November 11, 2013
When University of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman officially announced the $4 billion “Victors for Michigan” fundraising campaign on Thursday (Nov. 7), the world of academia took notice. Not only will this be the largest development campaign in the school’s history, it will be the largest fundraising campaign of any public university. And the Michigan Athletic Department will be front and center as it works to help the university achieve the goal by creating a bold vision as we relentlessly strive to make Michigan Athletics the Leaders and Best in every way.
This campaign is more than just fundraising; the goal is to support the University of Michigan’s strategic vision. With the rapid change in the landscape of college athletics, we must continue to invest in our student-athletes in order to strengthen our great tradition.
For the Michigan Athletic Department, the goal is to raise $355 million. The plan is to generate funds for our three greatest needs:
- Building Our Home
- Scholarship Support
- Student-Athlete Enrichment Programs
The greatest need is investing in our athletic facilities. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $250 million to invest in the 16 planned facility projects and continue to improve our existing structures. When completed, the enhanced athletic facilities will give a new competitive advantage to the Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus. It will unify our program and build a stronger community among our 31 teams, department, campus, alumni, donors and fans. This initiative will provide our 900-plus student-athletes with the state-of-the-art facilities they need to excel athletically and academically.
Scholarship support is also essential for the future of our athletic program. The athletic department fully funds all scholarships. That means we pay the university an estimated $19.7 million per year, and those costs are growing. By raising $55 million or more to invest in scholarship support, we can continue to recruit student-athletes that have the skill level, education and commitment to be a student-athlete at the University of Michigan regardless of state residency.
Student-athlete enrichment is critical to our future. It is our responsibility to ensure that student-athletes are prepared for life after athletics. We want to continue to focus in the areas of leadership development, career preparation, health and wellness, academic support, and community engagement in order to develop well-rounded individuals. We are committed to strengthening these programs, and we are committed to raising a minimum of $50 million to this important area of need.
Stephen Ross and many others have already generously pledged gifts to help us realize our goal and we are very appreciative, but we still have so much more work ahead of us.
Those who are part of the University of Michigan family understand this is a special place. Michigan is arguably one of the best universities in the world, and to keep our university in that position there needs to be a strong investment in our future.
Victors for Michigan will be an important campaign to enable our Athletic Department to execute our bold vision and continue to help our student-athletes grow in all aspects of their lives. A quality experience for our 900-plus student-athletes not only helps our university now but also in the future when these individuals will be successful graduates and asked to support the University of Michigan through their time, treasure and talent. The student-athletes of today will be important future Michigan alumni.
In today’s vernacular, this could be called paying it forward. I like to call it one of our important Michigan traditions: We give back to the university we love.