we need increased connectedness and impact on our state, our nation and our society,” Ono said.

“I have confidence that U-M will achieve even more in the days ahead. In the future, I believe we should be more than the University of Michigan. We should be the University for Michigan. For solutions, let us look to Michigan.”

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, delivers the keynote address at the U-M Congressional Breakfast. (Photo by Paul A. Sherman)

The breakfast is an annual opportunity for U-M faculty, staff, students and alumni to connect with key policymakers in D.C., while honoring the many accomplishments of the U-M community.

Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, gave the keynote address, highlighting the importance of U-M’s role in challenging students to better understand each other, and to foster an environment of mutual respect.

Bergman helped to draft a “Commitment to Civility” pledge that seeks to restore collegiality, trust and civility within Congress. He encouraged all in the room to think about how civility can change the political discourse for the better and strengthen our democracy.

Ayanna McConnell, president and CEO of the Alumni Association of U-M, highlighted the vast accomplishments of U-M alumni in shaping the world, and challenged the alumni in attendance to reflect on their journey and use the skills and lessons taught at U-M in their lives to support the next generation of Wolverines.

In addition to U-M alumni, friends and congressional staff, 10 members of Congress attended the event.

Besides Bergman, members of Michigan’s congressional delegation included Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Reps. Debbie Dingell, D-Ann Arbor; Dan Kildee, D-Flint; Lisa McClain, R-Port Huron; Hilary Scholten, D-Grand Rapids; Haley Stevens, D-Troy; Elissa Slotkin, D-Lansing; and Shri Thanedar, D-Detroit. Rep. Grace Meng, D-New York, also attended.

The annual breakfast is sponsored by the U-M Club of Greater Washington. Proceeds from the breakfast help provide scholarship support to D.C.-area students who want to attend U-M.



  1. Lynette Winegarner
    on March 15, 2024 at 9:56 am

    This is an amazing event! I used to be on the scholarship committee. We had a lot of fun meeting all the prospective students, but it was always a challenge as the students who apply for this scholarship were deserving and very accomplished.

Leave a comment

Commenting is closed for this article. Please read our comment guidelines for more information.