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Updated 10:00 AM November 9, 2009

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Michigan Union Ballroom renamed after Rogel family

The ballroom in the historic Michigan Union celebrated a new name and a refurbishing in a Nov. 6 dedication and naming ceremony as part of the university's Presidential Societies Weekend events.

To officially honor the contributions of alumnus Rich Rogel and his wife Susan, the Union Ballroom will now be called the Rogel Ballroom.

Built in 1919, the ballroom is an historical gem and a landmark destination on campus. With a capacity of 600 persons, the ballroom is heavily used by students, as well as university departments and commercial businesses all year long. Close to 350 events are held in the ballroom each year.

A plaque that will permanently hang in the ballroom was presented to the Rogels during a ceremony with President Mary Sue Coleman and Sam Pangas, chair of the Michigan Union Board of Representatives. "It's a great honor to have the Rogel name associated with the magnificent ballroom in the Union, where countless students, staff, faculty and other visitors will be reminded of the Rogels' extraordinary commitment to the university community," Pangas says.

Rich and Susan Rogel are longstanding, dedicated supporters of the university. Over the years, they have provided financial support for 16 different schools and units of the university. In their gifts and volunteer efforts, the Rogels consistently have worked to make U-M accessible to all qualified students, regardless of their financial situation, university officials say. A number of scholarships have been set up through their efforts, including the largest gift for financial aid ever received by U-M that targets out-of-state students. So far about 400 students have been Rogel Scholars.

Perhaps Rich Rogel's most significant volunteer role has been serving as chair of the National Campaign Leadership Cabinet of the Michigan Difference Campaign, which raised $3.2 billion for the university.

This past summer the ballroom underwent some renovations. Major improvements included repairing and refinishing the hardwood floor, repairing the wood paneling and doors to the servery and storage rooms, restoring the limestone, fully repainting the space and construction of a new stage. In addition, a new sound system recently was installed.

"These improvements, along with the soaring high ceiling and classic Pond and Pond architectural elements, will enhance the events that take place there by providing a striking backdrop," says Susan Pile, director of Michigan Union. "We look forward to many more great Michigan memories being made in the Rogel Ballroom in the years ahead."

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