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The University of Michigan endowment grew 40.6% for fiscal year 2021, totaling to $17 billion on June 20, 2021, Geoffrey Chatas, U-M executive vice president and chief financial officer, told the University of Michigan Board of Regents at their Oct. 21 meeting. 

Despite the significant growth, Chatas said it is important to look for context beyond short-term gains. 

“We’re very pleased with the strong performance,” Chatas said. “It was as recently as 2016 that the endowment went down in value, and last year, the long-term portfolio that the endowment is invested in gained only 2.3%.”

The University’s endowment is the ninth largest in the country and third among public universities, according to the University Record. Over 12,000 separate endowment funds make up the U-M endowment, of which funds are specifically designated for scholarships, educational programs, research and professorships. 

Ahead of the Fall 2020 semester, the Regents voted to increase tuition by 1.9% for the 2020-2021 school year, drawing backlash from students and parents who pointed to the endowment as a way to avoid the increase during COVID-19. The decision was widely circulated on social media, with many saying they were shocked at the tuition increase.

At the meeting, the board also voted to name the new 163,000-square-foot building set to be on North Campus the Leinweber Computer Science and Information Building in appreciation of the Leinweber Foundation and software entrepreneur Larry Leinweber, who contributed $25 million to support construction. 

The new center, costing around $145 million, will be home to both the School of Information and the College of Engineering’s computer science and engineering programs. The building aims to bridge the geographical gap between those in the School of Information and the Computer Science and Engineering division of the College of Engineering. 

Tom Baird, vice president for development, thanked the Leinweber Foundation for their donation.

“The Leinweber family members have been wonderful volunteers and advocates for the University of Michigan for many ,many years … (including) creating the Leinweber Software Scholars Program at Michigan Engineering and establishing the Leinweber Center for Theoretical Physics in LSA,” Baird said. 

University President Mark Schlissel also announced a series of new funding to build the Innovation and Technology Center at U-M Flint which will serve as a base for the recently added College of Innovation and Technology. Schlissel said this investment would help both the U-M Flint community and the greater Flint region.

“I congratulate the members of the U-M Flint community on the recent awarding of a $3.8 million federal grant to build the Innovation and Technology Center,” Schlissel said. “This is an important moment in the history of this campus as it responds to the needs of the region and the students it serves.”

Chris Pearson, dean of the U-M Flint College of Innovation and Technology, gave a presentation on the new Innovation and Technology Center. Pearson said the new building will allow greater interaction and collaboration between U-M Flint and the greater Flint community.

“The building … will facilitate collaboration between academia and community and business partners,” Pearson said. “This new facility will provide our students and faculty with the resources needed to address the global challenges of the future.”

Daily Staff Reporters Justin O’Beirne and Julia Forrest can be reached at justinob@umich.edu and juforres@umich.edu. 

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly attributed a quote to Eric Barritt. It is now updated to reflect that Tom Baird spoke at the meeting.

To read The Michigan Daily’s other coverage of the Oct. 21 Regents meeting, see below: