On the Daily: Former JetBlue CEO donates lots of green to the maize and blue

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 6:10pm

Former JetBlue CEO Dave Barger, who previously attended the University of Michigan, gave a $10 million gift to the University’s Barger Leadership Institute, an initiative to promote research opportunities for LSA students.

This gift comes 10 years after the foundational donation he made to create the institute. This 10th-anniversary gift is intended to expand and sustain the opportunities the institute gives to student leaders.

“It's a great honor to be able to continue to support the (Barger Leadership Institute) and to help expand experiential opportunities for the next generation of leaders,” Barger said in a news release. “Michigan excels at preparing undergraduate students to contribute as well-rounded, forward-thinking leaders, and it's a privilege to be able to support this important work.”

The $4.5 million gift Barger gave in 2007 to begin the institute has gone toward forming new clubs, developing startup companies, seeking global and domestic internships, partnering with on- and off-campus organizations, and learning professional skills that can be applied post-graduation.

Public Policy junior Zoha Qureshi, a BLI program coordinator, said the institute has been crucial to her development as a leader, and she has benefited immensely from Barger’s commitment and resources.

“With this generous gift, BLI will be able to provide even more resources to support students in their passions and interests. This gift will help us include more access opportunities to visit places all around the globe, more networking events to gain valuable, professional connections, and more workshops to promote individual growth,” Qureshi said. “BLI stresses that leadership is something that can be learned by anyone. With this ability to expand, we can make that vision a reality for all University of Michigan students.”

Barger has given more than $18 million to LSA, Athletics, University Libraries, Michigan Medicine and the Alumni Association since 1987. His donations have gone on to create programs like the Barger Family Professorship and the JetBlue Airways London School of Economics Summer Program.

This gift also creates the Richard. H. Price Founders Fund, named after the institute’s founding director, which provides the director with funds to start programs for students.