Martha Cook Building

By Phyllis Valentine BA 65 MA 69 AMLS 77

Our MCB 100th anniversary coincided with my 50th graduation reunion, so I met many more campus friends than usual. One friend from my year at Markley Hall said she'd always wanted to live at Martha Cook, but her scholarship aid didn't include the needed extra money; I gave her a tour of the building and she exclaimed how she would have loved to live there. I wondered how many others like her never made it into the building, where as residents they would be able to compete for existing scholarships.

I approached the Board of Governors in early January with an offer to donate money for incoming student room and board "gap" scholarships of $1300 each, the difference between a MCB double and the average double on campus, asking for their approval in pursuing the idea. I then met with Development and Student Financial Aid to learn more about donations and management of incoming student financial arrangements. I knew that we were late in the housing application process, but a line was added at the end of the online application form indicating that some money was available.

Since early March there have been thirteen applicants who saw that line and submitted their financial award statements. Marion Law and Ireviewed their applications and financial forms as they came in. All qualified on the grounds of their financial need; most are receiving loans as well as substantial direct financial aid. This "gap" money may reduce the amount of loan money they might need. These young women represent a wonderful diversity—ethnic, racial, geographic, and religious—and will all be fantastic additions to the MCB community. Their thank you notes have been a treasure to read including this one: "I look forward to continuing my development as a strong woman and to taking full advantage of the benefits of living in the Martha Cook community;" and this one "I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals, just as you have helped me."

As we move forward into the new academic year there are two fantastic new opportunities at the University level, the Victors for Michigan Third Century and the Victors for Michigan Bicentennial Matching Programs to expand our scholarship monies. A donation to either of these funds by a single donor (or up to four donors)designated for any of the Martha Cook Scholarship accounts would have outstanding outcomes Pledges can be made for up to five years. Contact Heidi Kirby hkirby@umich.edu or 734-615-5159 for more information.