Medical School, Chinese studies program recieve $50-million donation

By Jennifer Calfas, Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 5, 2013

And the gifts keep on rolling in.

Early Wednesday, the University announced that Richard and Susan Rogel donated $50 million to the University’s Medical School and the Center for Chinese Studies.

The gift will provide $30 million for scholarships at the Medical School and $10 million to support faculty, students and programs of the Center for Chinese Studies. The remaining $10 million will benefit future initiatives.

The Rogels’ gift comes just days before the launch the Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign on Nov. 8, which will focus on development of student support. The campaign is slated to run through 2018.

“Rich and his wife Susan share our commitment to making it possible for extraordinary students to immerse themselves in their studies and research, and prepare for high-impact careers, without regard to cost or future debt,” University President Mary Sue Coleman said in a statement.

Richard Rogel, who graduated as valedictorian in 1970 from what is now the Ross School of Business, has served in a number of corporate leadership roles during his career as an investor and business leader. He previously served as chairman and chief executive officer of the Preferred Provider Organization of Michigan, a health insurance firm he founded in 1982 and sold in 1997.

Rogel is currently a member of the University of Michigan Health System Advisory Group and will serve as the vice chair for the Victors for Michigan campaign. He will lead the Health System’s campaign work and spearhead the overall effort for student support.

In his position as vice chair, Richard Rogel will work with Stephen Ross, the namesake of the Business school and chair of the campaign. The Victors for Michigan campaign’s diverse goals will prioritize raising at least $1 billion for student support, funding for basic and applied research, finding new models of engaged learning and addressing pressing global issues.

“This University gave me so much, and Susan and I want to give back in ways that will make a difference to students and the Health System as a whole,” Rogel said in a statement. “With this gift, and my new role in the upcoming campaign, we hope to do our part to help all patients, now and tomorrow, who will be touched by the Health System's care, discoveries and innovative minds.”

Susan Rogel has previously worked on the Alumni Association’s campaign committee and the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital’s Leadership Team. She is also a member of the Victors for Michigan campaign’s steering committee. The campaign’s overall goal will be announced at a press conference Thursday.

The donation brings the Rogels’ lifetime total gifts to the University to nearly $76 million. In 2000, the Rogels created a $22-million scholarship for out-of-state students, helping support nearly 500 students' tuition.

In an interview with The Michigan Daily last week, Richard Rogel said support scholarships has grown tremendously as compared to the past. He also had an optimistic outlook for the upcoming Victors for Michigan campaign, which will be formally rolled out at events on Thursday and Friday.

“I just think this is going to be very successful, and I just don't see that much in the way of challenges,” Rogel said. “I see the need for the campaign as a challenge. We have a need to keep the University of Michigan great — and one of the major ways we’re going to do it is through this campaign.”

Richard Rogel served as chair of the Michigan Difference fundraising campaign, which ran from 2004 through 2008. The Michigan Difference raised more than $3.2 billion for the University — a record among public school campaigns. The total included 1,969 scholarships and $519 million for student support.

“When you bring out the students and show how, number one, how important the scholarships are, and number two, how bright and energetic the students are, it’s a very easy sell,” Rogel said last week.

Ora Pescovitz, the University’s executive vice president for medical affairs, said in a statement that the gift will help the Medical School transform medicine in clinical care, education and medical discovery.

The gift to the Chinese Studies program will help expand the center’s offerings in history, literature, politics and economics, among other areas of study, according to Interim LSA Dean Susan Gelman. It will also allow the program to partner with peer academics in China to enhance the program’s collaboration opportunities for faculty and students.

The Rogels’ donation is the latest leadership gift in the run-up to the Victors for Michigan launch.

In September, Stephen Ross donated $200 million — the University’s largest gift ever — to benefit his namesake school and the University’s Athletic Department. In April, the University received a $110-million donation from Charles Munger, the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, to build a graduate-student residence hall at Division and Madison streets.

The Zell Family Foundation granted $50 million in March to the LSA Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program — the largest in the college’s history — to provide resources for the program to ease the financial burden for its students.

Additionally, the Frankel family gave a total of $50 million to the University’s Cardiovascular Center — with $25 million in 2007 and another $25 million in March.

On Friday, the University’s fundraising campaign kick-off will start with a Community Festival from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Ingalls Mall, the main event in Hill Auditorium from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and an after-party until 10 p.m.

—Daily News Editor Peter Shahin contributed to this report.