Dolphins owner donates $200M to Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Real estate magnate and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has donated $200 million to the University of Michigan for its business school and athletics programs.

The university announced the donation Wednesday, saying it represents the largest single donation in school history and that the gift will “significantly transform the student experience at the business school and athletic campus.”

“I’ve always loved athletics,” Ross said Wednesday. “I just wasn’t that good at one.”

The money will be split between the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and University of Michigan Athletics and raises Ross’ total giving to his alma mater to more than $313 million. The athletic campus will be renamed the Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus.

“Stephen Ross’ vision has always been about the ability of facilities to transform the human experience,” university president Mary Sue Coleman said in a statement. “He understands the power of well-conceived spaces, and his generosity will benefit generations of Michigan students, faculty and coaches.”

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon referred to Ross’ donation as a “huge down payment” on a transformational project that will play out over several years. Upon completion, it will run a bill around $350 million. However, Ross’ gift is the launch pad for the fundraising campaign, which will be launched Nov. 8.

Two of the 16 projects have started: renovations to Schembechler Hall on South State Street (which Brandon hopes to dedicate at the Wolverines’ 2014 spring game) and the softball complex. Renovations to the field hockey complex will begin soon and will be the third project on Brandon’s check list.

“We’ve identified 16 projects that will fundamentally change our athletic campus to the betterment of every one of our 900-plus student-athletes, our 31 coaches and our 41 teams,” Brandon said. “It affords us the ability to give them facilities to study in and prepare academically all the way to strength and conditioning to health and wellness, practice facilities and competition facilities.”

In addition, scholarships will be available to Ross students.

“The University of Michigan had a profound impact on my life and I have received enormous satisfaction from being able to give back to the institution that played such a critical role in my success,” Ross said.

Chantel Jennings of contributed to this report.

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