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Wayne State concludes first capital campaign with record-setting benchmark of nearly $900 million

February 2, 2009

Wayne First raises critical funds for student programs and scholarships, campus improvements and faculty research

Far surpassing its $500 million target, Wayne State University's Wayne First: The Campaign for Wayne State University, has raised nearly $900 million in the first-ever comprehensive fundraising effort in the institution's 140-year history. The seven year campaign concluded on Dec. 31, 2008. During a time of decreasing state appropriations to higher education and the resulting competition for philanthropic dollars, support for Wayne First has provided critical funding to enhance student resources, transform the campus environment and enrich the quality of Wayne State's academic and research programs.

The total raised represents more than 400,000 gifts from Wayne State alumni and friends, as well as donations from corporations and foundations. The campaign also helped encourage generosity from the university's faculty and staff, with more than $30 million in contributions from employees, six times their original goal.

"Wayne First was one of the most important endeavors undertaken in the history of Wayne State. The campaign has infused the university with greater resources and enabled us to showcase the quality and strength of our programs," said Wayne State University President Jay Noren. "The success of Wayne First has defined a more ambitious course for the future of this great institution.

"The campaign has strengthened the university's connection with the community, which is integral to Wayne State's continued efforts to serve its urban constituency. Furthermore, Wayne First has been a catalyst for the revitalization of Detroit, especially the Midtown area.

"Both the campaign and much of the university's transformation during the last decade can be attributed to the leadership of President Emeritus Irvin D. Reid."

Wayne State's tradition as a "university of opportunity" inspired many of the campaign contributors, who credit their personal and professional success to the education they received at Wayne State. In addition, more than 44,000 donors made their first gift to the university during the campaign. Among these new donors was Nick Labedz, who contributed more than $10 million, the largest individual gift in Wayne State's history. Mr. Labedz was the lead donor to the Richard J. Mazurek, M.D. Medical Education Commons, which will almost double the School of Medicine's classroom space and will feature the latest in teaching and learning technologies, giving Wayne State's students an edge in providing the finest quality health care services to the community.

The campaign is responsible for the development of several new academic and research facilities that house faculty scholars who have gained international prominence in areas that include biomedical research, automotive engineering, alternative energy and other emerging sectors. Examples include the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, where students use high-tech learning tools to prepare for health careers; the Marvin I. Danto Engineering Development Center, a state-of-the-art research environment where scientists will make revolutionary advances in nanotechnology and smart sensors; and the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, which will become the nucleus of civil rights education in Detroit.

Facility renovations made possible through Wayne First include: phase two of the A. Paul Schaap Chemistry Building overhaul, which supports Wayne State's chemistry department as a leading force in academic research and learning; the first floor of Alex Manoogian Hall, home to various academic units and the university's unique ethnic heritage rooms; and the restoration of McGregor Memorial Conference Center, one of Wayne State's signature buildings designed by famed architect Minoru Yamasaki, which serves as a gathering place for campus and community events, conferences, and private functions.

As a key driver of urban development in the city of Detroit, Wayne First also helped support the construction of South University Village, a commercial and residential complex that represents the first new market-rate apartment building in Detroit in more than three decades. South University Village is transforming Midtown by attracting not only students but also professionals as tenants, boosting the local economy.

"The success of the Wayne First campaign is unprecedented," said David Ripple, vice president for development and alumni affairs. "This campaign provided a platform for alumni,
staff and supporters across the university and throughout the community to express their pride and passion for this university, and make a positive impact on our collective future. Their contributions are a tangible demonstration of their strong relationship with Wayne State and will enhance the value of the university in the community for many years to come."

In addition to gifts and pledges toward construction or renovation of campus facilities, as well as other faculty and student initiatives, $83 million was added to the endowment to benefit the university in perpetuity through 256 new scholarships, 13 faculty chairs and professorships and 110 funds to support new instructional and research programs.

During the campaign, Wayne State also received an in-kind contribution of computer-based engineering tools valued at $407.8 million from Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE). The PACE program is a joint initiative of General Motors, Autodesk, EDS, Hewlett Packard, Siemens PLM Software and Sun Microsystems, who work together to support academic institutions worldwide with computer-based engineering tools to prepare students for careers in the emerging high tech and global economy.

"Wayne First is a real triumph for all the people and institutions Wayne State serves in Detroit, throughout Michigan and beyond," said President Noren. "It has assured our continued excellence and has served as a powerful force in continuing and accelerating Wayne State's national ranking among the top 50 major public research universities. The far-reaching effects of Wayne First will be felt well into the future as Wayne State moves to even higher levels of excellence in education and research."

Wayne State University is a premier institution of higher education offering more than 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 31,000 students.