WMU News

Paper Technology Foundation reports record gifts

July 24, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- Total gifts to Western Michigan University edged past the $9 million mark to finish the 1997-98 fiscal year ending June 30 at $9,057,711, the WMU Board of Trustees learned at its July 24 meeting.

Solid giving was reported by the WMU Foundation, while record giving was reported by the Paper Technology Foundation, which is in the middle of a $5.75 million capital campaign. The campaign began in July 1995 and will conclude in June 2000. So far, it has garnered $3.3 million in gifts and pledges.

The Paper Technology Foundation received $1,370,933 in cash and non-cash gifts for the fiscal year, surpassing the previous high of $288,190 by a remarkable 376 percent. In June alone, the organization reported receiving more than twice the amount received in the entire 1996-97 fiscal year.

The foundation was established in 1958. It supports and enhances the paper programs offered by WMU's Department of Paper and Printing Science and Engineering. It also helps recruit and financially assist young men and women who wish to pursue careers in the pulp and paper industry.

The WMU Foundation, which receives gifts for a variety of University departments, programs and activities, received a total of $7,686,788 during the 1997-98 fiscal year. Of this amount, current cash gifts represented $6,053,300, deferred cash gifts represented $891,912 and non-cash gifts represented $741,566.

"Giving to WMU remains strong," said Keith A. Pretty, vice president for external affairs and general counsel. "In 1997-98, we received exceptional support through the Paper Technology Foundation and solid support through the WMU Foundation."

Private gifts to the University, whether restricted or unrestricted, are a key factor in WMU's ability to maintain and advance excellence, Pretty said.

"These gifts touch the University across the board, enriching the sciences, the arts, scholarships, athletics and many other areas," he said. "They directly benefit our students and faculty members as well as contribute to enhancing our national and international reputation."

During the past ten years, Pretty continued, the public has given more than $93 million in gifts to the University.

"This level of sustained support has made it possible for us to offer some of the best programs, facilities and services in the country," he said.

Pretty's report to the board also included June gift figures. Total gifts in the final month of the 1997-98 fiscal year amounted to $676,192 for the WMU Foundation and $487,685 for the Paper Technology Foundation.

Among the major donations to the WMU Foundation was $50,000 from the family and friends of the late Donald J. Seelye to establish the Donald "J" Seelye Endowed Scholarship Fund for Athletics.

At least two Seelye scholarships will be awarded each year. Based on financial need, they will go to incoming freshmen student-athletes who are enrolled full time. Family members contributing to the endowment fund are Seelye's wife, Jane, and the couple's sons, Michael and Patrick, all of Kalamazoo. Patrick received a bachelor of science degree from WMU in 1976.

Donald Seelye, who died in 1997, founded Don Seelye Ford in Kalamazoo in 1963. He developed the business into one of the largest and best known automobile dealerships in the region and actively managed the company until 1993. Michael and Patrick now the run business and its sister dealerships.

Also, the Pharmacia & Upjohn Foundation of Kalamazoo donated $20,000 to the Annual Fund for Western. The fund is comprised of restricted and unrestricted gifts made annually to the University by individuals, businesses and foundations. The Pharmacia and Upjohn Foundation gift is unrestricted.

Among the other significant gifts reported in June was a $12,358 donation from the estate of the late Phyllis H. Mosier to WMU's Office of Disabled Student Resources and Services. Mosier was a California resident who received a bachelor of arts degree in social work from WMU in 1952.

In addition, three $10,000 gifts were reported: Farmer Jack Supermarkets of Detroit gave to WMU's nationally recognized Food Marketing Program, an anonymous donor gave to the Mike Gary Athletic Fund for Volleyball and Thomas A. Crowley of Brighton, Mich., gave to the Bill Brown Alumni Football Center.

Crowley is general manager for Combined Metals-Michigan, a steel distributor. He received a bachelor of business administration degree from WMU in 1968 and was a member of the football team from 1964 to 1966.

The Bill Brown Alumni Football Center, a 55,000-square-foot addition to Waldo Stadium, was dedicated July 10. The multi-story addition includes new locker rooms; facilities for training, strength and conditioning; an auditorium for meetings; and coaches' offices, which also will be used for instruction and will double as suites on game days.

Among the major donations to the Paper Technology Foundation during June were three in-kind gifts of equipment from three Michigan companies. The companies and the value of their donation are: Simplex Products of Adrian, $100,000; GAF Materials Corp. of Kalamazoo, $275,000; and Crown Vantage Corp. of Kalamazoo, $100,000.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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