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Two gifts totaling $10M advance Michigan Engineering

Michigan Engineering alumni Jerry W. Levin and Kevin O’Connor have pledged two gifts totaling $10 million to the College of Engineering (CoE) and have agreed to serve as co-chairs of its upcoming Anniversary Campaign.

A portion of Levin’s $5 million pledge will be used as a challenge to encourage additional gifts to the Michigan Engineering Fund, which calls upon the college’s wide alumni base to provide flexible support for programs and student resources. O’Connor’s $5 million gift will go toward a new building on North Campus to house the college’s growing computer science program.

Levin is chairman and CEO of Sunbeam Corp. He earned bachelor of science in engineering (BSE) degrees from CoE in 1966 (electrical engineering) and 1967 (engineering math). In 1998, he and his wife endowed the Jerry W. and Carol L. Levin Professor of Engineering. He has been a member of the CoE's National Advisory Committee since 1993.

"Michigan Engineering has some of the most talented and successful alumni in the world," Levin says. "My hope is that this gift will inspire other alumni to step forward and contribute to the future success of the college."

O'Connor is the co-founder, chairman and former CEO of the online marketing company DoubleClick Inc. He earned his BSE degree in electrical engineering from U-M in 1983. In 1999, O'Connor and his wife established the Kevin and Nancy O'Connor Professor of Computer Science. A year later, he endowed the O'Connor Scholarship and delivered the keynote address at the CoE's spring graduation ceremony.

"The education that I received at the University of Michigan has meant a lot to me," O'Connor says.
"The computer science program has flourished in the last few years, and I am very pleased to help provide for its future growth."

According to Stephen W. Director, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, these two gifts, along with an earlier pledge of $25 million by Chicago-based philanthropist Ann Lurie, set an important tone for the college's upcoming fundraising efforts.

"Now more than ever, Michigan Engineering is grateful to have such a committed and generous community of supporters," Director says. "These gifts by Jerry W. Levin and Kevin O'Connor help provide for our future growth and success, and the college is honored to have such enthusiastic leadership on the Anniversary Campaign Committee."

In the 2003­04 academic year, the University will begin celebrating its 150th anniversary in engineering education. Established in 1854, the CoE is one of the oldest and most prominent engineering schools in the country.