LSA dean's gift opens 'Campaign Awareness Month'
LSA Dean Terrence J. McDonald is leading that college's current LSA:Making the Michigan Difference capital campaign to raise $300 million, not only as the administrator who is setting its academic priorities but also as one of its most important fund-raisers. And he's more than a fund-raiser for the college: He's a donor.
Recently McDonald announced his own $125,000 campaign contributionone of the larger gifts of its kind by a U-M dean.
McDonald made his announcement as a prelude to LSA's "Campaign Awareness Month" in November, which is focusing on the importance of private support to the college from its alumni, faculty and staff.
"Private support is ever-more essential in these times of state budget cuts and increasing competition among institutions of higher learning for top faculty and students," McDonald says.
McDonald's pledge is designated for an endowment to support training and information sharing organized and conducted by LSA's Office of Student Academic Affairs for all campus advisers. McDonald says he decided to designate his gift to these activities to acknowledge the crucial role advisers play in helping students make the most of their time in LSA and to support the advising summits and conferences that have served to bring together all faculty and staff who advise students.
"Our advisersin Academic Affairs, Comprehensive Studies, Honors, the Residential College and in departmentsall serve as guides to our outstanding and diverse curriculum, but also as academic coaches, helping our students utilize academic resources, make academic choices and study effectively."
McDonald, who meets often with alumni to explain the college's campaign priorities, says that scholarships for students are one of his top goals. Currently less than five percent of its students are supported by privately funded LSA scholarships. A key campaign goal is to raise close to $100 million for student support, including graduate student funding and undergraduate scholarships for students with merit and need.
Among other top campaign goals are faculty recruitment and retention, supporting new interdisciplinary programs such as a World Scholars Program, and strengthening existing departments that are ranked among the best in the nation. As part of the campaign, individual departments also will raise funds to better enable them to remain competitive.
Peggy Burns, LSA assistant dean for advancement, says the college's campaign goals, while ambitious, are attainable.
"We have clearly defined priorities and great campaign leadership both here in the college and throughout the University. We have first-rate students, faculty and programs, and the more successful we are in getting this message out the better positioned we are for success," Burns says.
To date, roughly the midpoint of the LSA:Making the Michigan Difference campaign, LSA has raised nearly half of its $300 million goal. Large gifts such as an $8 million gift last spring from Mary and Ed Meader to build an exhibit wing at the Kelsey Museum have done much to move the campaign forward. So too have numerous other gifts from alumni.
McDonald emphasizes that he is pleased with the progress of the campaign, while recognizing that a lot of work lies ahead to reach LSA's ambitious goal. He feels that raising awareness of the college's needs through LSA magazine, mailings and other communications is crucial to reaching the campaign goal.
"We need to reach many more LSA alumni than we did in the last campaign and encourage them to support their alma mater," McDonald says.
"We have more than 150,000 alumni throughout the world, and we're doing everything we can to reach out to them and tell them about all the wonderful educational opportunities that LSA provides today's studentsand that we need their help to continue to make it so. Remind them what they already know, if you will: That this is one outstanding place to go to college."
For details on the LSA:Making the Michigan Difference campaign, go to http://www.lsa.umich.edu and click on "Alumni and Friends."