The University of Michigan has announced a $200 million gift from real estate developer and alumnus Stephen M. Ross. The gift, the largest single donation in U-M history, will be split between the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and U-M Athletics.
The business school will use its half of the gift to create scholarships as well as new spaces for its nearly six thousand students to study, conduct research, and collaborate and connect with other students, faculty, and potential employers. The athletics department will use its portion of the gift to build state-of-the-art facilities for its campus, which will be renamed the Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus; provide the more than nine hundred student-athletes at U-M with additional support and resources; and create additional work spaces to help U-M student-atheltes develop skills for success after athletics. With the gift, Ross — the founder and chairman of the Related Companies and owner of the Miami Dolphins — becomes the most generous donor ever to the university, with lifetime giving of more than $313 million.
Ross, who earned his bachelor of business administration in accounting in 1962, gave $100 million to the university in 2004 toward a new building and to endow the operations of the business school, which was renamed after him in recognition of the gift. He told the Wall Street Journal that his latest gift is meant to "finish the job" in upgrading the business school's other buildings, adding, "I believe you give till it feels good."
Ross's other past donations include a $5 million lead gift to create the Stephen M. Ross Academic Center, which provides study space on the athletic campus; $5 million for a U-M stadium expansion project; and scholarship support for student-athletes. A Giving Pledge signatory, Ross will serve as the chairman of the university's next major fundraising campaign.
"The University of Michigan had a profound impact on my life, and I have received enormous satisfaction from being able to give back to the institution that played such a critical role in my success," said Ross. "I am thrilled to be able to make such an impactful contribution and to not only help write the next chapter for the university, but also offer much-needed scholarships to ensure we continue to attract the best and the brightest students and provide them with the financial resources they need."