University of Michigan’s School of Education renamed after family donates $55M

Back row, from left: Michael Marsal, Bryan Marsal (holding Liam Marsal), Tyler Kirsch and Megan Kirsch Marsal (holding Charlotte Kirsch). Bottom row, from left: Max Marsal, Alison Marsal and Kathleen Marsal. (Serge Nivelle)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan Board of Regents approved the renaming of the School of Education in recognition of gifts from the Marsal family that totaled more than $55 million.

The school is now named the Marsal Family School of Education for the family of Kathleen and Bryan Marsal and their children, Megan Kirsch Marsal and Michael Marsal.

The family has two generations of alumni from the School of Education.

“Education is the most important investment we can make, yet we see a disconnect between what our society expects from education and the respect afforded education professionals,” Kathleen Marsal said in a statement. “The survival of society relies on well-prepared educators.

“Building understanding across differences begins with educators. Providing a high-quality education for all children, which is crucial for achieving equity, begins with educators.”

The new $50 million gift from the family will support efforts to build partnerships with communities and schools, support diversity in the teaching profession and conduct research.

“With one of the largest gifts to any school or college of education in the country, the Marsal family brings resources and attention to critical efforts to improve education,” Elizabeth Birr Moje, dean of the Marsal Family School of Education and Professor of Education said in a statement.

“For more than a decade, they have joined this school’s leadership and our entire community in the belief that we can — and do — make a difference in the lives of children, youth and adults through education research, practice and policy.”

Megan Kirsch Marsal spoke about the importance of supporting teachers to avoid shortages that have been plaguing the field.

“We hope there won’t be a teacher shortage in 10 years because teachers will feel supported and valued, and teaching will be seen as a noble profession,” Kirsch Marsal said in a statement. “We are excited about U-M’s innovative approaches to teacher education, including The Michigan Education Teaching School in Detroit and extensive work with teacher educators outside of the university.”

“For more than 100 years, the school has been a premier institution for educating and empowering teachers and students,” U-M President Santa J. Ono said in a statement. “Today, with the benefit of tremendous vision and generous support, it is embarking on a new era of demonstrating how individuals and their communities can be lifted up and transformed through just and equitable approaches to education.”

Previous gifts from the family have provided future teachers with scholarships, professionally trained hundreds of teachers and created career services for graduates of the School of Education, according to a release.

Kathleen Marsal graduated in 1972 from the School of Education. The former vice president and director of taxes at Citibank, she has served for more than 10 years on its Dean’s Advisory Council.

Bryan Marsal graduated from U-M in 1973 and 1975 with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He went on to co-found the global consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal and is the company’s CEO and managing director. He is on the advisory board of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

Megan Kirsch Marsal graduated from the School of Education in 2014 and taught in Brooklyn and Harlem, New York before earning her master’s in early childhood education from Oakland University. She is currently a curriculum designer.

Michael Marsal graduated from La Salle University and is managing director and founding partner of Alvarez & Marsal Property Investments.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.