Stephen M. Ross Academic Center Dedication
November 18, 2005
This is, of course, the start of a very special and spirited weekend at Michigan because of our historic rivalry with Ohio State. I can think of no better time to dedicate this facility, because the academic accomplishments of our students are as important to us as any championship title.
Just this week, we announced that 29 U-M students have been awarded Fulbright fellowships — more than any university in the country. That’s an achievement that deserves a championship banner somewhere!
And our student-athletes continually prove they are the leaders and the best in the classroom. I am particularly proud that 185 U-M student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors last year, including five who were named Academic All-Americans.
The Stephen M. Ross Academic Center is an important commitment that builds upon the classroom achievements of our student-athletes.
To our donors, your support of this beautiful facility makes an important mark on our campus and — more significantly — on the lives of our students. You have provided them with the space to study, to collaborate, and to excel — and any student will tell you just how important that is to succeeding in the classroom.
I want to thank Ranny and John Riecker and the Towsley Foundation, and Don and Ingrid Graham for their leadership in making this Center a reality.
And I especially want to commend and thank Steve and Kara Ross for their tremendous commitment to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the University.
From where we sit today, the Ross Academic Center rubs shoulders with two facilities that honor important legacies of Michigan — those of Fielding Yost and Marie Hartwig.
Fielding Yost set the standard for athletic and academic standards at Michigan, and Marie Hartwig was known for her unwavering dedication to the welfare of our student-athletes. That the Ross Academic Center resides between Yost Ice Arena and the Marie Hartwig Building says a great deal about our academic values and our commitment to our students — those who are here today and those to come in the future.
Today would not be possible without the support and leadership of Steve Ross.
For those who don’t know him, Steve is an alumnus of Michigan with a degree in accounting — an education that I believe has contributed to his phenomenal success as founder, chairman and CEO of The Related Companies in New York City.
Steve is a co-chair of The Michigan Difference campaign to raise $2.5 billion for our students and faculty. He is leading by example with his extraordinary support of the Ross School of Business, the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and the Athletic Department,
He is a valued advisor to me and to Bill Martin, as a member of the President’s Advisory Group and the Director’s Cabinet in the Athletic Department.
Above all else, Steve is a diehard believer in the University of Michigan and its power to transform the lives of our students. Please join me in welcoming, and thanking, Steve Ross.