Eastern Michigan University Announces $100M Fundraising Campaign

Eastern Michigan University has launched the public phase of the largest fundraising campaign in school history on Wednesday.
Eastern Michigan University campus
Eastern Michigan University has launched its $100 million Give Rise fundraising campaign, the largest in its history. // Photo courtesy of Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University has launched the public phase of the largest fundraising campaign in school history on Wednesday.

With a goal of $100 million, the “Give Rise” campaign seeks to support student success, academic programming, and out-of-classroom experiences at the public college located in Ypsilanti Township. The campaign will also help address immediate needs of students with the ongoing pandemic.

“The pandemic has disrupted the education of students throughout the world and right here in Michigan,” says James Smith, president of Eastern. “Give Rise will help us address the disruption by providing additional resources to help students get back on track and overcome the challenges presented by the pandemic. There couldn’t be a more important time to launch the public phase of this campaign.”

The campaign was announced to internal audiences last month, and nearly three-quarters of the goal has been met, with the university raising more than $70 million over the last four years. GameAbove, a group of EMU alumni, gave a series of gifts that resulted in the engineering and technology college being named after the group.

“We have received outstanding support from our EMU alumni and friends,” says Bill Shepard, vice president for advancement and the executive director of the EMU Foundation. “Philanthropy is one of the key ways that members of the Eastern Michigan University community can pave the way and impact lives for generations to come.”

Dann Florek, an actor known for his appearances on “Law and Order,” co-hosted the internal announcement with his wife, artist Karen Florek. Having met while both students at the school, the couple has been named honorary co-chairs of the campaign.

School officials and public figures also attended the virtual launch. Smith; Connie Ruhl-Smith, the provost; and Rhonda Longworth, executive vice president of academic and student affairs; were all in attendance.

T.J. Lang, an alum who played for the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers, also was in attendance. He has been named an honorary co-chair with the Floreks.

School leaders are hopeful the campaign will allow the school to build on its academic offerings and build up support for moving beyond college into the workforce. Molly Luempert-Coy, chair of the EMU Foundation board of trustees and regional manager at DTE Energy, says she will be supporting a program by working to endow a scholarship for the school’s Undergraduate Symposium.

“Eastern Michigan University has made a difference in the lives of thousands of people,” says Luempert-Coy. “‘Give Rise’ will extend our reach to support new students and help engage them in our distinctive programs that will help guide them to career success.”

Eastern enrolled just over 16,000 students in the fall 202 semester — a decline of about 5,000 from 2016, a trend seen by many Michigan colleges as college enrollment numbers fall across the state. Estimated in-state tuition is $12,116 for the 2021-2022 academic year.

More information on the campaign is available here.

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