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Focus: Scholarships, Facilities, Curriculum, Faculty & Research Support

The University of Michigan School of Dentistry has set a goal to raise $35 million during the University’s Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign. The School’s effort is part of a larger U-M goal to raise $4 billion, the largest fundraising effort in the history of public higher education, before the campaign ends in 2018.

Dean Laurie McCauley announced the School’s goal during a special combined meeting of its Campaign Committee and Alumni Society Board of Governors on November 8. The School’s $35 million goal includes the following objectives:

"The dental schools that will be successful in the future are those that continually embrace change."
Dean McCauley

  • Scholarship and Fellowship Support: $11.0 million
  • Clinical Facilities Support: $18.0 million
  • Curriculum Support: $1.0 million
  • Faculty Support: $1.5 million
  • Research Support: $1.5 million
  • Discretionary Support: $2.0 million

“Financial support for students is a top priority for our School, just as it is for the University,” McCauley said. “Without exception, the students I talk to tell me they want to make a difference. We can help them do that by providing scholarship support and financial aid that will enable them to focus their time and energy on a demanding educational program,” she said. “We must provide the tools they need to make that difference, whether it’s in their communities, across our state or around the world.”

Transforming Dental Education

McCauley gave the School’s Campaign Committee and Board of Governors an outline of recent achievements and forward-looking ideas designed to help the School remain a leader in dental education.

Achievements she cited included the new Pathways curriculum that allows students to build on their interests in leadership, health care delivery and research. She also mentioned other initiatives including case-based learning, evidence-based dental education and clinical care, and interprofessional education.

Focusing on the future, McCauley said that strategic planning is underway. “The results of our efforts are focused on having our School transform dental education by anticipating and meeting the needs of an evolving oral health care environment,” she said.

Citing important changes in the curriculum and how students are committed to improving the oral health of others, McCauley said the School’s approach to dental education continues to evolve. She mentioned innovations in classroom and clinical education, patient care, community-based dental education and research.

“Because of the educational and research efforts here at Michigan, there will be a significant change in how patients are cared for in dental practices within the next ten years. Our students must be prepared for that.” She said it’s important for the School to adapt to the changing landscape “because the dental schools that will be successful in the future are those that continually embrace change.”

Financial Aid

"These goals will help define the School for the next 50 years."
Jeff Freshcorn, Director of Development and Campaign Director

Dr. Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch, associate dean for Academic Affairs, said since the dental curriculum now spans almost the entire year, dental students are unable to work even part-time to earn money toward paying for their education.

“We’re also limited with the financial aid we can provide to our students,” she said. “We aren’t able to provide full scholarships, and fewer than 30 percent of our students receive a scholarship or fellowship.” The level of debt for dental students who graduated from U-M in 2013 averaged $191,000. Generating scholarship support during the campaign will be vitally important in helping ease the debt burdens of students.

The School’s Campaign Committee has set a goal of raising $11 million for student aid. Among the nucleus fund gifts was a generous commitment from the Roberts Family Foundation. Their gift of $1.5 million for scholarships includes $500,000 designated for an endowed dental student scholarship. This portion qualifies for U-M President Mary Sue Coleman’s “Scholarship Challenge” that matches 25 cents for every dollar gifted for endowed scholarships ranging from $100,000 to $1 million.

According to Richard Fetchiet, executive director of Alumni Relations and Development, approximately $3.7 million has already been raised for student support.

Clinical Renovations

Dr. Stephen Stefanac, associate dean for Patient Services, said there is an urgent need to upgrade the School’s clinical facilities. He said predental students “have about 79 square feet of space available to work compared to about 120 square feet in clinics at other dental schools.” The need for additional space, he added, is the result of a more collaborative approach to teaching dental students how to care for patients as well as the use of new technology in the clinics.

Stefanac also said the School must accommodate patients with special needs since demand for oral health care services for these patients is expected to grow in the future. He said the School must provide an environment where students learn how to care for this special group so they can also apply their skills after they graduate.

Slightly more than $1 million has been raised for clinical renovation support in the School’s fundraising efforts to date.

Important for the School’s Future

Jeff Freshcorn, director of development and campaign director, emphasized that the importance of all the School’s fundraising goals during the Victors for Michigan campaign. “These goals will help define the School for the next 50 years,” he said.

“The School is grateful for the $7.7 million that has been raised during a two-year ‘silent phase’ of the campaign,” Freshcorn said. “This campaign offers an incredible opportunity for the School of Dentistry and its benefactors to make a commitment to the dental practitioners and patients of tomorrow. With the help of alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students, we will excel, innovate and lead as we shape the future of dentistry.”

For more information about contributing to the Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign, contact the Office of Alumni Relations and Development at (734) 763-3315 or visit the campaign Web site:

Victors for Michigan