University of Michigan

Parent & Family Giving — Impact Stories

Supporting students from foster care

Joseph Sedlak

Joseph Sedlak

Mark J. and Barbara A. Gerson of East Grand Rapids, Michigan, understand the importance of ensuring the continuation of a distinguished faculty and an endless variety of academic options.

They have been supportive of the university, with a gift of $100,000 benefitting the Blavin Scholars Program as well as the Career Planning and Placement Fund.

The Blavin Scholars Program benefits students from foster care through scholarship and provides a strong community that supports the students’ success; students like Joseph Sedlak.

Joseph and his siblings grew up in foster care in Southeast Michigan, in a community where there wasn’t a strong emphasis on education. Despite many disadvantages, Joseph did well in high school and, on the advice of his sister, applied to the university. With help of the Blavin Scholars program, Joseph was not only able to afford a Michigan education but received the additional funding for basic college needs—such as a computer and living necessities—and support from a group of students, coaches, and mentors to help him on his journey through school.

The Gersons’ involvement with U-M doesn’t stop there. They are also emeritus members of the Parent Council.

Barbara is a Michigan native and a graduate of Michigan State University. Mark was raised in Mexico City. He later moved to Los Angeles and attended the University of Southern California. The couple recently relocated from LA to East Grand Rapids with their children.


Making student life more fulfilling

Deja Anderson

Deja Anderson

Parents, Bob and Lisa Bowman of Westport, Connecticut, are committed to the enrichment of young people and to providing them with a Michigan education

“These are some of the most important and exciting years of young people’s lives. Anything that we can do to make this time even better—for our own child and for others—we want to be a part of that.” said the Bowmans.

Through the establishment of the Lisa and Bob Bowman Resident Advisor Scholarship Fund, the Bowmans provide support for room and board for students working as residential advisors with Student Life housing. The scholarship was matched through the Michigan Matching Initiative for Student Support. The Bowmans also supported the North Quad Residential and Academic Facility Complex Fund.

Deja Anderson, a junior studying psychology, joined the resident staff of North Quad her freshman year in 2013. As a recent Resident Coordinator, Deja was excited about the awesome impact she could have in North Quad to make the residence hall experience even better for students. She says that because of the generous gift from the Bowmans, “North Quad residents will have the opportunity to experience more events that will be beneficial to their future endeavors and impactful to their living experience in North Quad.”

In honor of their support, the Tower room of the North Quad Residential and Academic Complex was named the Lisa and Bob Bowman Room.

Bob Bowman is president of Business & Media of Major League Baseball (MLB). He was formerly the organization’s CEO of MLB Advanced Media. Before joining MLB, Bob was president and CEO of Cyberian Outpost, Inc.; president and chief operating officer of ITT Corporation; and also served as ITT’s chief financial officer. From 1983–1990, Bob was also Michigan State Treasurer. He and Lisa have served on the Parent & Family Development Leadership Council for four years.

The Regents of the University of Michigan has 501(c)(3) non-profit tax exempt status; our federal tax ID number is 38-6006309.

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Gifts to endowment will be administered as a permanent endowment under Michigan law and University policies.
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