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Alumni and Friends

There are many ways you can stay connected to our Physics Department.

Generous donations from our alumni and friends of the program have helped the Physics Department achieve the prestige that is associated with it today. Currently ranked 11th in the United States, we are striving to become the nation’s premier department of physics. In order to achieve this goal, it is important that we establish a secure base of funding that allows us to excel in the areas of physics that we practice and that provides an incisive and enriching education to our students. The aid from our donors has gone towards recruiting the best faculty and students to our department, developing new and academically rigorous programs, and funding ground-breaking research conducted by our faculty and students. Our department would like to thank those of you who have donated, who are considering donating, and all others who have continued to support the Physics program throughout the years. Please help us continue to build our department by viewing the areas of need below:

Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics

The Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics (MCTP) at the University of Michigan is uniquely positioned to take a leadership role in the search for answers to the large questions in physics. The answers to these fundamental questions deepen our understanding of the physical universe at the most basic level. While a great deal has already been achieved, much more remains to be done. Outside funding is essential if the MCTP is to grow and evolve. Endowed support is especially important, since these permanently invested philanthropic gifts enable the Center to support discovery and innovation in a wide range of forms. MCTP can be endowed and named for $10 million. Those who wish to be part of this exciting endeavor have a number of other options available to them as well. Expendable support ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 is needed for the following initiatives:

  • Month-long workshops convened by experts from around the world ($30,000-$50,000)
  • Post-doctoral fellowships, 2-3 needed ($100,000 each)
  • Scholarships & graduate student support, 2-3 needed ($12,000 each)
  • Undergraduate summer research programs, 6 needed ($2,000 each)
  • National and international conferences ($100,000)
  • Visiting faculty ($10,000 per visitor)
  • Outreach ($10,000)

Named Endowed Professorship

Endowed professorships have long been recognized as both a hallmark of academic quality and a means by which a university honors its most esteemed scholars and teachers. Professorships are reserved for scholars of international stature with highly distinguished records of teaching, research, and publication. They constitute a time-honored way to recruit or retain scholars with exceptional records of achievement. The Physics Department needs approximately $2 million to continue honoring these professors.

Undergraduate Scholarships

Scholarships are essential if Physics is going to recruit the best students to Michigan and continue to enhance the quality of its program. Funding for tuition support for both in-state and non-resident students is especially critical to ensure excellence and a diverse community of students. Although an endowment ensures a scholarship in perpetuity, an expendable gift to cover these tuition or living costs on a yearly basis is also of great value. An endowed gift of $100,000 will provide $5,000 annually toward tuition for a student.

Saturday Morning Physics - Spring Season

Each Saturday, this popular program draws over three hundred children and adults from southeastern Michigan to learn about the mysteries and wonders of physics. UM professors from several departments present topics ranging from black holes to astrophysics, from MRI technology to human genetics. Multimedia demonstrations, hands-on experiments, and audience participation make the mornings a lively give and- take between professor and audience. The 6-8 week spring season builds on the success of the program run each fall. An endowment of $500,000 would allow the spring season to continue in perpetuity. It costs the Department $25,000 annually to produce the spring season, which includes professional videotaping of the sessions for distribution on public television.

Graduate and Post-doctoral Fellowships

Proceeds from this endowment would provide a full stipend and tuition for a Physics graduate student or a stipend and research start-up assistance to support a post-doctoral fellow. Because so many graduate students are recruited according to the Department's broad research strengths, this endowment will enable the Department to recruit talented young scientists to pursue research work in specific, targeted areas of physics. An endowment of $750,000 to $1 million will provide flexibility for the student and strengthen the Department's ability to recruit and retain top-notch scientists.

Department Strategic Fund

Expendable, undesignated gifts are extraordinarily important to the continuing success and growth of the Department. Contributions of up to $100,000 to the Strategic Fund make it possible to meet unexpected needs and challenges such as:

  • Seed funding for new faculty research
  • Curriculum development
  • Purchase or repair of major instruments for the research and teaching labs ($50,000 per year)
  • Summer research opportunities for undergraduates
  • Conferences highlighting the Department's scholarship ($25,000 per conference)
  • Student activities and clubs

Read about all of our campaign funding priorities.

Donate online to the Physics Department, or call 734.647.6179 or 888.518.7888 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

Please remember that credit card gifts can only receive tax credit in the same calendar year the donation was processed.

Keep In Touch!

There are many ways to keep in touch with the Physics Department. Whether you are a recent graduate or not, our department would love to hear from you. We are especially interested hearing feedback and stories about your experiences as a student of the department and how your education has helped you succeed in your field. Send us a note to say hello or to share something about yourself, update your information with the department, and visit our Events page for information about upcoming events that might interest you.

Special Alumni

The University of Michigan Physics Department has been home to many excellent educators and students throughout the years. Graduates from our department have gone on to work in various places and do many great things. Below we have featured some notable graduates who have used their education and experiences from the physics department to make their mark on the world.

Interview with alumna, Christine Orme (Ph.D. '95)

For More Information

Carol Rabuck
Communications & Development Contact
University of Michigan
2484B Randall Lab
450 Church Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1040
Bradford Orr
Professor of Physics, Chair
University of Michigan
2477 Randall Lab
450 Church Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1040

Read about all of our campaign funding priorities.