Welcome to the 2016 Rackham Report

Alumni gifts, both large and small, have a significant and long-term impact on the funding, programming, and experience of our graduate students. You have played an integral part in their success.

Alumni have engaged with us in greater ways this year as well. The list includes writing career advice blog posts, participating in the alumni profile database resource for students and alumni, and speaking at Alumni Conversation Series programs to small groups of graduate students, to name but a few. We plan to continue increasing alumni engagement in the future.

You have shown overwhelming interest in paving the way for Rackham graduate students. You have made a difference. On their behalf, thank you for your continued support.

Carol A. Fierke, Dean

2016 Honor Roll of Donors

We are grateful to everyone on the 2016 Honor Roll of Donors. Rackham donors have given over $30.5 million for student support in the Victors for Michigan campaign.

pages from the Honor Roll of Donors

We Are Graduate Education at the University of Michigan

The University of Michigan was number one in awarding the most doctorates in 2015. U-M spends more on research than any other U.S. public university. The University awards more graduate academic and professional degrees than any other Big Ten or peer universities, except for Columbia University.


Ph.D. Students


Master's Students


Students Received Rackham Funding


Doctoral Programs


Master's Programs


Certificate Programs


Programs in the top 10


U-M is second in the nation for Ph.D. graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).


Dissertations Defended


85% of our Ph.D. students (2012 to 2016) publish one or more papers before graduating.

Percent of Students by Discipline

Completion Rates

  • Ph.D. students who enrolled in a doctoral program on the Ann Arbor Campus between Fall 2000 and Fall 200975%

  • Master's students who enrolled in U-M academic Master's programs on the Ann Arbor Campus between Fall 2012 and Fall 201491%

International Impact

You can find Rackham Alumni in 162 countries.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Increasing the diversity of graduate students and providing an inclusive environment are key priorities at Rackham.

This past academic year, we built on the key findings and themes from comprehensive conversations with graduate students, faculty and staff to develop the Rackham Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Strategic Plan. Our plan includes working with graduate programs across 18 schools, colleges, and units.

Impact of Diversity

University of Michigan is a national leader in awarding doctorates for all underrepresented minority groups.


Master’s students who are first generation college graduates


Ph.D. students who are first generation college graduates


Master’s students who are first generation U.S. citizens


Ph.D. students who are first generation U.S. citizens


International graduate students


International Ph.D. students


International Master's students


African American doctorate recipients over the last five years


Hispanic doctorate recipients over the last five years

Rackham’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Domains

To meet the unique mission, position, and functions of the Graduate School, we developed four domains for our work. Each strategic objective in a domain is accompanied by success measures that will be tracked over time, as well as descriptions of single and multiple year actions we will take to accomplish those objectives.


Use of effective practices and processes around recruitment and selection of an excellent, diverse graduate community.

High Quality Academic and Professional Environment

Development of climate enhancing programmatic activities and practices for inclusive success among our students, faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and other Rackham constituencies.


Emphasis on policies, practices, and structures for eliminating typical barriers and challenges to success outcomes for all students.

Service, Partnership, and Collaboration

Reflect Rackham’s broader mission of leadership and service to graduate education, including the partnerships and collaborations with colleges/ schools/units, programs, faculty, staff, students, postdocs, and alumni in order to achieve our goals around inclusion and excellence in graduate education.

Naomi Wilson

Naomi has been involved in student government since high school when she was senior class president. She was a school leader in high school and her undergraduate alma mater, UC Berkeley, where she co-founded the Black Student Union, and the Black Graduate Student Association at NYU’s Steinhardt.

I think it’s important to advocate for and represent the student voice. Administration can‘t advocate like students can. Also, I’m all about building community ASAP and I’ve done that three times now, and being part of student government has been a big part of that.Naomi Wilson, Ph.D. Student, Educational Studies, Vice President, Rackham Student Government

Jeff Lowe

For me, taking DE&I seriously means making all of my classmates feel welcome at Michigan. It means sharing my culture (I'm from Michigan and I love discussing it with others) and learning about new cultures. Sometimes it even means putting myself in uncomfortable situations so that I can see things from a different perspective. Now the question is, what are you going to do?Jeff Lowe, Ph.D. Student, Chemical Engineering

Professional Development & Career Outcomes

The Academic Development team supports graduate students in developing strategies, plans, and networks to be successful during their Michigan experience, and as they transition into their careers.

To achieve this, we focus on supporting Rackham graduate students in their core skill development, career exploration, and job search skill development.

Alumni Conversation Series

Alumni are an important part of professional development programs. Distinguished alumni are featured in our Alumni Conversation Series, a monthly program that connects students with alumni in small group settings for interdisciplinary career discussions.

