25 years on, celebrating the impact of the Ford School Committee

December 27, 2016

First gathering

The Ford School Committee began to meet regularly in 1991. Known then as the Committee for IPPS (the Institute for Public Policy Studies, or IPPS, was the predecessor to the Ford School), the goal was to promote, and increase private support for, the school's students, research, and policy engagement.

The charge

"The last decade has brought a dramatic decrease in state support for higher education. IPPS must replace state revenues with private funds," wrote Director Ned Gramlich in IPPS News. "The Committee for IPPS, a distinguished group of people who value what IPPS does, will provide volunteer leadership for the first intensive fundraising ever undertaken by IPPS."

The evolution

In addition to providing philanthropic leadership, Ford School Committee members also work to raise the visibility of the school among public and private sector leaders. Committee members—who now include Ford School alumni, leaders in the realm of politics and policy, parents of our bachelor's students, and friends and family of President Gerald R. Ford—serve as school ambassadors, helping us build valuable new connections.

Supporting the school

From the start, Ford School Committee members have been extraordinarily generous in their support of school priorities. They have given to internship funds, scholarship funds, the building campaign, funds to attract visiting policymakers, and more.

Throughout the current campaign, Ford School Committee members have worked to dramatically expand resources for student support. They have launched several new endowed funds including, for example, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Fellowship. Through leadership gifts from the families of current and former Committee members Martin Allen, Hank Meijer (BA '73), Paul O'Neill, and campaign co-chairs Jim Hackett (BA '77) and Jim Hudak (MPP '71), the Ford School was able to award the inaugural Presidential Fellowship last fall. Fundraising efforts continue as the school seeks the resources required to award this prestigious fellowship annually.

"Importantly, Ford School Committee members are also making planned gifts to support students in the years ahead," says Susan Johnson, the Ford School's director of development. Bequests from Doug Brook (MPA '67), Michael Costa (MPP '82), David Fauri (BA '62, MPA ‘64), Jim Hudak (MPP '71), Ranny Riecker (HLLD '05), and Founding Ford School Committee Chair Mike Staebler (JD ‘69) will provide resources for scholarships, fellowships, and internship partnerships far into the future.

"Ford School Committee members have been vital partners for a quarter-century," says Susan M. Collins, Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy. "They were instrumental in our building campaign (p. 18). They have supported important faculty and staff initiatives—including professorships, career development activities, and public lectures—that will benefit our community far into the future. And they've dramatically expanded our resources for student internships, scholarships, and fellowships, even as state support for higher education has continued to decline in Michigan and across the U.S."



Ford School Committee

Below is a formatted version of this article from State & Hill, the magazine of the Ford School. View the entire Fall 2016 State & Hill here.