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Law School's Victors for Michigan Campaign Reaches Halfway Point

By Amy Spooner
September 21, 2015

Depending on your perspective, half of the Victors for Michigan campaign is over, or half of the Victors for Michigan campaign lies ahead. Either way, the campaign is right on track.

When the Law School publicly announced a $200 million campaign goal in November 2013, it was the most ambitious fundraising endeavor in the School's history. Now, almost two years later, more than $100 million has been given by alumni, students, and friends of Michigan Law. The silent phase of the campaign launched in 2011, so the $100 million total includes a $20 million gift from Charles T. Munger, HLLD '10, to renovate the Lawyers Club; a $5 million gift from Sam Zell, '66, to establish the Zell Entrepreneurship and Law Program; and the recent $5 million combined gift from Lisa and Chris Jeffries, '74, and the Himan Brown Charitable Trust to guarantee summer funding for first-year students. In addition, two professorships have been endowed through campaign gifts and six new clinics have been established.

"We all know that one of Michigan Law's greatest strengths is its loyal alumni community," said Dean Mark West. "It is an incredibly connected, enthusiastic group. And they prove time and time again that they are a very generous group, as well. We are so grateful for their support."

The previous fundraising campaign, Campaign for Michigan—Building On, raised more than $135 million, mostly in support of facilities projects that included the building of the Robert B. Aikens Commons and South Hall. With the Victors for Michigan campaign, the focus is on the people and programs that bring the buildings to life. The Law School's top campaign priority is student support, with a $70 million goal. To date, 46 new scholarships have been endowed through the Victors for Michigan campaign; significant gifts also have been made toward summer and post-graduate fellowships and the Loan Repayment Assistance Program. "Increasing the amount of resources devoted to student support at all stages of the law school experience allows us to continue to recruit top talent, and ensures that a Michigan Law education remains accessible to all qualified students. It also helps our students make career choices that are guided by their passions and talents, not by their debt load," Dean West said.

The $200 million overall goal is further broken down into a $40 million facilities goal; a $40 million program support goal; a $30 million goal for faculty and research support; and a $20 million goal for the Law School Fund, which annually provides the dean with vital resources to address the School's highest priorities and seize new opportunities. The Law School's campaign is part of a University-wide Victors for Michigan campaign that has a $4 billion goal.

Leading the campaign effort is the Development and Alumni Relations Committee, a group of alumni donors and volunteers who represent a wide range of graduation years, geographic locations, and career paths. The committee is chaired by John Nannes, '73, of Washington, D.C., who previously endowed the Nannes 3L Challenge to support student organizations and to encourage alumni giving to the Law School. "It is an honor to lead the Law School's Victors for Michigan campaign, and I am excited by the possibilities that the next phase of the campaign presents," said Nannes. "The progress we've made so far is great, but there is a lot of work still to be done. We will need the support of all alumni in order to achieve our goal."

Learn more about the Victors for Michigan campaign and ways that you can give.

Read more feature stories.