Specially targeted gifts benefit students, help push Eastern Michigan's campaign past the $40 million mark

by Pamela Young, Published March 04, 2011

Susan Souder literally grew up on Eastern Michigan University's campus.

Her father was a long-time chemistry professor at Eastern and as a child she participated in numerous campus events. She also attended Roosevelt High School, which was on campus.

Souder took her Eastern experience even further when she made a $50,000 pledge to Eastern in memory of her parents, Clark and Avis Spike, to benefit student research in chemistry.

Souder's commitment, as well as donations from alumni, faculty, students, staff and supporters, has helped Eastern's "Invest. Inspire." comprehensive campaign hit an important milestone - $40 million of its $50 million goal.  The campaign is the largest in Eastern's 163-year history.

"I'm very proud that we have nearly reached our goal, especially in a challenging economy," said President Susan Martin. "Thanks to the generous support of our alumni and supporters, this campaign allows us to continue developing resources and programs to train our students to be key contributors in shaping Michigan's future."

Eastern officially kicked off the public phase of the comprehensive campaign April 19, 2010, when Martin announced a fundraising goal of $50 million to raise money for scholarships, academic programs, faculty, facilities and endowments.

The "Invest.Inspire." campaign focuses on developing key leaders for the 21st century, connecting learning to community needs, and sustaining and strengthening the Eastern experience, according to Thomas Stevick, vice president for advancement and executive director of the Eastern Michigan University Foundation.

"A number of corporations and foundations have contributed to move our total past $40 million, including the Kresge Foundation and American Electric Power Foundation, which contributed funds for new science equipment," said Stevick.

Engineering Technology Associates, a firm specializing in structural analysis for the auto industry, recently donated mechanical engineering software and in-depth training, valued at $300,000, to EMU's College of Technology," said Stevick.

Other recent donors include Jeffrey Connelly, a former EMU Foundation Trustee and 1971 graduate, who established two scholarships, totaling $40,000, to help commuter students. EMU Foundation Emeritus Trustee Ed Jakeway ('58) and his wife, Suzanne, pledged $25,000 toward the purchase of new band uniforms.

"In addition, more than 43 percent of EMU's faculty and staff have also contributed to this achievement," Stevick said.

Several noteworthy gifts or commitments include:

  • $2.2 million from the Jean Noble Parsons estate to establish the Jean Noble Parsons Center for the Study of Art and Science located in Traverse City. This was the largest estate gift in Eastern's history.
  • A $1.5 million planned gift from former regent Timothy Dyer, ('61, '65), for the establishment of the Dr. Timothy J. Dyer Distinguished Interdisciplinary Chair in Forensics/Debate and Human Rights.
  • A $1.2 million bequest from George Cogar, ('74,'77) and his wife, Darlene Shaw, to benefit need-based scholarships.
  • A $1 million pledge and gifts from track alumnus Dan McClory ('81,'82) and his wife, Florentina, to benefit men's and women's track and field/cross country.
  • An anonymous $500,000 pledge to the College of Business.
  • Eastern's Women in Philanthropy group has raised more than $120,000 in gifts and pledges to date, and recently awarded $41,000 in grants and awards to benefit students.

The University began the comprehensive campaign with an organizational and planning phase in 2005. In July 2006, a quiet period began, in which the University sought large donations to get the campaign off to a strong start.

Rodney Slater, former secretary of transportation in the Clinton Administration and an EMU graduate, is campaign chair. Slater was a scholar-athlete, a member of the national champion forensics team and a captain of the football team for Eastern Michigan in the 1970s. He is currently a partner with the Washington, D.C., law firm of Patton Boggs, LLP.

Co-chairs are Dale Heydlauff ('78) vice president for corporate communications at American Electric Power in Columbus, Ohio and Jaclynn Tracy ('74,'77,'79) department head and professor of leadership and counseling at Eastern.

For more information about the "Invest. Inspire." campaign, visit www.emufoundation.org




Pamela Young

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