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Updated 11:00 AM October 30, 2008
 

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Michigan Difference campaign transforms campus

After eight years, The Michigan Difference campaign will end at midnight Dec. 31. But even with more than two months left, its impact has already been felt in every corner of the U-M campus, campaign leaders say.

The Michigan Difference has raised more than $2.9 billion in support of facilities, programs, professorships and student aid since July 2000.

Donor philanthropy has endowed more than 185 new professorships; launched the construction of 22 new campus buildings, including the 1-million-square-foot C.S. Mott Children's and Women's Hospital — the largest building project in U-M history — and a new wing that more than doubles the size of the U-M Museum of Art; and funded major initiatives in emerging fields. Examples range from the Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute to the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute to the newly announced Ronald and Eileen Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia.

Student support has been a particular priority during The Michigan Difference, as signaled by the success of President May Sue Coleman's two Donor Challenges for undergraduate and graduate student aid. The challenges, which match qualifying contributions toward need-based undergraduate scholarships and graduate and professional student fellowships, have generated nearly $130 million in new funding to address these needs — part of a total of more than $634 million in student support contributed throughout the campaign. Michigan students already are benefiting from this increase in the availability of financial aid: campaign giving added more than $10 million to the total amount of scholarship and fellowship money the University was able to distribute during fiscal year 2008 alone.

Everyone is invited to celebrate these and the campaign's many other historic accomplishments on the afternoon of Nov. 14, when the University celebrates The Michigan Difference finale with a public convocation-style program featuring special speakers, musical and theatrical performances, a student video and a few surprises.

The afternoon, which will be emceed by the team of NBC anchor Andrea Joyce (AB '76) and CBS Early Show anchor Harry Smith, kicks off an entire weekend of related events and celebrations.

Among the donors honored during the finale will be the more than 16,500 University faculty, staff and retirees who have participated in the Heart of the Michigan Difference faculty-staff campaign, contributing $155 million toward the University's overall Michigan Difference total.

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