In my time at Rackham, as faculty and now as interim dean, I have found that the school’s greatest strength is the way in which it engages people all across our campuses. Some of the best, most productive conversations I have been a part of have come when students and faculty use Rackham to step outside of not only their disciplines, but also themselves, to learn how ideas and norms differ profoundly because of the variety of the academic work that we pursue and the diverse experiences and perspectives that we bring to that work.
The pages that follow will give you a sense of those experiences and the breadth, depth, and excellence of graduate education at Rackham. From our evolving student programs to our commitment to diversity and a milestone anniversary of our Barbour Scholars Program, 2017 was a dynamic and rewarding time for all of us at Rackham.
I am thankful for the chance to serve as dean of such a varied and intellectually vibrant community, and I am grateful for the outstanding staff, generous donors, and devoted colleagues across U-M who make our work possible. Most of all, though, I am thankful for the students whose scholarship and research continue to move their fields forward as they pursue their goal of a graduate degree.
Michael J. Solomon
Interim Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs
Thanks to Rackham Donors we were able to fully fund 93% 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 2,433 conference travel grants, 116 graduate students received summer funding, and 586 received Rackham Research Grants.
Gifts of $100,000 or more
Gifts of $10,000 or more
Gifts of $1,000 or more
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Gifts of less than $100
Gifts from Alumni
$3,174,803.66 in graduate student support came from realized bequests in 2017. We are grateful to alumni and friends who designate the Rackham Graduate School in their estate plan.
374 families are in the Mary Rackham Society, indicating they have given more than $10,00 to Rackham during their lifetime.
78 families are in the John Monteith Society, indicating they will generously support Rackham with an estate plan gift.
1,338 donors have given to Rackham students every year for the last 5 years.
720 donors have supported Rackham students every year for the last 10 years.
Thanks to Rackham Donors!
The following is a collection of notes written by Rackham graduate students expressing their gratitude to our generous donors.
Thank you for your generous support of graduate students at U-M! I am a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in communication studies, and donations like yours have made it possible for me, a first-generation student, to pursue research I am truly passionate about and addresses important social issues. (I study access to health information among rural, remote indigenous communities in the United States.)
I am incredibly grateful for your generosity and for making U-M an institution that values research integrity. I am a student in public health, and your funding allows me to pursue a research agenda that advances health equity in Detroit.
Thank you so much for your generosity! Without your support, I would not have received a Rackham Merit Fellowship and a full five-year package! I truly enjoy the resources at U-M and can’t imagine doing my Ph.D. anywhere else.
I am a second-year Ph.D. student at U-M in toxicology. I love going here, but most importantly, I love being able to focus on classes knowing I have secured funding for the next five years. Donors like you are why I can be the first in my family to go to college and one day make a difference in the world. Thank you for donating!
I just want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to pursue a Ph.D. in bioinformatics. Through your help, I was awarded a Rackham Merit Fellowship, which allows me more time to focus on my research by providing me a generous stipend and tuition. I greatly appreciate the opportunity and the community I have been able to connect with.
Thank you so much for your ongoing support of the Rackham Graduate School. I am an international student coming to the United States alone to study in the economics department. Thanks to your generous donations, I am able to do research at such a prestigious public institution, as I have always dreamed. The welcoming community here at the University of Michigan makes Ann Arbor feel like home. Thank you for making the world a better place!
I want to say thank you for continuing to fund and support one of the best public institutions in America. I don’t know if I’d have been accepted into the program if Rackham and the departments didn’t create such an encouraging and supportive environment willing to support me through my studies in every way.
Increasing the diversity of graduate students and providing an inclusive environment are key priorities at Rackham.
Rackham has a history and tradition of valuing the diversity of our students as an essential dimension of excellence in graduate education. As we continue to act upon and evolve Rackham’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Strategic Plan, 2017 saw numerous highlights related to these efforts.
U-M is the only institution that ranked in the top 12 for doctorates awarded in each U.S. minority group from 2012 to 2016. (source: NSF Survey of Earned Doctorates)
41% of our students are international (35% of Ph.D.s, 52% of master’s), representing more than 100 countries.
Edmund Graham was hired as Rackham’s first Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) coordinator. In this role—which is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation—Graham assists with the strategic development of partnerships between U-M and other MSIs in an effort to attract, recruit, and retain a highly qualified, diverse graduate student community.
