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Updated 10:00 AM December 3, 2007
 

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Alumni donate $1 million to School of Art & Design

With a recent $1 million donation, the School of Art & Design's effort has been boosted in getting out the word about its innovative model for arts education at one of the world's leading research universities.

The gift comes from alumni Susan Smucker Wagstaff and Reid Wagstaff. Half of the donation will support the school's communication efforts, while the balance goes to grants and scholarships for graduate students.

Matching funds from the President's Donor Challenge boost the Wagstaff's gift by an additional $250,000, bringing the total to $1.25 million. The president's challenge encourages gifts for graduate student and professional student financial aid by matching gifts with $1 for each $2 from a donor.

"We want to support the progress of the School of Art & Design," says Susan Smucker Wagstaff. "The new philosophy of the school considers the central role of creativity in a range of professions and in our lives. The focus is on understanding how art and design increase students' creative responses to problem solving, regardless of their career outcomes."

"There is a compelling need for the School of Art & Design to be viewed as a force both on U-M campus and among its peer art-school institutions," Reid Wagstaff says. "It's important to reaffirm the value of an art and design school within a large, diverse university and within the broader higher education community."

Susan Wagstaff came to Ann Arbor from her hometown of Orrville, Ohio, which also is headquarters to the J.M. Smucker Co., a market leader in fruits spreads, peanut butter, shortening oils, ice cream toppings, and health and natural foods beverages. She is a descendant of the company founder and serves as an adviser in the selection of art for the company's annual reports.

Art and design has been a continuing focus in her life.

The Wagstaffs are founding members of the school's Deans Advisory Council. They have donated to the School of Art & Design's annual fund, scholarships and publications.

The latest gift is part of the School of Art & Design's fundraising for the $2.5 billion Michigan Difference campaign, which runs through December 2008.

For more on the School of Art & Design go to www.art-design.umich.edu.

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