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Updated 10:00 AM September 22, 2008
 

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Endowed business school deanship to honor banker,
alumnus Edward J. Frey

The deanship of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business will be named for the late Edward J. Frey (1910-1988), a distinguished leader in banking, finance and insurance, as well as philanthropist, World War II veteran and U-M alumnus. The Board of Regents approved the deanship at its Sept. 18 meeting.

The Edward J. Frey Deanship of Business is endowed by ongoing gifts now valued at $5 million from the Frey Foundation, one of Michigan's largest private family foundations. The foundation was established in 1974 by Edward and his wife, Frances, and was born of their love of community and commitment to philanthropy.

"In honoring our father, we are celebrating the greatness of the University and the business school in a manner that he would not have done during his lifetime," says David Frey, chairman and trustee of the Frey Foundation and retired chairman of Union Bank and Trust Co. and its parent Union Bancorp, and following its merger with NBD Bancorp, chairman of NBD West Michigan (now JPMorgan Chase). "Consider this gift a testamentary bequest by a very private, understated but extraordinarily proud, loyal and enthusiastic alumnus.

"He cared deeply about U-M's educational responsibilities to the state and to the nation. He was immensely proud of the traditions of the University and its stellar global reputation."

Robert Dolan, current dean of the Ross School of Business, will assume the title of Edward J. Frey Dean of Business, which he will hold in addition to the title of Stephen M. Ross Professor of Business.

"I am truly honored to be the first Edward J. Frey Dean of Business at Michigan," Dolan says. "Mr. Frey was a remarkable business leader, innovator, humanitarian and a longtime friend of the University. His great generosity and that of the Frey Foundation over many years has helped the business school attain its stature as one of the best in the world. I, along with the school and larger U-M community, am enormously grateful to the Frey family for all they have done for the University."

President Mary Sue Coleman says the deanship is a fitting tribute to Frey's commitment to Michigan and a tremendous contribution to the University's Michigan Difference campaign.

"Mr. Frey was a passionate advocate for the university throughout his life," she says. "We are extremely appreciative of his commitment to Michigan and the difference that his incredible generosity and that of the Frey Foundation makes in the lives of so many Michigan graduates. This is another shining example of the Michigan Difference.

"It is also fitting that Dean Dolan will be the inaugural Edward J. Frey Dean of Business. His tenure at Michigan has been marked by classroom innovation, practical business experience for students and lessons of corporate citizenship — principles embodied by the life of Mr. Frey."

A 1932 U-M graduate, Frey combined business and banking acumen with entrepreneurial initiative. In 1934 he joined Union Bank and Trust Co. (now JPMorgan Chase), which was founded by his father, John E. Frey, in 1918 in Grand Rapids. He became president and CEO in 1952, chairman in 1966 and retired in 1983. He developed a number of banking innovations, including installment loans for mobile homes. In 1952 he founded Foremost Insurance Co., the nation's leading insurer of mobile homes and recreational vehicles.

The Frey Foundation (www.freyfdn.org) works in partnership with organizations, agencies and other funders that have a deep commitment to west Michigan. Its grantmaking has six focus areas: arts, city-enhancing capital projects, children, civic progress, environment and philanthropy.

The present trustees of the Frey Foundation are David Frey, chairman; John M. Frey, vice chairman; Edward Frey Jr., secretary/treasurer and Mary Caroline (Twink) Frey, trustee emeritus.

The Frey deanship is the third endowed deanship at U-M. The other two are the Joan and Sanford Weill Deanship at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the Robert J. Vlasic Deanship at the College of Engineering.

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