Providing for a new generation: Kevin Cunningham encourages students to seize every opportunity

9/24/2015

Kevin Cunningham encourages students to seize every opportunity.

From his point of view, the reason to support UM-Dearborn is simple—Kevin Cunningham (’82 B.S.A.) cares about students. Through his own experience as a student, he recognizes the fundamental influence of education on a young life.

“UM-Dearborn was such an enriching, enjoyable experience,” said Cunningham, head of dealer operations at TD Auto Finance. “I am very thankful for the education I received; it was top-notch.”

Now, by giving to UM-Dearborn’s College of Business (COB) Scholarship Fund and COB Dean’s Innovative Initiative Fund, Cunningham is helping to ensure that students have the opportunity to receive the same top-notch education that was available to him.

“My hope is to provide aid to students in their pursuit of education so they may enjoy their college experience and seize every opportunity that comes with it,” said Cunningham, who also sits on the COB Board of Advisors.

Important to Cunningham’s decision to financially support scholarships was learning that 48 percent of UM-Dearborn students are the first in the family to attend college. One of the biggest hurdles students face when planning their future—especially for students who are from traditionally underrepresented areas or are first generation college students—is figuring out how to pay for everything.

Students like Mamdud Ahmed, who will graduate in 2018, rely on supporters like Cunningham and the COB Scholarship Fund to achieve their educational goals. “Not only did the scholarship help me continue to take classes toward my program, but it has allowed me to stay out of debt,” said Ahmed. “I can worry less about how I will pay for school and concentrate more on my studies.”

The Dean’s Innovative Initiative Fund allows the College of Business to give students an innovative and transformative education. Such generosity from Cunningham and other donors means the college is able to create progressive environments for learning inside and outside the classroom, recruit top-tier faculty, bring renowned speakers and conferences to campus, and provide students access to new programs, research and engaged learning opportunities through scholarships, internships and hands-on learning opportunities.

“UM-Dearborn prepares leaders who will give back to the community and move southeastern Michigan forward,” said Cunningham. “Those of us who had a wonderful experience at UM-Dearborn have a duty to make sure that experience is enhanced and made possible for a new generation of students.”

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