UMich getting $100 million gift

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: UMich getting $100 million gift
By Achat (Achat) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 12:06 pm: Edit

For the business school. In today's NY Times, Education Section, Sept. 9th, 2004. Here are some excerpts:

"The donor is Stephen M. Ross, the chairman of the Related Companies, which built the $1.7 billion Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle. Mr. Ross is now working to bring the Olympics to New York in 2012.

Mr. Ross, a native of Detroit and a Michigan graduate, said he gave the money to establish what he hoped would become the nation's "best business school," anchored by an "iconic, modern building" on Michigan's campus. The university described the gift as the largest ever given to a business school, giving ample reason for the school to bear Mr. Ross's name.

"Naming is in perpetuity, so you only get to do this once," said Robert J. Dolan, dean of the business school. "That's why it's such a large gift." The official announcement of the gift is scheduled for Thursday."

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 12:09 pm: Edit

I saw that article, which also mentioned a large gift to another institution. I thought about the value of legacies in this context, as well as the fact that legacies can make a huge difference to state universities, not just private colleges.

By Achat (Achat) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 12:17 pm: Edit

Yes, $50 million to Tufts from the Cummings Foundation for the veterinary school.

It's great.

By Angstridden (Angstridden) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 12:36 pm: Edit

How does UMICH rank now as a business school?

By Achat (Achat) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 12:43 pm: Edit

10th in graduate business school category according to this year's USNEWS rankings. I just liked the fact that a local boy did good and donated to his university. UMich is already great in almost every category.

Just the sappy idealist in me..:-)

By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 12:45 pm: Edit

"UMich is already great in almost every category."

Achat, are you filling in for Alexandre?
(just kiddin'.......)

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 12:45 pm: Edit

Great news for any school to get this kind of money and especially great for a state school. With all of the budgetary constraints that seem to be hitting, I am very happy for UMich. This will help insure that it remains the tremendous university that it currently is.

By Patient (Patient) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 03:03 pm: Edit

Stanford also just received a gift of 47.5 million from a 4-generation family for new graduate student housing for law/business graduate students, to be built near the law school.

By Achat (Achat) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 03:09 pm: Edit

Patient, didn't Stanford also benefit from the Google IPO (well, the price was lowered, still..)

By Patient (Patient) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 03:29 pm: Edit

I think the newspaper said they got about $15,000,000 from the IPO. I don't remember whether they sold all their shares or not.

By Texdad (Texdad) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 04:38 pm: Edit

About 5 years ago, UT Austin got 50 million for their business school and changed its name to the McCombs School of Bus. I guess the price of poker is going up.

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 04:54 pm: Edit

Tulane just got $60 million - $30 million from the founder of Netscape, who also has given a substantial amount to Stanford, and $30 million from the co-founder of Yahoo. It is to become part of the endowment and the income is earmarked to perpetuate the great merit money Tulane gives. David Filo (Yahoo) was a Deans Honor Scholar while at Tulane and graduated with a BSE in computer engineering. He just wanted to thank the school for the opportunity that was given them and make sure that outstanding students continued to be given the opportunity. It's great that those who can give seem to be. I'll never have that kind of money and I'm so glad that there are generous folks who do.

By Valpal (Valpal) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 09:04 pm: Edit

Yeah, but they're still members of that horribly elite 1% tax bracket, clamoring for their $75,000 dollar tax rebate from the Bush administration. Worthless, no good...

By Mini (Mini) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 09:09 pm: Edit

Too true. Especially since the percentage of income of the top 1% going toward philanthropy is lower now than at any time since FDR.

But there are plenty of nice islands for sale....

By Alwaysamom (Alwaysamom) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 09:52 pm: Edit

I wondered how long it would take before people managed to turn an act of extreme generosity which will benefit so many students, into something negative. Some people never fail to disappoint.

By Valpal (Valpal) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 11:16 pm: Edit

Alwaysamom, I was trying at sarcasm. Guess I didn't succeed. Actually, I think that such philanthropic acts are wonderful, and I greatly admire anyone willing to donate such large amounts of money to an immanently worthy cause. I noticed that the "the rich" are a category of people often vilified on these boards, as if wealth alone were a quality of moral bankruptcy. Conversely, "the poor" are seen to be made somehow noble in their poverty, mere pawns or victims of "the rich".

By Patito12 (Patito12) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 02:13 am: Edit

I wish someone to donate a few million to the UC system.

we could sure use it... :-\

By Achat (Achat) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 08:13 am: Edit

Yes, I was thinking that too. Wouldn't UC also benefit from the Google IPO?

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 08:59 am: Edit

We are now getting solicitations from UMICH.Why? My son got 1300 SAT , honor roll 4 yrs, varsity tennis and team captain,150 community service hours junior year, other clubs,- would this get him in?Don't think so, do you?

