Investing in Education

A few weeks ago, one of our gift officers and I embarked on a development trip across Wyoming. I was up at 7:00, met with an alum at 8:00, jumped in the car and headed across the plateau to meet another at noon and then another later in the evening. It was an interesting group; a mine manager, a forester in charge of timber management for the Big Horn National Forest, and a former corporate executive; each had rich stories to share about their days at Michigan Tech and some even more so about their careers beyond. After nearly a week on the road, some 2000 miles and meeting with loyal, passionate and successful alums one quickly realizes how lucky we are to have their support.

Similarly and simultaneous to my visits out west, the Chronicle of Higher Education ran a special feature section about the Gates Foundation and the impact of their investments in education. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at $36 billion is the world’s largest private granting organization. Investing some 472 million from initiatives designed to improve college readiness to access and completion the foundation is making a marked difference in reshaping American Higher Education today and likely for a long time into the future.

On June 30 Michigan Tech saw the completion of the Generations of Discovery Capital Campaign. With a goal of 200 million and a successful completion, it is evident that the campaign, much like the Gates Foundation, has impacted Tech today and has helped shape the University agenda for the distant future. Just this summer we have seen these funds at work with the creation of the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success, the new video scoreboard at the Mac, the new plaza and gardens outside the library, and through millions of dollars in scholarships provided to our students. One doesn’t have to look far to realize these contributions from generous alums, friends and corporate partners not only fund and support the mission and vision of the University but also help to advance and sustain it into the future.

The trip across Wyoming, much like the work of the Gates Foundation is an investment in Tech and more broadly, higher education. With classes beginning next week, students, faculty/staff and the University in general is thankful for the support of our alumni/friends who like Gates see the value of education and understand the importance of this investment.