Brandon's Blog: Thank-A-Thon Brings Together The Team
Men's Tennis (from left): Michael Zhu, Alex Petrone, Evan King

March 26, 2012

University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon will regularly offer his view on a variety of topics related to U-M and intercollegiate sports. All his posts, along with links to related content, will be available on his page,, and he is also on Twitter at @DaveBrandonAD.

When Bo Schembechler talked about "The Team, The Team, The Team," he initially used those words to teach an important lesson to his football players. Those six words set the tone for what Bo talked about every day: the need to be unselfish and work together for the greater good of Michigan.

As the legend of Bo grew, those "six words" also grew. The Team, The Team, The Team is now one of our eight guiding principles at Michigan Athletics.

Now with 29 sports, many needed upgrades in facilities, projected revenues in excess of $125 million, and working to win Big Ten and NCAA championships, The Team, The Team, The Team must continue to grow!

A major part of our growth is a result of individuals who support our student-athletes through their generous support of our work. Their donations are a critical aspect of our team effort -- not only to help us grow and remain financially self-supporting (another one of our guiding principles), but more importantly to help the department create positive academic and athletic experiences for our student-athletes and prepare them to be successful in life (another one of our guiding principles!).

To help show how grateful our teams are for this support, we asked the student-athletes to lend us a hand to thank so many of our donors. One week ago, we held the second annual Michigan Student-Athlete Thank-A-Thon in the Stephen M. Ross Academic Center. Almost 200 students representing all of our sports responded to our invitation to compose handwritten letters of appreciation to more than 1,600 donors.

The student-athletes interjected their personal heartfelt thanks as they wrote the letters.

The event also educated each student-athlete on the impact our donors have not only on their sport but also on their education.

It was refreshing to note how many of our student-athletes wanted to know more about the giving programs, the number of athletic department donors, and the reasons our donors are so eager to show their support for what we do.

The Michigan Student-Athlete Thank-A-Thon helps our student-athletes better understand who our donors are and why they are so important to us. And I hope their notes to our donors help them better appreciate the terrific young men and women we have representing our university.

After our current student-athletes witness firsthand the importance of donors' generosity, we hope they will be motivated to continue their support of Michigan Athletics when they are able after graduation.

As we work to pay down our current debt as well as fund the additional projects and programs that will be so important to our future, the support our donors provide has never been as crucial or more deeply appreciated. This makes it equally important to recognize and celebrate their continued generosity in every possible way.

The Thank-A-Thon is just one of the activities we will coordinate to help us continue to grow, win championships and graduate our student-athletes. And we will take advantage of every possible opportunity to remind our donors that they are an integral part of our past, present and future success.

Our donors are an important part of The Team, The Team, The Team! Whether your support comes in the form of tickets to our events, preferred seat donations, club seats, suites, or donations for facilities, programs or endowments, THANK YOU!!

Go Blue!

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