The University of Montevallo is pleased to announce its first academic endowed chair in the school’s 117-year history. Michael and Donna Grainger of Franklin, Tennessee, have made a commitment of $500,000 to the Michael E. Stephens College of Business at the University. The gift establishes the Michael J. and Donna H. Grainger Endowed Chair in Business and Accounting.
Grainger is a 1973 graduate of the University, where he received his undergraduate degree in accounting. “The University of Montevallo has a rich tradition of providing a high quality, affordable education that prepares students to succeed professionally and personally,” said Grainger. “As an alumnus, I know the importance of the education and unique experience the University of Montevallo provides. Along with my wife Donna, we have been able to see how individuals can make a profound difference on the University and its students.”
Michael and Donna are natives of Birmingham. They attended John Carroll High School, where they met. They have two children, Charlotte and Caitlin. Michael retired as President and COO of Ingram Micro, Inc., where in 1996 he led the company’s initial public offering. He had previous roles at Pricewaterhouse, Coble Systems and Ingram Industries all in Nashville, Tennessee.
Grainger serves on the UM Foundation Board and on the College of Business Advisory Board. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Ingram Industries, ScanSource, Inc., and Belkin International. One of Michael’s great passions is history. He is very involved with the Civil War Trust and serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Prior to this endowed chair, the Graingers generously supported the Center for Professional Practice in the Stephens College of Business. Steven Julaka, a 2013 graduate, commented, “The Center offered me numerous opportunities that helped me secure a job with one of the top accounting firms. The Center is an excellent resource for students in the College of Business, and it is all because of the Grainger family.”
The Graingers truly understand the impact of philanthropy on our students and especially on our faculty. Dr. Stephen Craft, Dean of the College of Business, noted, “Mike and Donna Grainger have shown tremendous leadership in their support of the Stephens College of Business. Mike Grainger was the first person to step up four years ago when we needed financial support for a newly formed Center for Professional Practice. Mike and Donna’s support has been transformative in the lives of countless students. This new endowment to support a professorship will touch students for generations to come.”
University President John W. Stewart III recognizes the significant impact this gift has on supporting UM faculty. “Endowing a Chair provides the University the capability to attract and retain top talent to work with our students. The higher-education landscape is quite competitive, and we want to ensure our students have access to learn from the best. We are grateful for the generosity and dedication of the Graingers to our talented faculty and the entire UM family.”
The gift to the University comes as the “Grainger Challenge” to support the Stephens College of Business. The Graingers will match all gifts and pledges made to the College of Business at a 2 to 1 ratio. As an incentive for recent graduates to begin giving back to their alma mater, the match will be 3 for 1 for any graduate since the year 2000. The match timeline starts now and concludes at Homecoming 2015. The goal is to establish a Stephens College of Business Endowed Distinguished Professorship with $250,000 and a $500,000 Grainger Endowed Chair in Business and Accounting.
This generous gift from the Graingers sets an example of philanthropy and passion for the Montevallo alumni, family and friends who are truly invested in the University of Montevallo’s faculty and students. Please join Mike and Donna Grainger in their challenge. Every gift matters. You may make a gift online at www.montevallo.edu/giving. For more information, contact the University Advancement Office at (205) 665-6215 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.