Fund-raising becoming more important for university presidents in Michigan
Detroit Free Press
January 3, 2012
When President Barack Obama wanted University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman to participate in a small group discussion about higher education issues, it was a reflection of her national stature.
When Coleman declined the invitation because she was already scheduled for two trips to Washington, D.C., it was a reflection of her busy schedule, mostly to raise money.
Increasingly, the U-M leader's schedule is being tied to fund-raising -- a necessary duty, she told the Free Press, because of recent cuts to state aid for U-M and Michigan's other public universities.
Coleman isn't alone among Michigan public university presidents in spending considerable time fund-raising.
Internal spending documents show the presidents of Oakland, Michigan State and Wayne State universities made about three dozen trips across the nation last school year, hoping to raise millions of dollars for their institutions. For example, half of MSU President Lou Anna Simon's 20 trips last school year were tied to development, financial records show.
U-M officials said they can't tie an exact amount of money coming in to Coleman's efforts. U-M raised $273.1 million last year in private giving. Through Nov. 30, the school has raised $78.6 million this school year, down slightly from the same time last year.