Donor Spotlight: Tom Hawkins

January 26, 2016

Alum: LSA, 1983
Royal Oak, MI
First gift: In 1994 Tom didn’t know how to give to Athletics, so he found a UM Development office and asked “how do I give to UM?”

Favorite Michigan Moments:

Rose Bowl 1998 National Championship was (to my memory) one of the best moments in my history. The atmosphere leading up to that big game had all of the makings of an incredible season. Being out in California in a stadium filled with majority Michigan fans with thousands of screaming fans and suddenly that moment you realize that Michigan has won a National Championship was special. Spectacular performance by those guys and the fans just understood how big of a moment this was.

Love for Michigan:

My love for Michigan goes back to when I was 8 years old. My dad was a lifelong Michigan fan. My uncle was a student in 69’. With the two of them coming to every game and “Michigan memorabilia” always being present, there was no way not to become a fan. At that time, University of Michigan had become a strong program again under Bo [Schembechler]. Also, there weren’t too many games on the TV besides Michigan so that’s what was visible. Just the experience of Fall and Michigan football made me grow the love.

From high school, I got serious about my grades and began looking at colleges. In my mind, I just knew UM was it. Michigan was the ONLY school I applied to – It all started with that 69’ season. I got to Michigan in 79’, and bought my first season tickets. How I see it, UM Athletics bonds the UM campus together. Athletics brings academics together, and they create one of the best, if not THE best, university in the nation. This is why I love this place.

First Involvement as a donor to Athletics:

Upon graduating from Michigan, I had no idea what giving meant. No idea where to give, nor who to contact to inquire about it. I definitely didn’t know how to give to Athletics. Once I began working for a bit and making a good amount of money, I just knew I wanted to share my blessing with University of Michigan. So from there, I found a way to call the UM Development office and asked the first person I spoke with, “how do I give to UM?” If someone doesn’t break down where you can give, you don’t know. My giving started off with LSA. I hunted down central development [OUD] and asked “how?” Back in 2006, I reached out to my guy Kurt Gulbrand at UM to give to Football. After speaking on where and how to give, he asked me to give from there.

Tom has supported the Bo Schembechler Scholarship Fund.  Why that fund?: 

That giving opportunity aligned well with what I wanted to give towards. Bo Schembechler was an iconic figure for UM – I’ve read everything about the guy – and from what I’ve seen, he was one hell of a teacher of young men. It’s an honor and privilege to support a student-athlete who possesses the characteristics that Bo would have approved. Educating young people is why we create this right? That’s what we should strive for.

What do you hope are the outcomes of the gifts that you have made to UM Athletics? 

My hope is that the recipient has obtained a University of Michigan degree and worked their hardest in scholastics, athletics and whatever activities they are involved in. Most important is the degree which takes you everywhere in life.

Lasting Thoughts:

First, I would like to thank the University of Michigan. I am very appreciative of the opportunity. Very passionate about students and student-athletes. Very privileged to know that I can give back and understanding the importance.


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