More than an alma mater

April 3, 2014
Mark Steffka

Mark Steffka, Commencement 1981

Mark Steffka (’81 B.S.E.E.) has traveled the globe and interacted with thousands of people from dozens of countries.

It’s all part of his job as an electromagnetic compatibility technical specialist at General Motors Co.

And through conversations with business professionals, both domestic and international, Steffka often recognizes the significance of his University of Michigan-Dearborn degree.

“I feel very strongly about the education I received here,” said Steffka, who also serves as an electrical engineering lecturer at UM-Dearborn.

The appreciation Steffka has for his alma mater inspires him to participate in the university’s annual Faculty and Staff Campaign. Steffka, who allocates gifts toward the College of Engineering and Computer Science, is one of more than 150 UM-Dearborn alumni who work at their alma mater as faculty and staff.

And about 65 percent of them support UM-Dearborn through financial gifts.

Lavada Smith

Lavada Smith, Commencement 1998

Lavada Smith (’98 B.G.S.) participates in the university’s Faculty and Staff Campaign because she understands the financial hardships many students encounter when paying for college.

“I just feel that everyone has something to give,” said Smith, an interlibrary loan librarian at Mardigian Library. “Everyone has received help at some point in their life.”

Smith’s help came in the form of a student leadership scholarship, which helped her pay tuition at UM-Dearborn.

“I probably wouldn’t have been able to go here without it,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of nurturing and support here, and I see how much giving can impact our students on a daily basis. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”

Smith allocates her gifts toward the library and the Women’s Studies Critical Difference Fund.

Faculty and staff can choose to support any area of campus through the Faculty and Staff Campaign by funding scholarships, expanding campus programs and updating infrastructure.

To learn more about this year’s campaign, which runs through April 16, click here.

For further questions about the Faculty and Staff Campaign, contact Annual Giving Director Christina Ayar at 313-593-5130 or

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