Stephen Ross Becomes University Of Michigan’s Single Largest Donor

ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – Detroit native and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has made a $50 million donation to the University of Michigan to support career development programs for students, new business ventures and student-run investment funds.

This, on top of $328 million in previous donations, makes Ross the single largest donor to the university — ever.

“It gives me enormous joy to continue to give back to the University of Michigan, an institution that had such a profound impact on my life,” Ross said in a statement. “I am extremely proud of the physical transformation we have achieved at the business school, creating modern, new facilities and places students and facility and future leaders can thrive.”

The majority of the new gift will support career development programs for students, innovative action-based learning experiences such as student-run investment funds and new business ventures, and resources for attracting and developing junior faculty.

His previous donations have not only helped the business school become one of the best in the world, but his support has physically transformed the landscape of the university—adding the signature terra cotta look of the Ross School campus, designed to foster collaboration and action-based learning in business education, as well as the sturdy brick of the Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus buildings, a home for all U-M student-athletes, set for completion in 2018.

“Stephen M. Ross continues to make a tremendous impact on the University of Michigan. His generosity and outstanding leadership have transformed the learning environment for our students,” said U-M President Mark Schlissel.

The new gift creates:

  • A $16 million Student Success initiative that will help students develop career and professional skills, build a robust network of advisers and career advocates, personalize their learning journey, and access internships and career opportunities with leading companies around the globe. The Student Success initiative will help realize the vision of Michigan Ross as the most powerful career accelerator and best source of leadership talent in business education.
  • A $16 million Stephen M. Ross Faculty Support Fund for faculty who develop academic innovations that advance the school’s commitment to action-based learning, interdisciplinary education and leadership development. The fund also will support expanded mentoring and coaching for junior faculty, prestigious junior faculty professorships and additional research support—all of which will help Michigan Ross attract and retain rising stars in business education.
  • An $8 million Stephen M. Ross Student Investment Fund for academic programs and learning experiences in asset and investment management, including venture capital, private equity, commercial real estate and publicly traded securities. The fund will enable Michigan Ross to continue developing the world’s most innovative portfolio of student-run investment funds and build academic programs that accelerate student learning and career placement.

The rest, $10 million, goes toward completing and maintaining the Ross School campus.

Ross earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting from the U-M Business School in 1962, a law degree from Wayne State University and a Master of Law degree in taxation from New York University. He began his career as a tax attorney at Coopers & Lybrand in Detroit.

In 2013, Ross committed to give at least half of his wealth to charity and signed the Giving Pledge, a long-term, global initiative created by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates that aims to inspire deeper engagement in philanthropy and increase charitable giving globally.

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