By Dadx (Dadx) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 09:00 am: Edit

Well, glad I didn't "jump on" Valpals post, I was about to....the irony wasn't coming through.

I'll switch gears here, though, a bit. One of the things that is interesting to know about these gifts is the "structure". In public philanthropy, there are gifts, and then there are gifts....sometimes the gifts are "pledges" that don't get fulfilled. Some are not the same as others with the same number on them. Some come from controlling egomaniacs, and others from quiet, modest people who don't seek anything in return other than their own private satisfaction. I think most pledges and gifts are what they seem.....and yet enough are not that it is worth being cautious if you are the giftee. Especially if the quid pro quo is naming something in perpetuity.

There was an article in the WSJ within the last 2 years regarding Haverford college and its Presisdent's efforts to increase a gift from the old gentleman who married the young playboy playmate. I googled it up from a Duke law school course website. I recall it being illuminating with respect to the unpleasant aspects of raising funds for private colleges, and painting a rather unflattering picture of a college official chasing a couple of bucks.

Llink is here, for those interested. Made me glad I never had one of those jobs. Hope I don't have to have one either.

By Kissy (Kissy) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 09:15 am: Edit

Valpal - I laughed while reading your first post and the subsequent bait-taker, lol! Must be my demented sense of sarcasm..........

By Achat (Achat) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 09:23 am: Edit

Wow, what a story! What a story! Haverford even courted Mr. Marshall's assistant when his previous wife started developing Alzheimer's! And gave his assistant's nephew financial aid!

It indeed is a horrible task, raising funds.

By Achat (Achat) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 09:29 am: Edit

BHG, the 1300 SAT is not going to keep him out of UMich if his high-school grades are good and his application is well-written, I think.

You could ask at the UMich forum on this board.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 10:12 am: Edit

Fund-raising is not an easy task, indeed, and not for the squeamish. As Dadx mentioned, there are many kind of gifts. In some cases, gifts are merely pledges, and sometimes these pledges are not kept, as was the case with Haverford and Marshall. When a prospective donor dies instestate, the prospective recipient does not receive any of the fund that had been pledged. Some of the most famous charitable organizations were started as vehicles for reducing taxes (indeed a discussion of changes in the tax code has to include its impact on charitable giving). At the individual level, there are living trusts, which, though usually more modest affairs than setting up a charitable organization, have the effect of shielding personal income from taxes. The person setting up the living trust gets to keep the income--free of tax, I believe--for the duration of his or her life, and the recipient of the trust gets the capital on his/her death.
Then, as Dadx mentions, there are would be donors who seek to dictate what and how a university will teach. Many universities have stories of how they had to turn down a large gift because the donor wanted to have something taught a certain way or to have their pet professor appointed. The family that endowed the Woodrow Wilson Institute at Princeton is suing to have its money back on the ground that Princeton is not living up to its pledge to prepare graduates for careers in the foreign service; the Bass family took back $20 millions pledged to Yale to develop a course to counteract what it saw as an alarming trend away from the teaching of Western Civilization.
One Harvard donor gave $5 millions to have the spire restored to the top of Memorial Hall (it had burned down in a fire in the 1950s). That could not be used for other purposes such as scholarships.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 10:16 am: Edit

Living trusts do not shield you from paying income taxes.

By Patient (Patient) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 10:22 am: Edit

A similar thing is going on now here, with a pledge of over 100 million to St. Mary's College in Moraga that turns out to have been a scam. St. Mary's built an entire science building based upon the pledge, before any money actually appeared, and now must scale back its renovation and building plans for some time to make up for it. (Unless, of course, others come forward to rescue)

By Dstark (Dstark) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 10:27 am: Edit

That is a big hit for St. Mary's.

By Alwaysamom (Alwaysamom) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 10:56 am: Edit

Wow, that's a very sad story about St. Mary's but it seems to me that the administration and whomever was involved in the decision to start construction without having received any of the pledge (after four years!), were very irresponsible.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 10:57 am: Edit


I wuz wrong. I'd been getting solicitations to establish a living trust that touted the tax advantates of such trusts (I did not read them carefully, obviously). Here is some info I gleaned from google:


With proper training, a living trust can be a valuable estate and tax planning device. However, there is no inherent estate tax advantage to using a living trust. While a trust may contain provisions taking effect at death which do save on taxes, the identical tax savings can be contained in the grantor's will instead of a living trust.


There are no substantive income tax advantages in the use of a living trust. The grantor is treated as the owner of the trust for income tax purposes, and must report all trust income on his or her personal return under the "grantor trust" income tax rules.

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 12:06 pm: Edit

I think the colleges, in the case of fundraising, need to adhere to a little street smarts that everyone on this board understands. Don't count your chickens before they hatch, or in this case, don't plan a press release and start construction until the check has cleared.

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