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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Who leads the leaders of the Central Michigan University we all love?


Many Central Michigan Life readers commented on my previous letters to the editor published during the 2017 Spring Semester identifying CMU’s glaring need for leadership from President George Ross in fundraising and its need to hire a trained university development professional to lead our efforts.

While I felt compelled to resign from the university’s Advancement Board last spring, after 8 years of service, to call attention to this shortcoming, I have remained engaged and close to Bob Martin, the new Vice President of Advancement hired less than two years ago. Needless to say, it is gratifying to report positive results.

Under Bob’s direction energy and focus are sharply up with the largest number of major gift solicitations in history. We are holding our staff and our university accountable while teaching them how to drive us harder into the future. The list of “most” and “bests” is impressive – most total donors, million dollar donators, online donors, direct mail donors, planned gift dollars raised, highest participation by faculty and staff, total donors in President’s Circle, greatest number of face-to-face solicitations, etc.

Bob has brought a much-needed new energy and accountability to our efforts.

As a direct result, CMU has posted the two biggest fundraising years in its history resulting in more than $65 million in gifts to CMU, including its best single fundraising year ever at $46 million. The “fire has been lit” at CMU.

Our “Campaign for Excellence” is now two years ahead of schedule thanks to the decision to seek the help of someone like Bob who is highly trained at leading university fundraising campaigns. President Ross and his wife, Elizabeth, are to be commended, too, as they recently announced an inspiring $1 million gift to CMU – by far the largest-ever gift from any CMU President.

This is an excellent start – but only a start. We remain years behind where we need to be. We are building something great at CMU. Our university can never again afford to rest. A top priority of our university leadership needs to be ensuring, and sustaining, this new vigilance in our commitment to capital raising.

Who leads the leaders of CMU? We all do.

1977 Alumnus