By Stella Wixom, Senior Executive Director

Our team at the University of Michigan Business Engagement Center was founded over 12 years ago to create a centralized place for companies to access the university. We work tirelessly to match priorities of individual organizations to areas on campus that offer opportunities to engage and collaborate for win-win strategic partnerships.

We’re good at what we do, and we’re extremely happy to count over 1,100 companies as partners in research, student engagement, strategic philanthropy and recruiting.

Stella Wixom 2018 Photo

Stella Wixom, Senior Executive Director of the Business Engagement Center

In today’s public health crisis, with stock markets hitting record lows, businesses shuttered and employees working from home, companies bear a burden that many have never felt.

The same companies that we have built deep relationships with are now pivoting their priorities in light of the seismic shift in the economy. This creates challenges for them that we can only begin to understand.

Knowing that public universities like the University of Michigan are facing our own economic uncertainties, we can begin to understand the challenges that corporate leaders face.

Our partners are shifting gears, to be sure, but they are doing unprecedented things in these unprecedented times.

Ford, GM, and many other leading automotive and manufacturing companies have retooled their manufacturing facilities to churn out thousands of face shields and ventilators for health care workers on the front lines of caring for COVID-19 patients, which the U-M Hospital has received. 

F500 companies are giving billions to fund research, small business needs, crisis relief programs and so much more. Smaller companies are donating PPE and giving to local community non-profits.

Closer to home, other organizations, including many financial services companies like the University of Michigan Credit Union and PNC bank are giving financial support to Michigan Medicine’s greatest needs.

Our corporate partners’ quick responses to the urgent needs facing our country is a testament to their sense of responsibility to the community. It shows U-M that we’re collaborating with organizations that share our goal of making a difference in our world.

The University of Michigan is a mission-driven academic institution seeking solutions to the world’s greatest problems. Our corporate partners have a variety of different missions, but the way they are living them out now is a great reason for us to be proud to call these organizations a part of the Michigan family.

To our corporate partners, global or local, in every industry, we thank you for your commitment to caring for our communities right now. Thank you for your support to critical needs in health care, community organizations, and the University of Michigan.