Victors for Michigan leaders, beneficiaries celebrate its $5B+ impact


From funding cancer research discoveries to supporting student scholarships, the University of Michigan community on Friday celebrated the Victors for Michigan campaign’s impact on research, learning, patient care and student support.

Since announcing last month that the campaign topped $5 billion, donors have added another $58 million, President Mark Schlissel announced. So far, more than 382,000 donors have contributed. U-M is the first public university to raise $5 billion.

The celebration at the Stephen M. Ross Athletics South Competition and Performance Center’s Indoor Track and Field Complex featured video presentations and dance and musical performances from U-M students.

Another two months remain in the Victors for Michigan campaign.

Photo of students saying thank you
During the celebration, various students spoke from the audience to highlight the impact of campaign gifts on their U-M experience. (Photo by Daryl Marshke, Michigan Photography)

More than $1.1 billion is dedicated to student support. Of those funds, 93 percent directly supports undergraduate and graduate scholarships and fellowships, enabling the university to provide financial aid to more than two-thirds of its 46,000 students on the Ann Arbor campus.

More than $1.4 billion is directed to advance patient care, research and education at Michigan Medicine. The balance supports one of the nation’s largest research enterprises, programmatic and engaged learning opportunities, and facilities across the Ann Arbor campus as well as at UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint.

At the celebration, Schlissel said U-M has always been the home for bold ideas, visions and aspiration for how “a two centuries-old public university will serve society.”

Photo of Mark Schlissel
President Mark Schlissel announces the Victors for Michigan campaign had received another $58 million in the month since it topped $5 billion. (Photo by Marti Hwang, Michigan Photography)

“As donors, you’ve made U-M a stronger university, opened our doors wider to students from all backgrounds, and helped us achieve even higher levels of public impact,” Schlissel said. “You’re helping us change the world one new Wolverine at a time.”

From helping fund Poverty Solutions — a U-M initiative dedicated to studying how to alleviate poverty — to supporting the university’s mastodons’ move to the new Biological Sciences Building, Schlissel highlighted examples of how donations help propel the mission of the university.

“I’d like to really personally express my thanks, heartfelt thanks, to every individual one of our 382,000 donors,” he said. “This generosity, this commitment to the university, this recognition that we change the world through research and education has literally blown me away. Our world needs victors and all of you responded.”

Photo of Stephen M. Ross
Campaign Chair Stephen M. Ross (above) and Co-Chair Richard Rogel (below) talk about the inspiring work and meaningful impact made possible by the fundraising effort. (Photos by Marti Hwang (top) and Daryl Marshke (bottom), Michigan Photography)

Photo of Rich Rogel

Vice President for Development Jerry May said it’s the “generations of donors and philanthropists that have made us great.”

“I thank you for being part of all of this,” May said.

Campaign Chair Stephen M. Ross said what characterizes U-M’s uniqueness is its spirit and its pride.

“There’s nothing more rewarding than giving and helping others,” Ross said. “And by giving, you inspire others to give.”

Guests listened to stories of how donations are used to further learning, research and student support.

U-M Museum of Art Director Christina Olsen highlighted a gift from Philip and Kathy Power to establish the Power Family Program for Inuit Art, which she said will develop UMMA and U-M into a national center for Inuit art.

“Through the Power program, we will not only examine and display great works of Inuit art, but also study how issues like climate change impact Inuit artists and communities,” Olsen said. “The program will inspire new connections on campus. It will cement UMMA’s place as a leading research unit at the top public research university.”

U-M student Tatum Doyle said working with the LSA Opportunity Hub has changed her life.

“I’ve always had a dream of working at the Mayo Clinic hospital, and the scholarships from the Opportunity Hub made my dreams come true,” Doyle said. “During my internship, I had the opportunity to work with the nation’s top doctors, surgeons and scientists to help patients. I never imagined I would have these connections and opportunities.”

Doyle said she now plans to pursue a career as a medical malpractice attorney or patent attorney.

Campaign Co-Chair Richard Rogel said he and his wife, Susan, have looked for ways to improve people’s lives and that they found “the University of Michigan is one of the best places to make an impact.”

The Rogels recently committed $150 million to what is now known as U-M’s Rogel Cancer Center.

The Victors for Michigan campaign publicly launched in 2013 with a goal of raising $4 billion — the largest fundraising goal for any public university at the time — for three priorities: student support, engaged learning and bold ideas. Donors surpassed the $4 billion goal in April 2017.

Photo of Ken and Mary Sue Coleman
President Emerita Mary Sue Coleman, who oversaw the launch of Victors for Michigan in 2013, celebrates with her husband, Kenneth. (Photo by Daryl Marshke, Michigan Photography)

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