Stephen Ross Donates $200 M. to Alma Mater


Real estate scion and billionaire Stephen Ross is giving $200 million to his alma mater at the University of Michigan following a pledge earlier this year to give away half of his wealth.

(Photo: Forbes)
(Photo: Forbes)

The gift, split evenly between the School of Business and U-M Athletics, is the largest in the school’s history and makes Mr. Ross its biggest lifetime donor, at $313 million.

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“The University of Michigan had a profound impact on my life and I have received enormous satisfaction from being able to give back to the institution that played such a critical role in my success,” Mr. Ross said, in a prepared statement.

“I am thrilled to be able to make such an impactful contribution and to not only help write the next chapter for the University, but also offer much-needed scholarships to ensure we continue to attract the best and the brightest students and provide them with the financial resources they need.”

The money will support the 6,000 students who take courses at the U-M Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the 900-plus student athletes in all sports.

“Stephen Ross’ vision has always been about the ability of facilities to transform the human experience,” said U-M President Mary Sue Coleman, in a statement. “He understands the power of well-conceived spaces, and his generosity will benefit generations of Michigan students, faculty and coaches.”

In 2004, Ross gave $100 million toward a new building (completed in 2009) and endowed operations for the business school, which was renamed in recognition of his gift.

A previous $5 million gift created the Stephen M. Ross Academic Center, which provides study space on the athletic campus. Another $5 million went to the stadium expansion project and $50,000 to the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts for the Henry Pearce Endowed Scholarship.

Mr. Ross, worth $4.4 billion and the chairman and founder of Related Companies, joined The Giving Pledge earlier this year, pledging to donate half his wealth.

Geared towards billionaires, the elite club is made up of a total 114 signatories, with members who range in age from 28 to 97 and come from diverse business backgrounds, including technology, real estate, apparel and finance.  They represent ten countries, 23 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Related’s 15-million-square-foot Hudson Yards development project broke ground in December.