A group of Eastern Michigan University alumni have formed a group called GameAbove and announced an initial gift of $3.5 million to the Ypsilanti school.
The group, made up of alumni with various academic and professional backgrounds, says its donation is geared to support faculty development as well as the academic and program needs of current and future students. The group includes former EMU student-athletes, current entrepreneurs and successful businesspeople, EMU Athletic Hall of Famers, and select EMU coaches.
The lump-sum cash gift provides the platform for two new initiatives: Faculty First and Students Matter Most. GameAbove is designating $2 million to support all levels of EMU faculty (assistant, associate, and full professors) across all five academic colleges (Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; and, Health and Human Services) and the University Library by providing additional resources for faculty development and retention. The additional $1.5 million is focused on students.
“It is our intent to help the University support faculty development and to offer a clear focus on research, entrepreneurship, creative work, and innovation when it comes to education and investment in our faculty and students alike,” saya Denis Wolcott, spokesperson for GameAbove. “We have a long-range vision to sustain and enhance the high-achieving uniqueness that is EMU.
“Eastern’s faculty had a significant positive impact on all GameAbove founders and advisory members. Our goal is to give back in many ways, from supporting the incredible and respected faculty at Eastern to enhancing the learning experience and contributing to the university’s next era of innovation.”
GameAbove, according to Wolcott, will be focused on supporting and funding other key EMU programs and initiatives including enhancing athletic programs, creating state-of-the-art student facilities, and providing entrepreneurial and innovation support for students.
“Eastern Michigan University is very grateful both for this initial and substantial gift as well as the long-range vision from GameAbove to support the university in many innovative ways,” says Rhonda Longworth, provost of EMU. “We look forward to a very collaborative effort from these grateful alumni.”
The Faculty First initiative will support a broad range of activities, including but not limited to: Reassigned time from teaching for scholarly, creative, and innovative endeavors; conference presentations; travel; hiring of research assistants; purchase of special equipment or supplies for teaching, scholarly, research, creative, or innovative activities; development of a grant proposal for external funding; and, similar or related academic activities.
The Students Matter Most initiative will focus on providing financial resources for learning clubs, intramural sports, student government, and student organization priorities, as well as solutions for student homelessness and housing insecurity, among other near-term needs.
Under gift parameters provided by GameAbove, the Office of the Provost in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs will administer the faculty and student programs.