The University Record, May 10 , 1999

Ford pledge supports education, environment, arts initiatives

By Jay Hartford
Development Office

Ford Motor Co. and the University have announced a $9.3 million pledge from the Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of the company, to support major initiatives in education, the environment and the arts.

Ford’s pledge will have a significant impact on the College of Engineering, School of Business Administration, School of Natural Resources and Environment, LS&A, the Center for the Education of Women, visual and performing arts, and the U-M-Dearborn College of Engineering and Computer Science.

“Ford Motor Company’s relationship with the University of Michigan is a partnership in the truest sense, and Ford is committed to keeping it strong,” said Ford president and CEO Jacques Nasser in announcing the pledge April 29. “At Ford Motor Company, we are dedicated to becoming the world’s leading consumer company for automotive products and services. As part of that dedication, our support of higher education continues to be a top priority. Through our strong working relationship with the U-M, we’ve focused on efforts that further research, develop safety and environmental programs and enhance educational opportunities–all areas of importance to Ford Motor Company.”

In accepting the pledge, Bollinger noted that the University’s partnership with Ford “has spanned almost 50 years, covering a breadth of initiatives including faculty support, industry research, student support and programmatic support. This is but the latest example of Ford’s exceptional generosity.”

The gift will support a number of priorities:

  • In the College of Engineering, funds will support the Summer Engineering Academy, a highly structured series of engineering enrichment initiatives for students from seventh grade through incoming first-year college students. The program is key to the College’s comprehensive minority student support system.

  • In the Center for the Education of Women, funding will create Ford Graduate Fellowships for Women in Business, Engineering, and Natural Resources and Environment, areas in which the University is committed to increasing the number of women seeking professional degrees.

  • In LS&A, Ford funding will be used to endow an annual distinguished lectureship in the Department of Physics.

  • The College of Engineering and the School of Business Administration will receive support for the Tauber Manufacturing Institute, a joint program that sponsors interdisciplinary education and research in manufacturing.

  • The School of Business Administration also will receive funding for the renovation of Hale Auditorium.

  • At the School of Natural Resources and Environment, Ford will play a key role in supporting the renovation of the Samuel Trask Dana Building.

  • Ford has also been a staunch supporter of cultural programs and will continue its support of the visual and performing arts.

  • On the Dearborn campus, three laboratories the College of Engineering and Computer Science will be upgraded to provide undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to work with tools similar to those they will use in industry. The Center for Engineering Education and Practice, which integrates the teaching environment with engineering practice, and which received its initial funding from Ford, will receive further funding. Ford also has pledged support to a joint project between the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Management to increase the number of minority students graduating with degrees in engineering and management.

    Bollinger noted that in addition to the generous $9.3 million pledge, over the past five years Ford has given an average of $4 million per year to support a range of research activities. Ford currently is engaged in nine affiliates programs (research partnerships) with various schools and colleges in which Ford scientists work with U-M scientists and engineers.

    “These research affiliations of Ford Motor Company, the range of projects and Ford’s history of such support demonstrate what an exceptional corporate partner Ford is,” Bollinger said. “Ford is also our single best matching gift partner. I only wish we had 20 more such partnerships.”