ANN ARBOR (WWJ) — The dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Information and his wife have pledged $2.5 million to the university.

The university says the gift from dean Jeffrey MacKie-Mason and his wife, Janet Netz, is among the largest ever made by a UM dean.

MacKie-Mason said the gift supports the school’s “commitment to using information and technology to help create better lives. We’d like to see the great work continue for a long, long time. We care deeply about the school, the university, and the work that’s done here.”

Added Netz: “We both appreciate the real-world impact that academic research can have. We’re happy to have the opportunity to support future generations of faculty working to identify the many ways in which the use of information can improve lives everywhere.”

The bequest, part of the couple’s estate plans, is intended to establish the Jeffrey MacKie-Mason Professor of Information, a tenured faculty position within the school.

“Our gift is among the first from faculty and staff in the university’s new fundraising campaign, but I expect there to be many such contributions,” MacKie-Mason said. His and Netz’s bequest will launch the school’s campaign, part of the university’s larger Victors for Michigan campaign, which kicks off Nov. 8.

Faculty, staff, and retirees gave more than $165 million in the university’s last comprehensive campaign, which concluded in 2008. Both MacKie-Mason and Netz are UM alumni.

MacKie-Mason is the Arthur W. Burks Collegiate Professor of Information and Computer Science. He has been a UM faculty member since 1986, and was a founding faculty member of the rechartered School of Information after it made its transition from the School of Information and Library Science in 1996.

He is also a professor of economics in UM’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts, and a professor of public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. In 2010, he received a UM Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award.

MacKie-Mason earned his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in environmental policy from Dartmouth College in 1980, his Master of Public Policy from UM in 1982, and his Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986.

Janet Netz earned her bachelor’s degree cum laude in economics from the University of California Berkeley in 1986, and her master’s (1990) and Ph.D. (1992) in economics from UM.

She began her career in academia, earning tenure at Purdue University and teaching at UM as a visiting professor. When she moved back to Ann Arbor, Netz founded the consulting firm applEcon LLC with several others, including MacKie-Mason. She offers expert testimony in antitrust cases on behalf of consumers who have been harmed by firms’ illegal and anticompetitive conduct.


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