Coleman projects fundraising campaign to begin in fall 2013

By Peter Shahin, Daily Staff Reporter
and Haley Goldberg, Daily News Editor
Published November 12, 2012

The University will launch its upcoming capital campaign next fall, University President Mary Sue Coleman said in an interview Monday.

Coleman said the University is planning to commence its next major fundraising initiative during fall 2013. While the launch window is tentative, the campaign could potentially bring in billions of dollars to support projects and initiatives across campus.

The Michigan Difference, the last University capital campaign, ran between 2004 and 2008 and raised $3.2 billion. The University’s initial goal for the campaign was $2.5 billion.

Unlike the previous fundraising drive, the upcoming campaign is expected to focus less on construction and renovation of University buildings and more on endowed scholarships and academic opportunities for students and faculty. Coleman’s personal initiatives, such as sustainability and entrepreneurship, will strongly factor into the campaign’s goals.

“We haven’t set any date firmly, but we’re planning for and talking about it,” Coleman said on Monday.

She added that the campaign will likely take advantage of its overlap with the impending bicentennial of the University in 2017.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” Coleman said. “We’ll be having at least a year, maybe 18 months, of celebrations for the 200th anniversary, and so tying the campaign to those celebrations is a tremendous opportunity for the University. I expect the two will be linked.”

Coleman has previously stated she will retire from her role as University president in 2014 and therefore will not directly lead the bicentennial celebrations. However, since fundraising campaigns are multi-year projects, the groundwork being laid now will likely determine the course of the campaign.

Also spearheading the effort will be Jerry May, the University’s vice president for development. In September, May said Coleman had a proven track record for bringing in donor contributions, going so far as to call her one of the most “effective presidents in the country, by far, in fundraising.”

The University is also expected to expand its geographic focus during the upcoming campaign, with a particular emphasis on the West Coast. Speaking to the faculty governing body last spring, May said the University was competing with other schools for donations.

“If we’re not out there … they’re giving to Stanford,” May said at the time. “The competition is out there, and they are working hard to make their universities great.”

At the time of its completion, the Michigan Difference campaign was the largest fundraising drive ever undertaken by a public university in the United States.

Donations from the campaign contributed to the construction of 22 new campus buildings, including the Ross School of Business and the new C.S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital. It also funded 1,969 new scholarships and 185 named professorships.

Daily News Editor Haley Goldberg contributed to this report.