Spring 2023 Special Edition
Spring 2023 Special Edition
Spring 2023 Special Edition


Leaders & Best shares stories that celebrate Michigan’s philanthropic spirit and impact on our world.

Mighty Michigan Women
Their vision and generosity is blazing a trail for future leaders


The remarkable impact of women’s philanthropy at Michigan is far and wide, from the campaign to build the Michigan League in the 1920s to recent transformational gifts to the arts, STEM scholarships, women in finance initiatives, and more. This support not only equips female leaders for future leadership at Michigan, it bolsters women’s contributions to shaping U-M programs and priorities. With Women’s History Month underway, Leaders & Best spoke with philanthropists Mary Petrovich (BSEIO ’85) and Teresa Sebastian (BGS ’78) about why women’s philanthropy matters, what inspires them to give, and what they envision for the future.

“We’re moving women up in terms of status and visibility, and as those things happen, the philanthropic endeavors and opportunities will continue to grow,” Petrovich said.

Vintage photo of a crowd gathered around the foundation of the Michigan League as the cornerstone is set in place.

 Three members of the adaptive sports basketball team maneuver wheelchairs as they vie for the ball.

Disability does not equal Inability
U-M program brings adaptive sports and fitness to the campus community and beyond


The energy is high under the bright lights of Crisler Center for the intrasquad wheelchair basketball game.

Members of the team participate in U-M’s Adaptive Sports & Fitness program (ASF), which works to destigmatize disability and increase participation in adaptive sports and fitness among people with and without disabilities. With help from donors, ASF has grown from informal games, to an official program with teams that compete nationally.

For wheelchair tennis player and Craig H. Neilsen Foundation Scholarship recipient Caiden Baxter (LSA Class of 2023), donor support has played a critical role in his experiences as a para athlete.

“It’s not just the financial support, but the emotional support,” Baxter said. “It’s knowing there’s people watching—that there’s people that care.”


A Conversation with President Ono
Michigan’s new president shares his passion for philanthropy and excitement about all things Maize and Blue


Santa J. Ono clearly gets his energy from being around other people. Since becoming the University of Michigan’s 15th president in October, he’s regularly spotted around campus talking with students, problem-solving with faculty, and enjoying events from concerts to gymnastic meets to symposia. He works out at the IM Building and has practiced cello at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. He even tossed a few in January’s epic snowball fight on the Diag.

In his office, he’s surrounded by images of people who inspire himhis parents on their wedding day, his daughters before their ballet recital, photos with Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau, Yo-Yo Ma, even a selfie with Emmanuel Macron. In a recent snapshot, Ono beams with delight standing against the iconic brick wall of the Big House with a crowd of students, resplendent in maize and blue, cheering behind him. 

Ono beams brightest, however, when talking about U-M. With trademark zeal, he details the many ways the university exceeds expectationsour academic distinction, our elite student-athletes, the mastery of our artists, and our passionate philanthropic spirit. His Twitter account reads like “points of pride” for U-M, as post after post celebrates all corners of the university with a refreshing sense of energy and joy. 

Perhaps his enthusiastic championing, grounded in a genuine respect for collaboration and community, makes Ono the exact right person at the exact right time to lead U-M. Leaders & Best recently sat down with him to find out, and to hear more about his visioning process, his engagement with donors, and to learn why he “can’t wait to get to campus” every morning!


President Ono in suit and plaid maize tie.

A maize and blue gift box surrounded by numbers and colorful art elements.

Giving by the Numbers

Donors gave to the University of Michigan with extraordinary generosity in the last fiscal year, making it the second best fundraising year in Michigan history.


Gifts in Action

Dean Moje and students gathered around a table with a computer.

School of Education named in recognition of Marsal family

Honoring commitments totaling over $55 million, the Marsal Family School of Education is named for the family of Bryan (BBA ’73, MBA ’75) and Kathleen Marsal (ABEd ’72, TeachCert ’72), and their children Megan Marsal Kirsch (ABEd ’14, TeachCert ’14) and Michael Marsal (BBA ’10, La Salle University). A new $50 million gift will support initiatives to prepare a diverse population of teachers, build robust partnerships with schools and communities, and conduct research with education practitioners. 

