Supporting SEAS

Join the more than 2,000 alumni who have made a financial contribution to SEAS in the last five years. Your support propels our students and faculty forward to address complex problems and create a more sustainable, just world.

Message from the Dean's External Advisory Board

Dear friends:
In the early 1970s, I was a forestry student working hard not only in the classroom, but also at various jobs to make ends meet. At one particularly stressful time financially, I learned I’d won the Mrs. F. Gordon Davis Scholarship, an award of $125. I remember being so grateful for receiving help when I needed it most.

This award changed my life in the short term—and forever. It bought me time and stability to focus on my studies, and it inspired me to pay it forward as soon as I could. When I got my first job as a forester in Arkansas, I was making $11,000 a year. But right away I earmarked less than 1 percent of my salary to help other Michigan students and, with my good friend Bruce Brown, created a scholarship that’s still around today. In fact, what was a drop in the bucket back then has grown into a sizable endowment.

I'm a firm believer that what you give is returned to you many times over. My wife, Carolyn, and I have had the good fortune to support dozens of SEAS students through fellowships, as well as research initiatives and special projects. I attribute much of my success in life to this philosophy of philanthropy.

None of us achieves what we do without the help of many selfless others. Please consider helping SEAS with a gift to our capital campaign. Your donation of any amount shows our students and faculty researchers that you stand behind their game-changing ideas, that you believe they can change the world, and that you are eager to see what they do next.

Peter Mertz
BSF ’74, MBA ’81




Positive student energy drives all that we do. It is central to carrying out our mission of global sustainability. Over the past century, we have built a community of creative scholars who are passionate about saving the world – natural leaders with the minds and hearts to make a difference.

Your gift for student support will help attract the most talented, driven students to our community. You will allow them to focus on honing their skills and making research breakthroughs by reducing their financial concerns. You will help relieve those students’ post-graduation debt burdens, enabling them to pursue the careers they feel most enthusiastic about, regardless of salary.

Please help keep SEAS affordable for current and future students. With your support, we can increase the number of students who receive fellowships, as well as the size of fellowships we grant. Your gift for student support will directly impact the individuals who receive funding and elevate the SEAS community as a whole.


SEAS leads the way in interdisciplinary, scalable, impact-driven environmental solutions. Through teaching and research, our faculty is the force behind much of our success in the sustainability arena.

Their passion is priceless. And yet, recruiting and retaining the world’s top environmental scholars requires the funds to allow them to pursue their revolutionary ideas and hypotheses not only to scientific solutions, but also to implement those solutions across the globe. Though we incubate exciting ideas and unearth novel findings, we lack ample resources to see them through. We need financial support to fully realize the impact of our community’s groundbreaking sustainability research.

Your gift for faculty talent and research will provide crucial funding for pioneering investigations in the natural sciences, social sciences, design, and engineering. You will support newly developed environmental interventions and pilot programs. And you will help move the global conversation forward on topics as fundamental as water, food, energy, climate, and habitat. If you have a passion for bringing about positive environmental change, please consider a gift to this campaign priority.


At SEAS, we put students first. After all, we are training the next generation of environmental leaders, the very professionals who have the potential to shape our planet’s future.

To transform passionate, eager students into empowered sustainability experts, the SEAS curriculum combines traditional classroom learning with innovative teaching methods in the lab, across the University of Michigan’s expansive landscape of nature preserves, and around the world through handcrafted internships and research projects. The outcomes of this approach are extremely worthwhile, but also extremely costly.

You can help increase the number of courses that employ out-of-the-box teaching methods. You can help launch new courses that meet emerging needs. And you can provide students with skills and experiences that give them a competitive advantage in the workplace. By making a gift for curriculum innovation, you will enable pedagogical creativity to continue at SEAS.


Expendable, unrestricted gifts to the annual fund form a foundation of support for initiatives such as student internships, scholarships, instructional resources, plus funding for enriching opportunities such as conference travel, master's project/theses, and pushing research projects to completion.

In addition, contributions to this campaign priority may be designated to facilities upkeep and enhancements. This means keeping the century-old, LEED gold certified Samuel T. Dana Building – home away from home for our students, faculty, and researchers – humming with the latest technology and resources to support our community.

Your gift will be used immediately to address the school’s most urgent needs and promising opportunities. Designate your gift to our critical annual fund, which forms a foundation of support for initiatives such as student internships and instructional resources. Or consider a contribution to facilities upgrades and help us maintain the most advanced classrooms, labs, and natural preserves in the nation.


For more information, please contact Scott C. Bertschy, Director of Development and Alumni Relations.