University of Michigan-Flint

University of Michigan-Flint News

UM-Flint receives largest alumnus gift

  • May 27th, 2010 By: UM-Flint News

The Skinny

His degree was in a field he loved, physics. He started out as a teacher, but turned to insurance for a more stable future after the schools he worked at would lay him off in the spring, and then rehire him in August. Yet David Zick always said that if it wasn’t for what he learned as a physics major, he would never have been able to achieve success in the insurance industry. Zick is the president and founder of Bingham Farms, Michigan-based Group Associates. He and his wife Francine are long-time supporters of UM-Flint. Now, the 1973 graduate wants to give-back in a big way—a pledge of $1.4 million dollars. This, added to previous gifts, brings the Zicks’ support to over $2 million.

His degree was in a field he loved, physics. He started out as a teacher, but turned to insurance for a more stable future after the schools he worked at would lay him off in the spring, and then rehire him in August. Yet David Zick always said that if it wasn’t for what he learned as a physics major, he would never have been able to achieve success in the insurance industry. Zick is the president and founder of Bingham Farms, Michigan-based Group Associates.


David and Francine are interviewed by local TVHe and his wife Francine are long-time supporters of UM-Flint. Now, the 1973 graduate wants to give-back in a big way—a pledge of $1.4 million dollars. This, added to previous gifts, brings the Zicks’ support to over $2 million.

“This is a special day. We now have the first alumnus to make a million dollar gift to the University of Michigan-Flint,” said Chancellor Ruth J. Person.

“This can only be described as a ‘transformative gift’ to the Physics program,” said D.J. Trela, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The generosity of David and his wife, Francine, can be seen in the David G. Zick Physics Scholarship Fund, in the Francine Zick Nursing Research Fund, and in the William and Margaret Zick scholarship as well as in several other funds that support the Physics program. This gift will support a state-of-the-art classroom, support deserving students, and bring faculty and students together in innovative research collaborations.”

In addition to continued significant support for the David G. Zick Physics Scholarship, the new funds will support additional projects:

· The David G. Zick Active Learning Classroom

o Over the next two years a classroom will be renovated and equipped in a way that will transform the way Physics and Engineering are taught.

· The David G. Zick Physics Lectureship Fund

o This will, initially, support high quality physics instruction and also allow the program to invite notable personalities to campus to provide lectures, including Nobel laureates.

· The David G. Zick Physics Equipment and Research Fund

o This fund will support the purchase of equipment for student and faculty research. It may also be used for stipends for students to participate in research.

· The Francine Zick Nursing Scholarship

o This provides much-needed tuition support for undergraduate nursing students.

In December 2009, Zick was UM-Flint’s keynote commencement speaker. In his address to the graduates, he focused on the importance of giving back.

“Without the support of generous benefactors, I would not have received the scholarships that made the dream of a college degree a reality,” said Zick. “These are not easy times, and no one can tell for certain when the economic climate will improve.”

“With many indicators showing that contributions to universities are down, David and Francine have chosen the perfect time to make such a generous gift,” said Chancellor Person

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