October 30, 2015
Bob (College of Engineering, 1970) & Sally Elgin
Favorite Michigan Moments: The 1998 football national championship, being at the 1996 Ice Hockey National Championship, and The Big Chill.
First Involvement as a donor to Athletics: We gave some money through an auction to have our kids hold the Go Blue Banner at a game. Later, we had someone from the University call to follow up and we fell in love with the guy and the relationship grew from there.
Why do you give to Michigan: We have a long history with Michigan. It started with the Cooley’s in the 1800s. Sally is a descendant of the Cooley family – including Eugene Cooley, a member of the first baseball team in 1865. We are proud of the University, and our grateful for what Michigan has done for us. We had been to games for years, but we saw giving back as an opportunity to express our interest in a different way.
The Elgins have supported facility projects for Engineering and Athletics. Why facilities?: We have had great relationships with the development office, and those people have presented opportunities to us that fit our interests – from the academic center, to baseball and most recently to field hockey. We get a special feeling when we drive around campus and see things we have been involved with, and it reminds us that we were part of something bigger.
Your gift to the Ross Athletic Campus was recognized at the dedication of the Field Hockey Stadium with the naming of the conference room for Sally’s mother, Louise Cooley Sutherland. Describe the emotions of that day: For our family, it was very moving to see the way the room had been put together. We didn’t know what it was going to be until we arrived that day. But to have the photos and her old field hockey sticks was so much more than we ever could have dreamed. It was an exceptional day for our entire family. Very emotional.
Lasting Thoughts: Within our family, the Michigan tradition has kept us tied to our roots, no matter where we’ve lived. The donor experience has been like having a friend who makes us aware of things we’d like to participate in. It’s been a really great relationship for us. We are proud of the University of Michigan. We are part of the growth of the University. We didn’t just take something from it. The University of Michigan will go on and on because of the people who give back to it, no matter the amount of money they give.