Focus on Philanthropy

A Collective Impact

$4.3 million

Nearly 1,700 Rackham donors committed more than $4.3 million to graduate education at the University of Michigan in 2021.


384 donors made 455 gifts to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts totaling $66,542.31.


1,570 donors supported Rackham’s DEI, Emergency, Student Support, and Impact Funds with more than a half million dollars, including 149 first-time donors who joined the Rackham family of supporters in 2021.

A Culture of Philanthropy Since 1935

Horace Rackham was a Detroit lawyer, original shareholder of the Ford Motor Company, and noted philanthropist in the city and surrounding areas. Two years after his death in 1933, in accordance with his will, his wife of 47 years, Mary Rackham (née Horton), committed $2.5 million to build the Rackham Building, and an additional $4 million to establish the endowment. At the time, it was the largest philanthropic gift ever given in support of graduate education.

With the creation of the endowment, the Rackhams aimed to provide fellowship and research support, as well as funds for a building that would bring faculty and graduate students together for intellectual exchange across disciplinary boundaries.

Today, 87 years later, the original endowment continues to support the graduate school with its distributions from its now $174 million market value. Rackham Graduate School is the hub for research-based graduate education at the university.

2021 Honor Roll of Donors

Donor contributions to Rackham in 2021 played a critical role in providing the support graduate students needed during a challenging time. Your impact will be felt for years to come across the wide breadth of academic fields at the University of Michigan. The Honor Roll recognizes the generosity of Rackham alumni and friends who donated in 2021, and each name represents a commitment to excellence in graduate education and a show of support as we continue our efforts as a global leader in research and scholarly training.

A Legacy of Humanity

New York artist Dr. John Hunter (Ph.D. 1983) has included Rackham in his legacy plans, directing funds to endow the John Hunter Graduate Student Award Fund. The fund will support students who have received their undergraduate degrees at institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, and are pursuing research in the fields of the humanities, performing and visual arts, and art history at the University of Michigan.

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