Impact of Programs


Professional Development Programs Held


Students Attended Rackham Events

The Alumni Profile Database

One of the newest resources for graduate students is you.

The Support and Mentorship of Alumni

The Alumni Profile Database serves as a helpful tool for students to find advice and career paths from alumni who offer their experience as a roadmap. Overwhelmingly, graduate students want the support and mentorship of alumni who have navigated this road and paved the way for them.

Participants are Deans, CEOs, Professors, Consultants, Research Scientists, and more. They range from 28 to 83 years old. They live all over the U.S. and in far reaching corners of the world.

Almost 600 alumni have joined the alumni database. Over 81% of them offered to give back to their graduate school by participating in programs to support students. Join the database today!

Alumni Offer Advice

Keep an open mind about your career. There is always value in career positions that may not be ideal. Learn as much as you can, gain experience, and be a team player! This will open more career avenues in the future!

Broaden your skill sets in graduate school as much as possible to make yourself attractive to the working world. Also, focus on internships and other ways to get experience — these will be critical to getting that first interview or job.

Ph.D. Student Placement

Your Impact

Thanks to Rackham Donors we were able to fully fund 92% of doctoral students. 98% of doctoral students received financial aid. 21% of Master’s students had more than 50% full funding.

In addition, your support helped Rackham fund 2,464 conference travel grants, 187 summer stipends, and 641 research grants.


Total Donors


New Donors


Gifts of $1 million or more


Gifts of $100,000 or more


Gifts of $10,000 or more


Gifts of $1,000 or more


Gifts of $100 or more


Gifts from Alumni

Almost $4 million in graduate student support came from realized bequests in 2016. We are grateful to alumni and friends who designate the Rackham Graduate School in their estate plan.

345 families are in the Mary Rackham Society, indicating they have given more than $10,00 to Rackham during their lifetime.

53 families are in the John Monteith Society, indicating they will generously support Rackham with an estate plan gift.

1388 donors have given to Rackham students every year for the last 5 years.

681 donors have supported Rackham students every year for the last 10 years.

Thanks to Rackham Donors!

Victors for Michigan logo

Thank you for giving to Rackham

Grateful graduate students on support they receive from donors like you.

Austin McCoy completed his Ph.D. in History in 2016 and is now a Research Fellow in the Department of History of Art at University of Michigan. He will receive a 2016 ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award on April 25, 2017.

I am almost unspeakably grateful for the funding that allowed me to work on my dissertation without any other responsibilities for the past year. This has been the most exciting and intellectually fruitful year of my life; I have some hopes that my dissertation could help break new ground in my field of philosophy.

I really don’t think I could have made so many intellectual advances, and in such a short period of time, without the support of Rackham. Thank you so much for helping me to make the opportunities like mine possible!

Rackham will always have a place in my mind and heart. Jeremy Lent, Ph.D. Student, Philosophy

I cannot thank you enough for your donation to help U-M Rackham graduate students. There are so many worthy organizations and causes undoubtedly competing for your support, so I am particularly grateful you chose to help finance graduate education.

Rackham funds specifically helped fund my dissertation research last summer, and provided support to help me travel to a professional meeting to present my preliminary research findings. In short, these funds have been vital to my success.

Thank you again for your ongoing support. Your donations truly make a difference. Denise Menon, Ph.D. Candidate, Health Behavior and Health Education

Rackham Dean's Campaign Advisors 2016

Babette Benken

Seal Beach, California

Caren Deming

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Andrew G. De Rocco

Hartford, Connecticut

Robert S. Grossman

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Margaret Gupta

Herndon, Virginia

Cheryl Hurley

New York, New York

Kevin Hurley

New York, New York

Kate Kush

Boston, Massachusetts

Juliette Okotie-Eboh

Detroit, Michigan

Vivian Sangunett

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Rackham Development and Alumni Relations Team

Jill McDonough

Director of Development and Alumni Relations

Melissa Herter

Donor Relations Officer

Anna Mann

Gift Officer

Sarah Phillips

Gift Officer

Who was Horace H. Rackham?

An attorney with a Detroit practice, Horace Rackham was an early advisor to Henry Ford. In exchange for legal advice, Ford offered stock options to Horace, who invested in the new automobile venture. The investment made Horace a wealthy man. Upon his death in 1933, Horace’s widow Mary oversaw the fund that was established with proceeds from his estate. In 1935 Mary and the fund made a substantial gift to endow fellowships at the newly named Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies and pay for the construction of the building which is now a campus landmark. Neither Horace nor Mary had U-M degrees, but they were committed to advanced education and research.

illustration of Horace H. Rackham