Five Questions with…Tim Abeska

November 7, 2019

CASL alumnus Tim Abeska ('79 B.A.) credits UM-Dearborn for laying the groundwork for his professional success. He shows his gratitude by contributing to CASL and helping current students achieve their goals.

Tim Abeska ('79 B.A.) and CASL Dean Marty Hershock
Tim Abeska ('79 B.A.) and CASL Dean Marty Hershock
Tim Abeska ('79 B.A.) and CASL Dean Marty Hershock

Throughout his successful law career, Tim Abeska (’79 B.A.) never forgot the undeniable impact his education and experiences at UM-Dearborn had on his life. He graduated from UM-Dearborn with a degree in political science and history, and continued his studies at the University of Notre Dame Law School, where he graduated in 1982. He then worked as Corporate Counsel for Morgan Drive-Away, Inc., and, in 1984, he joined the law firm Roemer & Mintz, where he became a partner in 1989. In 2001, the firm merged with Barnes & Thornburg LLP. During his time with them, he continued as a partner in their Litigation Department, and was vice chair of the Construction Law Practice Group and co-chair of the Logistics and Transportation Practice Group.

In addition to his career accomplishments, Abeska has generously supported the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters. He hopes to encourage current CASL students to realize their potential, and to help them achieve success in their future careers. CASL Dean Marty Hershock appreciates Abeska’s continuing support, and notes how these gifts are essential to making student success possible. “Tim’s gift...stands as a testament to the value that our alums place upon…the university,” he said, adding that it “helps to ensure that future generations of students will have access to the same transformational UM-Dearborn education.

We recently asked Abeska to reflect on his time here and the impact he hopes his philanthropy will have on our campus.

1. What inspired you to make gifts to support CASL and the Get to Graduation Fund?

I make financial contributions to CASL as an expression of gratitude to the University, to help current students, and because it is the right thing to do. 

My UM-Dearborn education laid the groundwork for professional success, and I have an obligation to give back to help others who are nearing the start of their careers. 

The Get to Graduation Fund is of particular interest to me because of the direct financial help provided to students.

2. What do you hope these gifts will accomplish? What do you think the benefit will be to making both a gift to endow the scholarship today and also an estate gift?

Gifts to CASL will help in many ways to support the infrastructure needed to provide resources to students.  The Get to Graduation Fund in particular will allow students in need to cross the graduation goal line without having to take a break from studies or being distracted from course work by financial pressure. 

Making a gift to endow the Mary Ann and Tim Abeska Endowed “Get to Graduation Fund” will provide the CASL Dean with certainty that some funds will be available each semester to help students.  By making further contributions during my lifetime and through my estate plan, I will ensure that funds are available in perpetuity and perhaps create an example for others to follow.

3. What are some of your most memorable UM-Dearborn experiences?

The time taken by my instructors (such as Sidney Bolkosky, Bernard Klein, Donald Proctor, Ronald Stockton, and Frank Wayman) to get to know their students and make themselves available to students to provide advice.

4. How did your time at UM-Dearborn impact your professional career?

My UM-Dearborn education laid the foundation for my law school education and a successful career.  A degree from UM-Dearborn was part of the reason I was accepted to law school at the University of Notre Dame.  The reasonable cost of my undergraduate education made it possible for me to save money for law school, something which is much harder in today’s economy for even the most dedicated students.

5. What advice do you have for our students to make the most of their UM-Dearborn education while they are here and to prepare them for their careers?

Take your studies seriously and apply yourself to do your best, while taking time for fun.  Form friendships that will last beyond college and help you both personally and professionally.  Engage people with different viewpoints than your own and find common ground with those people with whom you disagree.

I hope all the CASL students will reach their goals and dreams and give back to UM-Dearborn when and as they are able.


Dean Hershock recognizes the importance of gifts like Tim Abeska’s. We talked to him about the significance of donor support and how these contributions make a meaningful impact in fostering student success.

Why are you so grateful to Tim Abeska for his gifts to CASL?

Tim's gift means so much to the college and to our students. First, it stands as a testament to the value that our alums place upon their experiences here at the university. They are profoundly grateful for the education that they received and the opportunity that this university provided them. It is very inspiring to see alums like Tim giving back to the university by supporting the college so generously.

Perhaps even more importantly, Tim's gift helps to ensure that future generations of students will have access to the same transformational University of Michigan-Dearborn education that people like he and I received. At a time of rapidly increasing tuition and stagnant state support, it is increasingly a challenge for our students to be able to finance their degrees from start to finish. Tim's gift will ensure that the college can help more of its students make it over that finish line in spite of their financial challenges.

How does CASL benefit from and use an endowed scholarship and estate gift?

This sort of planned gift is incredibly important for CASL. Not only does it ensure that our Get to Graduation scholarship fund has an ongoing source of revenue (and student demand for these funds is constant and growing) but it also models, to other alumni donors, ways that they can make their gifts to the university have an ongoing and perpetual impact.

How will these gifts help CASL students?

Every semester I am sadly inundated with students who have exhausted their financial aid and who, due to any number of circumstances, are unable to make the final payments for their last classes. Having funds available to assist these students has been a big priority for the college.

These students have worked so hard and stand on the threshold of making their lifelong dreams come true. This gift will enable the college to help even more of these students. Its impact will be immediate, both for the students and for their families.

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