Fund Raising

Western Michigan U. Receives $100-Million Gift for Medical School

March 22, 2011

Western Michigan University received on Tuesday a pledge for a $100-million cash gift—the largest in Michigan's history and one of the 10 largest cash gifts made to a public university in the United States—to open a medical school at the regional institution.

The gift came from from multiple anonymous donors. Western Michigan would not verify how many donors had contributed to the total gift amount, or whether the donors were related to one another.

The new medical school, which has been in the planning stages since 2007, is expected to open in the next two or three years. The university is developing the school in partnership with Borgess Health and Bronson Healthcare, two nearby hospitals in Kalamazoo, Mich. Officials decided early on that the school would be privately financed, according to a news release, and in 2009 Western Michigan received a $1.8-million gift to aid in planning the medical school.

"We've known for some time that this is the right time and place to launch a medical school for the 21st century," Western Michigan's president, John M. Dunn, announced at a news conference. He added that the new medical school would start its formal campaign for private support later this year. "This gift marks a seminal moment, but we are not finished. We have more work to do," he said.

Western Michigan submitted a letter of intent in 2010 to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the accrediting body for medical schools in the United States and Canada, and was granted applicant status. Mr. Dunn said in the news conference that the donors' support of the new school endorses "a vision that will transform this community."