Streamers and confetti flew on campus Friday morning as more than 150 UM-Dearborn community members gathered to celebrate the impact made during the Victors for UM-Dearborn campaign.
“Undeniably, this campus is a different place from when the campaign was formally launched on our campus in 2014,” said Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement Mallory Simpson.
“At the campaign launch, I asked the audience to think philanthropically…to imagine that you could make a big difference on our campus and the return on your investment would be both impressive and rewarding. And you’ve done that. You have transformed lives and powered our region. You are victors and should feel like victors.”
More than 7,000 individuals, foundations and corporate partners for The Victors for UM-Dearborn campaign have committed $46,210,386 to date, including gifts from 3,733 first-time donors. With this generous support, the university has issued thousands of scholarships, supported hundreds of academic and research projects, and made major improvements to facilities across campus.
Attendees at Friday’s event saw the impact the Victors for UM-Dearborn campaign has had on individual students:
- For Muhammad Osto, scholarship support meant he could focus less on working and more on his studies in order to fulfill his dream of being a doctor. The 2018 alumnus is now in medical school.
- For Christian Ledford, an aspiring lawyer, support meant he could have a better understanding of the justice system and civic leadership when a scholarship helped fund his internship experience at the Washtenaw County Public Defender.
- For Rebecca Watters, who wants to stay in metro Detroit and work as a physician’s assistant, the support inspired her to work even harder toward her goals knowing that she had people who believed in her and her mission. And it’s something she now wants to do for others, saying, “When I am set in my career, I hope to be able to do what was done for me and help out future students at UM-Dearborn because I know how much it can mean for someone, as it has for me.
Campaign Co-chair Eric Nemeth (’85 B.A.) and wife Paula (’85 B.A.) are founders and funders of several campus scholarships, including the award that Ledford received.
“Every donor has a story and a passion. With so many of our students working for survival, the concept of an internship is impossible without some dedicated financial support. It was that way for me,” Eric Nemeth said. “Getting the students here is just the start; engagement is what gets them off of the launch pad.”
Chancellor Domenico Grasso thanked former Chancellor Daniel Little for his visionary leadership of the campaign and shared news of a commemoration space across from Mardigian Library to recognize the campaign and its donors.
“We’ve dedicated a group of trees called Victors Grove,” Grasso said. “This magnificent landscape will continue to grow and enhance our surroundings. It will remind us of the impact your generosity has on our campus, students and the campus community for generations to come.”
The celebration closed with the singing of The Victors and the reveal of the campaign’s contributions so far. The tally — $46,210,386 — was revealed number-by-number by UM-Dearborn students.
“We are all recipients of this campaign — from the scholarships that give us the ability to focus on our studies to the new buildings and campus renovations that give us 21st century learning environments,” said junior Karina Nava, who held the number “6” sign. “We are cared for here. Experiences like this show us how important philanthropy is and reminds us to provide care to the next generation when we get more established. I’m thankful for that lesson too.”
There’s still time to give. Become a Victor for UM-Dearborn today to ensure our students have access to a transformative UM-Dearborn education and help us end the campaign with a flourish.