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U-M receives $200M gift

1:12 PM, Sep 4, 2013   |    comments
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(DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Stephen Ross is giving the University of Michigan $200 million, making it the largest single gift in the history of the university and Ross its largest donor.

The money will be split between the university's business school - already named for Ross - and the athletic department.

"Steve deeply believes in our future," U-M President Mary Sue Coleman said. "His generosity will benefit generations of students, faculty and athletes. Thank you for believing in Michigan, for believing in our work."

Ross said the combination of athletics and academics makes U-M special.

"When you fuse these together, you get a school spirit that exceeds any other school in the country," Ross said.

Exact details of the projects were not announced at this morning's press conference, but U-M earlier this morning released general information on how the money will be spent. 

According to the university, the money headed to the business school will fund:

¦ New spaces for students to study, collaborate and connect with each other, faculty and potential employers.

¦ A state-of-the-art career services space, including an enhanced recruiting center to connect students with companies and careers.

¦ New spaces to support an "admission to alumni" approach to student and career services with events and opportunities on and off campus.

¦ A space to bring together faculty, students and corporate partners to create practice-oriented research on topics important to local and global firms.

¦ Classrooms infused with advanced technology and innovative design to support in-person and virtual collaboration and connectivity on a global scale.

¦ Scholarships for Ross students.

Ross talked today in the school that bears his name, which was built with a $100 million donation from him in 2004. The athletic campus will now be named for Ross as well.

"We've seen the impact of what this has had," Ross said. "It's unfinished business. I want to finish it."

According to the university, the money going to the athletic department will:

¦ Provide student-athletes on all 31 teams with the necessary resources to be academically and athletically successful.

¦ Develop state-of-the-art facilities that create a sense of community, identity and tradition for all of the teams.

¦ Create additional spaces that help student-athletes develop skills for success after athletics.

¦ Build facilities that are a destination for local, state, national and international competitions.

Ross' gift places him behind only New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in terms of total money given to higher education, according to statistics gathered by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Bloomberg has pledged $350 million to John Hopkins University.

The $200 million gift raises Ross' total giving to U-M to at least $313 million. He gave $100 million in 2004 to help the fund the business school's renovation. He also has given $5 million to the athletic department's academic center and $1 million to endow a professorship in real estate at the business school that bears his name.

At the time, his $100 million gift was the largest from an individual in U-M history. That was topped in April when Charlie Munger, the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, gave U-M $110 million to build a new graduate residence hall.

Ross is the founder and chairman of Related Companies, a real-estate development firm. He graduated from U-M's business school in 1962 and earned a law degree from Wayne State University. He owns the Miami Dolphins football team.

Detroit Free Press

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