New York City Real Estate Developer Stephen M. Ross Gives $100 Million to University of Michigan Business School
ANN ARBOR, Mich. New York City real estate developer Stephen M. Ross, BBA '62, has provided a gift of $100 million to the University of Michigan Business School. It is the largest donation ever to a U.S. business school and the largest gift to U-M in its 187-year history. In recognition of the power of the gift to elevate the school's aspirations and realize its ambitious vision, the U-M Board of Regents met in a special session today to rename the school the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
"The extraordinary generosity of Stephen Ross will make it possible for us to build our future as the top business school in the nation," said Robert J. Dolan, dean of the Business School.
"Our vision is to be the best at educating leaders for the world of business by giving them an experience that combines rigorous intellectual preparation with results-oriented practice.
"Our distinctive program is limited only by facilities that simply do not do justice to Michigan's team-based, collaborative educational approach. State-of-the-art facilities will make a critical difference in our ability to recruit faculty and students in a highly competitive arena. Stephen Ross' gift will enable us to create an even more exciting learning environment, accommodate future growth, and provide an integrated look and feel to our facilities.
"As part of our planning, we will create more formal and informal group study space, especially the types of areas that foster team-based activity, along with gathering spaces for faculty and student interaction. The gift also will significantly expand our endowment, with funds to be used for innovative, interdisciplinary programs that further distinguish the school as a leader in business education," Dolan said.
Intensive planning for the academic program and facilities needs is underway, Dolan said, and the school hopes to bring a specific project proposal to the U-M Board of Regents for approval later this year.
Ross, who earned his degree in accounting from the Michigan Business School, is founder, chairman and chief executive officer of The Related Companies, L.P., developer of the $1.7 billion, 2.8 million-square-foot Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle in New York City. The company's real estate portfolio, valued in excess of $8 billion, makes it one of the most prominent real estate developers in the country. The Related Companies is also the largest shareholder in CharterMac, the country's largest financier of affordable housing in the United States, with approximately 250,000 units in 44 states.
"The days I spent at U-M laid the foundation for my career, and made it possible for me to build the kind of business that The Related Companies has become," Ross said. "The quality of U-M's people and education has always made me proud to be a part of the institution. I've had a terrific, continuing relationship with U-M, not the least of which has been my affiliation with my fellow alumni, Jorge Perez, Jeff Blau and Michael Brenner, three outstanding members of our management team.
"It is gratifying for me to be able to provide a gift that will have an enduring impact on the University's ability to be the world's foremost business school. I am giving what I know bestfine, functional and aesthetic facilities that make it possible for people to do their best work. I am delighted to help create the exceptional learning environment that will enhance the dean's impressive vision for team-based learning and leadership. I have great hopes that it will become a campus landmark of the 21st century."
U-M President Mary Sue Coleman hailed the gift and its impact on The Michigan Difference, the University's $2.5 billion fund-raising campaign, of which Ross is a co-chair.
"Stephen Ross displays the depth of his long-time commitment to the U-M with this extraordinary gift, the largest in the University's 187-year history," Coleman said. "His breathtaking generosity places him in the tradition of the great philanthropists of the University of Michigan, such as Horace and Mary Rackham of the Graduate School and William W. Cook of the Law School, whose gifts have endured to change the lives of generations of students and faculty.
"Stephen Ross has served as an active volunteer for more than 20 years, and the University values his contribution, his perspective as a member of the President's Advisory Group and of the Director's Cabinet in the Department of Collegiate Athletics, and his countless hours dedicated to U-M. We extend to him our most sincere thanks for his gift, his service as a lifetime partner of U-M, and the tremendous momentum that he imparts to The Michigan Difference."
Ross' previous philanthropy to the University includes a $5 million lead gift toward funding of a new athletic academic center. He donated $1 million to establish an endowed professorship in real estate at the Business School and $50,000 to establish the Henry Pearce Endowed Fellowship in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. He also inspired the annual Real Estate Forum in the Business School.
Ross earned a law degree from Wayne State University in 1965 and a master of law degree in taxation from New York University in 1966. He began his career as a tax attorney at Coopers & Lybrand in Detroit and went on to become assistant vice president in the real estate subsidiary of Laird Inc. in New York City and the corporate finance department of Bear, Stearns & Co.
His many civic activities include serving on the executive committee of NYC2012, New York's initiative to bring the summer Olympic Games to New York City eight years from now. As trustee of the Guggenheim Museum, Ross is involved in the planning for a major renovation of the iconic structure designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and other new museums. He is a member of the executive committee and board of directors of the Real Estate Board of New York, a trustee of the National Building Museum and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and long-time supporter of the United Jewish Appeal (UJA)-Federation of New York. Ross and his partners in Time Warner Center contributed $60 million to build the core and shell of the 100,000 square-foot new home for Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Among the many awards Ross has received are the Jack D. Weiler Award from the UJA of New York in 2003 and the New York Building Congress 80th Anniversary Leadership Award in 2001. He was named the 2001 honoree for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's annual Promise Ball and earlier that year he received the Henry Pearce Award from the Jewish Association of Services for the Aged. Ross was named Owner & Developer of the Year by New York Construction News in 2000. In 1999, he was honored by the Lincoln Center Real Estate and Construction Council and received the "What New York Needs" award presented by The Doe Fund Inc. Ross received the Tree of Life Award in 1998 in recognition of outstanding community involvement and devotion to peace and the security of human life.
Education, Michigan Style
The University of Michigan Business School is a premier education institution at one of the finest research universities in the world. At its core is a deep commitment to general management principles and the pursuit of intellectual capital with impact.
The school offers a rich, flexible curriculum and intense action-based learning that bridges theory and practice. Michigan bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in business are based on the belief that true leaders need a strong foundation of business fundamentals to thoroughly understand an entire organization and be capable of adapting to any business challenge.
The school's commitment to combining theory and practice is evident in the classroom, clubs and service organizations, and action-based learning programs, including Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP), the largest program of its kind in the nation and a requirement for first-year MBAs. Each year more than 400 students participate in the seven-week immersion program that puts them to work as teams of consultants whose job it is to solve real business problems with corporations, nonprofits and start-ups in the United States and abroad.
In 1998, for example, a MAP team developed the framework for introducing General Motors' Volunteer Plus program, by which the automaker donates money to nonprofit organizations for which GM employees have provided at least 50 hours of volunteer service. A 2003 MAP team followed up by developing plans to expand General Motors' volunteer program internationally.
Another Michigan MAP team drew on lessons learned in human resources, finance and marketing to evaluate revenue-generating ideas for the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance, a driving school located in Chandler, Ariz. Team member Lisa Mazzoni said, "MAP is an opportunity to take what we learn in the classroom and make it understandable to a client."