This year, Rackham launched a new program designed to prepare graduate students to work in a diverse environment while fostering a climate of inclusivity. The program, which was designed in response to student feedback, recognizes a relatively new and rapidly growing movement among employers, both within and outside of the academy, to require job applicants to demonstrate a commitment to diversity. The first year saw 174 applicants from 13 schools and colleges.
Rackham continues to enhance resources, programming, and funding that contribute to students’ development both academically and professionally.
We help students identify and expand transferable skills, envision diverse career paths, and develop effective job-search strategies.
More than 4,000 graduate students and postdocs attended Rackham programs and workshops for professional and personal development.
19 Rackham Public Engagement Fellows explored internships in diverse settings, from museums to foundations.
15 Rackham student Professional Development Leaders from across the university worked with Rackham to develop professional development in their own schools and colleges.
49 new candidates were honored in Rackham’s first candidacy ceremony and attended a series of workshops to help them transition to the dissertation writing phase.
73 prospective students visited campus to conduct research with Michigan faculty in the Summer Research Opportunity Program and the Michigan Humanities Emerging Research Scholars Program.
Our global network of Rackham alums totals 113,367. World Leaders, researchers, scientists, authors, educators, policy makers, artists, entrepreneurs, and more!
The Barbour Scholarships are among the oldest and most prestigious awards granted by the University of Michigan, offering funding to female students from Asia and the Middle East since 1917.
The Rackham Graduate School celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the Barbour Scholarship throughout 2017. On October 23 and 24, Barbour Scholars from the past and present gathered in Ann Arbor to share their experiences and look to the future of the education of Asian women.
Extraordinary Women, Remarkable Contributions
Travelling in Asia in 1913, Regent Levi Lewis Barbour met three women in China and Japan who had been trained in medicine at the University of Michigan. Inspired by their remarkable contributions to those countries’ welfare and development, he cultivated his vision to endow a scholarship to prepare Asian women as leaders in their home countries and to facilitate understanding between Eastern and Western cultures.
In the past century, more than 700 extraordinary women from over 25 countries have been appointed as Barbour Scholars. They have served as university presidents and educators, senators and ambassadors, researchers and industry leaders, and in a variety of other noteworthy roles. Currently, around 200 reside in the United States, and 261 can be found abroad—Levi Barbour’s living global legacy.
The two-day celebration kicked off with a lecture titled “Asian Studies at the University of Michigan: A Brief History” from Professor Donald Lopez, chair of Asian languages and cultures. He emphasized the historical context of Levi Barbour’s generous endowment, including how revolutionary a gift of this kind was at a time when the world was far from peaceful and international relations were complicated.
Barbour alumnae and current scholars also had the opportunity to take a campus tour and visit the University of Michigan Museum of Art. A special part of the UMMA tour included viewing a Chinese ceramic piece titled Tomb Guardian donated by Barbour alumna Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur.
One of the highlights of the Centennial Celebration was the student and alumnae panel, titled “100 Years of Opportunity: Asian Women’s Global Engagement.” Five panelists, Dr. Meera Sampath, Dr. Heasook Rhee, Dr. Wing Li, and Ph.D. candidates Niloufar Emami and Amrita Dhar, shared their experiences as Barbour Scholars, as well as what it was like to travel to the United States from their home countries to pursue a U-M education.
To conclude, the Rackham Graduate School hosted a celebratory dinner during which Interim Dean Michael Solomon presented Barbour Scholars and alumnae with pins resembling those worn by scholars in the 1930s. The dinner served as an opportunity for informal conversation and sharing of experiences among current scholars, alumnae, Rackham staff, and others in attendance.
While each of the Barbour Scholars had varying experiences, their anecdotes shared a common theme—they were all incredibly grateful. They expressed thankfulness for not only the endowment established by Levi Barbour 100 years ago, but also the welcoming nature of Ann Arbor, the opportunity to study at the University of Michigan, and the chance to connect with scholars who came before and after them. Now, we look forward to the next 100 years of the Barbour Scholarship.
The Barbour Scholar Centennial Celebration was sponsored in part by a grant from the University of Michigan Bicentennial Office.
Horace Rackham, an attorney with a Detroit practice, 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.