Rendering of the finished Pavillion and surrounding buildings.

New hospital named for philanthropists D. Dan and Betty Kahn

The D. Dan and Betty Kahn Health Care Pavilion, supported by a $50 million gift from the Kahn Foundation, will honor Dan and Betty’s dedication to U-M and the public good. Scheduled to open in fall 2025, the 12-floor, $920 million facility will include 264 private inpatient rooms, a top-notch neurosciences center, and specialty services for cardiovascular and thoracic care. It will also feature 20 surgical and three interventional radiology suites.

Giving Blueday March 15, 2023 text with abstract maize and blue shapes

Giving Blueday 2023 brings community together to support U-M

For 24 hours, alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends joined in and gave to the causes they most care about at Michigan, making a real difference on U-M’s annual day of giving. Together, and through gifts of all sizes, they impacted the university’s ability to support important initiatives, organizations, and projects benefiting the arts; diversity, equity, and inclusion; medicine; research; students; sustainability; and much more.

Vibrant collage of images from across U-M and abstract art elements with the Leaders & Best logo at the top and a list of stories at the bottom.

About the Cover: A New Energy at U-M designed by Adam Beeman (BA ’14) and Nate Bynum.

Leaders & Best

A publication by the University of Michigan for valued members of the U-M community.

Vice President for Development

Tom Baird

Senior Executive Director, Marketing & Communications

Heather Newman

Senior Director, Leadership Communications

Pam Stout

Director of Creative Marketing

Sarah LaTarte

Senior Director of Strategic Marketing & Communications

Meagan Schonfeld

Director of Digital Marketing

Ila Coltas

Associate Director of Communications

Ann Marie Aliotta

Senior Project Manager

Jessica Blanchard

Creative Team

Dyanna Bateman, Adam Beeman, Nate Bynum, Marc-Grégor Campredon, Graciela Demerath, Kara Fields, Kaley Mooney

Digital Team

Bridget Barkume, Melina Glusac, Frank Hillis, Becky Reames, Nancy Waters


Anissa Gabbara, Eric Gallippo, Madeline Swanson

University of Michigan Board of Regents

Jordan B. Acker, Huntington Woods
Michael J. Behm, Grand Blanc
Mark J. Bernstein, Ann Arbor
Paul W. Brown, Ann Arbor
Sarah Hubbard, Okemos
Denise Ilitch, Bingham Farms
Ron Weiser, Ann Arbor
Katherine E. White, Ann Arbor
Santa J. Ono, ex officio
Have comments about Leaders & Best?
You have received this copy of Leaders & Best because you are a valued member of the U-M community. Whether you are a volunteer, friend, or donor, your feedback on this publication and ideas for future issues help us effectively communicate the impact of philanthropy at Michigan. Send your email to leadersandbest@umich.edu, or call 734-647-6000.

Want more details on how to make a gift to Michigan?

To Make a Gift or for Gift-giving Inquiries, Receipts, & Biographical Updates
888-518-7888 | umgift@umich.edu

Planned Giving & Appreciated Assets

734-615-2022 | Giving2@umich.edu

Gifts of Securities

877-647-9090 | umgiftsec@umich.edu

Photography Credits

A New Energy at U-M: UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn digital asset libraries, Marc-Grégor Campredon, U-M Vice President for Communications; Disability does not equal Inability: Marc-Grégor Campredon; Mighty Michigan Women: Bentley Image Bank; Marsal Gift: Heather Nash; Kahn Gift: HOK.

Nondiscrimination Policy Statement

The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Senior Director for Institutional Equity and Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Office for Institutional Equity, 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, 734-763-0235, TTY 734-647-1388, institutional.equity@umich.edu. For other University of Michigan information, call 734-764-1817.