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Updated 3:00 PM May 2, 2005




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Flint kicks off campaign, more than halfway to $30 million goal

U-M-Flint publicly launched the largest capital campaign in its nearly 50-year history April 16. With community support and encouragement, the campus is embarking on a three-year fund-raising campaign with a goal of $30 million. Flint joins the Ann Arbor and Dearborn campuses' overall fund-raising effort of $2.5 billion for The Michigan Difference campaign.

The Flint campaign will raise money for scholarships, student research, the Honors Program, library resources, facility improvements, endowed professorships, and University and community partnerships, as well as other priorities that have been determined by campus leadership.

President Mary Sue Coleman joined U-M-Flint Chancellor Juan E. Mestas and campus and community leaders at a pre-kick-off luncheon. Coleman noted the strong ties the Flint campus has with the community.

"We are sharing our vision with leaders of both the University and the community because our future is a common one. There is no university in this state that has a stronger bond with its neighbors," Coleman said. "Together, the leaders of Flint and the U-M-Flint have joined forces to develop programs, facilities and, most important, exemplary graduates, to contribute to the progress of Flint and Genesee County."

Mestas said, "This campaign is not about money; it is about people. That is the only way it could be because the university is about people engaged in the never-ending pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

"We need more scholarships because no student who has the ability, the preparation and the will to succeed at U-M-Flint should be denied that opportunity because she or he cannot afford it."

Imagine: The University of Michigan-Flint Difference is the banner that will identify the various publications and events to educate donors about the University's needs.

"This is the most comprehensive capital campaign ever conducted on this campus," said Kristen Skivington, acting vice chancellor for institutional advancement. "It's not about us. It's about the community and through the priorities of this campaign, responding to the needs of the community."

With many leadership gifts from foundations, corporations, alumni and friends of the University already received, Skivington said more than half of the campaign goal has been reached. During a kick-off presentation in the U-M-Flint Theatre, she acknowledged a number of the gifts from alumni and friends:

• Francine and David (B.S. '73) Zick for student research, laboratories, scholarships and support of the physics and engineering departments;

• Kathie and John (B.A. '70) Heitmann, for accounting scholarships;

• Helene Streich, for support of the Early Childhood Development Center.

Two surprise gifts also were announced at the kick-off.

Harry Piper (B.A. '53, J.D. '56 AA) wanted to surprise his wife, Wanda (B.A. '68 AA), with something special. She learned at the kick-off that a curriculum laboratory is being established and named after her in the School of Education and Human Services.

Just two days before the kick-off, long-time friends of the Flint campus Al (B.B.A., M.B.A. '51 AA) and Barbara (B.A. '50 AA) Kogel also made a surprise leadership gift to the University.

The Zicks, Pipers, Dr. Gregg (B.S. '77, M.D. '81 AA) and Karen Pane, Michael and Gloria Rachor, Bill (B.B.A. '57, M.B.A. '65 AA) and Kitty (A.B.E.D. '58 AA) Moeller, and Ghassan and Manal Saab are co-chairs of the campaign.

Skivington acknowledged that while the campaign is off to a fine start, the second half will be the most important.

"The completion of the campaign over the next three years will be the result of developing a broad base of support by bringing in new supporters and advocates," Skivington said. "It's a wonderful opportunity to tell our story and the story of this community."

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