Without her time at the University more than 40 years ago,
Carole Simpson, a senior correspondent at ABC News and the only
black journalism graduate in the class of 1962, said she would not
be where she is today.

Ryan Nowak
University President Mary Sue Coleman sings “Hail to the Victors” at the public kickoff of the Michigan Difference fundraising campaign last Friday. ABC News senior correspondent and alumna Carole Simpson, right, served as the master of ceremonies. (JONAT

Simpson was the master of ceremonies at the kickoff presentation
for the University’s fundraising campaign named The Michigan
Difference.

The “difference” that the University made in
Simpson’s life is what President Mary Sue Coleman said she
hopes will continue for students through the $2.5 billion this
“historic campaign” aims to raise. This goal is the
largest in the University’s history and was announced at
Friday’s ceremony in Rackham Auditorium.

“We are a University with remarkable
forward-thinking,” Coleman said. “What we do with this
campaign will resonate for decades.”

Provost Paul Courant said a critical part of the campaign is to
raise a significant amount of money for scholarship support, said.
The campaign aims to raise $400 million for student scholarships
and fellowships.

“We are guaranteeing students opportunity unlike anything
else in the world,” he said.

Two of the donors providing this opportunity are Richard and
Susan Rogel. The Rogels gave $22 million in 1997, which now goes
toward financial aid for undergraduate, non-resident students.

“We wanted to meet the unmet needs of the out-of-state
student,” said Richard Rogel, campaign co-chair.

The difference that the University made to Rogel’s life is
one reason he donates both his energy and money to this
campaign.

“I feel I can never repay the gift (the University) gave
to me,” he said.

While some donate their money, others, like Simpson, give
themselves and their time.

“I don’t have $30 million, but I have me,”
said Simpson, who delayed foot surgery to host the event. “I
bequeath me to you, Michigan.”

The campaign begins in the midst of a looming budget crisis
prompted by cuts in state appropriations. The University expects to
make at least $20 million in cuts

In the quiet phase of the campaign, the University already
raised $1.28 billion, or 51 percent of its goal, since 2000. The
campaign will end on Dec. 31, 2008.

At $3.5 billion, the University’s endowment is fourth
among public universities and the 12th among all institutions.

The last fundraising campaign, called the Billion Dollar
Campaign for Michigan ran from 1991 to 1997 and raised $1.4
billion. As its name suggests, the campaign’s goal was $1
billion.

However, not everyone at the event was one of the 800 invited
top donors or volunteers. Individuals outside Rackham passed out
flyers to the attendees titled “The Michigan
Difference?” as the ceremony as attendees left the
auditorium.

“If (the donors) are going to to give money to the
University … they need to know what’s going on,” said
Alicia Rinaldi, a University alum and member of Our Voices Count, a
student group formed in opposition to the administration’s
changes made to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness
Center.

The flyers, which refer to these changes, accused the University
of “silencing survivors of sexual assault” and
“attacking these and other services for women, minorities and
other marginalized groups.”

The campaign also intends to raise $425 million for faculty
support, $625 million for programs and research, $500 million for
facilities and $150 million for labs, infrastructure and
discretionary support.

Aside from the campaign goal announcement, the program also
featured skits about campus life and appearances from people who
have benefitted from both the University itself and the
scholarships and fellowships provided by donors.

The presentation was the focal point of the campaign.

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