A new $5 million gift from the Patricia W. Mitchell Trusts supports University of Michigan students

A $5 million gift from the Patricia W. Mitchell Trusts will open new doors for University of Michigan students. 

Patricia and John Mitchell
Patricia and John Mitchell

The $2.5 million gift to the Stephen M. Ross School of Business will augment the John H. and Patricia W. Mitchell Scholarship Fund that was established in 2019 as part of the historic $5M commitment to Ross that created the Mitchell Program for Business Ethics and Communications. The first of its kind at Ross, the program is designed to bolster the development of ethical, diverse business leaders.  

“Student support is one of the areas of greatest need at Michigan Ross, so we are exceedingly grateful for this additional gift to the John H. and Patricia W. Mitchell Scholarship Fund, which was established at Ross last summer,” said Scott DeRue, the Edward J. Frey Dean at the Ross School of Business. “What’s more, with its focus on supporting a diverse community of students who are committed to ethical business practices and communications excellence, I am confident that the Mitchell Scholarship will help foster generations of ethically-minded business leaders who will make positive impacts in the world.”

The remaining $2.5 million gift from the Patricia W. Mitchell Trusts supports the LEAD Scholars program at the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan—the largest gift in LEAD’s decade-long history. The endowment will provide transformative support for the futures of underrepresented minority students who are LEAD Scholars.  

  • The John H. and Patricia W. Mitchell LEAD Scholarship Fund will provide support for students in the LEAD Scholars program interested in pursuing a career in entertainment, media, or business. 
  • The John H. and Patricia W. Mitchell Diversity Internship Fund will provide undergraduate internship support to LEAD Scholars who are interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment and media industries. The opportunities are meant to expose underrepresented minority students within the LEAD community to all aspects of the entertainment industry, including access to professionals in writing, production, and business operations. 
  • The John H. and Patricia W. Mitchell LEAD Scholars Community Fund will provide support for current programming, and new programming focused on better preparing current and future generations of students for leadership roles within the entertainment, media, and business industries. Scholars will have various opportunities to interact with experts and alumni of color within the entertainment industry.

The Alumni Association will match the gift and create three funds to support various components of the LEAD Scholars program—scholarship aid, professional development, and community engagement.

The gifts, announced by William C. Allen, trustee of the Patricia W. Mitchell Trusts, honor the legacy of Columbia Pictures Television Founder John H. Mitchell (AB ’39) and his wife, Patricia Mitchell and are part of $15 million in total contributions recently made by the Mitchell Trusts to U-M and the Alumni Association. It will continue their commitment to fostering ethical leadership, equal opportunities, and a diverse landscape within the film and television industry. 

John Mitchell was an entertainment industry executive who served as president of Columbia Pictures television division from 1968 to 1977. Under his leadership, more than 100 television programs were produced, including “The Flintstones” and “Bewitched.” He also produced the five-time Emmy-winning movie “Brian’s Song.” Mitchell went on to serve three terms as president of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences starting in the early 1980s.

As a proud alumnus, John Mitchell recognized the powerful role his U-M education played in preparing him for his own successful career in the entertainment industry. Allen says the couple wanted to give that same power to future generations of brilliant and creative minds. 

“John and Patricia mentored and supported many student interns during and after his time as president of the Television Academy in Hollywood,” said Allen. “They believed strongly in investing in the potential of promising young people like the LEAD Scholars to help them become future leaders in business and the creative industries.”

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