Remembering A. Alfred Taubman

April 20, 2015  //  FOUND IN: Announcements, Our Employees,

The U-M Health System lost one of its biggest supporters with the passing of A. Alfred Taubman on Friday. Alfred Taubman (Taubman College ’48; LLD Hon ’91) of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., died of a heart attack at the age of 91.

Taubman was a retail visionary who pioneered the concept of the modern shopping mall, made his mark as a transformative philanthropist at Michigan, and studied architecture before and after his service in World War II.

He demonstrated his commitment to the U-M Health System and the entire University community with many monetary gifts as well as energy, expertise and leadership. His support of innovative medical science at U-M funded efforts to find better treatments and cures for a wide variety of human diseases.  He frequently attended scientific symposia and meetings at the U-M Health System and research buildings, and was looked upon as a mentor and friend by some of U-M’s most accomplished medical scientists.

His major contributions toward advancing medical care and research include:

  • A. Alfred Taubman Health Care Center. Attached to University Hospital, this facility houses state-of-the-art specialty clinics and outpatient services including surgical clinics, gastroenterology, general medicine, pulmonary medicine, nephrology, infectious diseases and overseas travel, medical genetics and rheumatology. Also available on-site are a pharmacy and MLab blood draw station for lab work.
  • Taubman Health Sciences Library. The library serves medical students and the entire community with specialized medical library services and learning space. U-M’s health sciences librarians offer a range of services, and continue to help students, faculty and staff in all of U-M’s health-related schools find and access the information they need.
  • A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building. Named in recognition of Taubman’s transformative 2011 gift to the Taubman Medical Research Institute, this building now serves as home to a wide variety of Medical School research laboratories. Taubman’s gift is added to an endowment whose earnings will fund the Taubman Institute and the research of scientists named as Taubman Scholars within the institute for generations to come.
  • A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute. Established in the U-M Medical School in 2008, the institute’s mission is to provide the university’s finest medical scientists the freedom, resources and collaborative environment they need to push the boundaries of medical discovery, to produce breakthroughs in cures and treatment of disease, and ultimately to alleviate human suffering. These are leading U-M faculty members who are both laboratory scientists and physicians with active clinical practices, which makes the Taubman Institute one of the most unique medical research organizations in the United States.

“Many of us who knew and worked with Mr. Taubman are deeply grieving his passing. But at the same time we are grateful for his extreme generosity, wise leadership and limitless ability to make change happen,” said Eva L. Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., director of the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at the University of Michigan. “The immeasurable benefits his work will bring to future generations will be the legacy of his passion, his inspiration and his unmatched ability to achieve grand results.”

Other notable U-M donations from Taubman include $30 million for the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, given in 1999, to create an endowment that supports student scholarships and faculty appointments. The College was named in his honor in 1999. In March 2014, he committed an additional $12.5 million to help fund an expansion and renovation project that will provide new state-of-the-art facilities in Taubman College. In recognition of this significant commitment from Taubman toward construction of the expansion and renovation of the Art and Architecture Building, the new wing will be named the A. Alfred Taubman Wing. Ground was broken on this project this past week, with Taubman attending the ceremony and making remarks.

His other gifts have supported the Alfred Taubman Scholarship in the Office of Financial Aid, the Taubman Program in American Institutions in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and the U-M Museum of Art, which hosts the A. Alfred Taubman Galleries.

Taubman received the David B. Hermelin Award for Fundraising Volunteer Leadership in 2009, which celebrates exceptional volunteer service to the university. He received the university’s highest award, an honorary degree, in 1991.

Taubman was currently serving as a campaign vice chair for the University of Michigan Victors for Michigan campaign—a $4 billion fundraising campaign to support three university priorities: student scholarships and fellowships, engaged learning, and bold ideas. He was also co-chairing the U-M Health System’s component of the campaign.

According to the Ira Kaufman Chapel — the company handling the services — a private family service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 21, at the Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield, but the services will be streamed online. The interment will be at a private family service at Clover Hill Park Cemetery in Birmingham.

Following the ceremony, the family is inviting friends to join for a gathering at the Townsend hotel in Birmingham from 12:30-3:30 p.m. and from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Additionally, the family has set aside three hours on Wednesday, April 22, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., to welcome friends. A religious service will be held at the venue on both days starting at 7 p.m.