After dedicating 29 years of his career to fundraising for the University of Michigan, Vice President for Development Jerry May announced Thursday he will retire at the end of the year.

May’s departure Dec. 31 will coincide with the end of the Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign, which has been focused on funding key university priorities since 2013.

Jerry May

“I am excited to help prepare for the next iteration of fundraising at the University of Michigan, knowing that our team has the talent and ability to move into the future emerging always stronger,” May wrote in a message to colleagues.

May’s dedication to the university and exceptional work building connections with donors has had a tremendous impact on all three U-M campuses, said President Mark Schlissel.

“The success of Jerry and his team is apparent throughout our university — in student support, facilities, programs, patient care and research breakthroughs,” Schlissel said.

May’s announcement gives the university ample time to find a successor, a process that will begin soon, Schlissel said.

May’s development work at U-M stretches back more than three decades, with his first 13 years spent in various senior fundraising positions.

During that time, he helped plan the university’s Campaign for Michigan and helped lead its nucleus fund, which is the money raised before a campaign is announced. The campaign eventually brought in $1.4 billion and became the first billion-dollar campaign by a public university.

He left U-M in 1992 to serve as president of The Ohio State University Foundation, where he led that fundraising team in the most successful campaign in the school’s history, raising $1.23 billion.

May returned to U-M in 2003 as vice president for development to lead the fundraising team in the planning and implementation of the Michigan Difference campaign, which exceeded its $2.5 billion goal by raising $3.2 billion by its conclusion in December 2008.

May and his team then planned the current Victors for Michigan campaign, focusing on all schools, colleges and non-degree granting units. The $4 billion goal has been surpassed and the fundraising continues through this year to focus on additional U-M needs.

A native of Grand Rapids, May earned a bachelor’s degree from Hope College and a master’s degree at the University of Vermont. He also did graduate work at the University of Michigan in the doctoral program in higher education

May said he will work with Schlissel in his remaining time to ensure a smooth transfer of responsibilities to his eventual successor, as well as cap off the Victors for Michigan campaign.

“In the coming months, we will work to finish up the campaign with laser-like focus,” May wrote. “We still have funding needs. We still have gifts to close. We still have goals to reach.”

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