After almost five years of fundraising, the final tally from the Michigan Difference campaign was announced yesterday. Coming in at over $3.2 billion, the effort was the largest fundraiser in the history of the University and set a new record among all public universities in the United States.

The previous record was held by a 10-year, $3.06 billion campaign at the University of California at Los Angeles that ended in 2006.

The Michigan Difference, which was made public in 2004 and officially ended on Dec. 31 of last year, surpassed the initiative’s original $2.5 billion goal by 28 percent.

The $3.2 billion campaign raised $519 million for student support, including 1,969 scholarships totaling about $260 million. The effort generated $10 million for students in fiscal year 2008 and added more than $910 million to the University’s endowment.

The campaign also helped fund 185 new professorships and 22 building projects, including the Ross School of Business building, the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy’s Weill Hall, the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Women’s Hospital, the Wilpon Baseball and Softball Complex and the Museum of Art expansion.

Since its outset, more than 365,000 donors have contributed to the campaign, which was coordinated by approximately 1,400 volunteer organizers.

University President Mary Sue Coleman thanked those individuals involved with the campaign during an event unveiling the drives previous tally of $3.1 billion in November.

During her speech at the event, Coleman emphasized the importance of contributing to the University, calling it “an investment unlike any other.”

“It is an enterprise that advances worthy ideals, creates productive jobs and opens the doors to possibilities for the student who walk through them,” Coleman said. “Hail to you, for being the Michigan Difference.”

At other universities across the country, similar campaigns are underway, with $4-billion fundraising efforts at Cornell University and Columbia University.

As of October, Cornell had raised $2.3 billion and Columbia had raised $2.9 billion, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Both schools are set to end their fundraising campaigns in 2011.

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