$20M gift to start leadership center at UM

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — A new center aimed at tapping into students’ leadership prowess will be funded by a $20 million gift to the University of Michigan, officials announced Thursday.

Stephen W. Sanger, former General Mills CEO, and his wife, Karen, gave the university the gift to create the Sanger Leadership Center, which will expand the school’s leadership development programming at the Ross School of Business.

It will expand on the numerous activities in the Ross Leadership Initiative and the Leaders Academy, where students create, launch and lead businesses. The Sanger Center also will be a resource for students to get feedback, coaching and development and for faculty to develop new ideas and leadership practices.

The gift will increase the Ross school’s ability to develop the character and capabilities of future business leaders, said Scott DeRue, Ross associate dean and faculty director of the Sanger Leadership Center.

“It will help us create even more high-impact, high-touch leadership development experiences that students can’t get anywhere else but Ross,” he said. “I envision a future where 50,000 Michigan Ross students — past, present, and future — lead positive change in themselves and around the world.”

Stephen Sanger, who received a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan in 1970, said he and his wife are honored to support the effort. Karen Sanger was a secondary school teacher before becoming an attorney, specializing in small business law.

“Among those of us who have recruited talent for our companies, one of the things that sets Ross graduates apart is their leadership skills,” Stephen Sanger said. “This difference reflects the innovative, hands-on programs of the Ross Leadership Initiative.”

Associated Press contributed.