Former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr was honored Saturday night with a surprise gift from long-time athletics donor Al Glick – a gift that will result in the naming of the pediatric cancer unit at the new U-M C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital opening this November.
Jackson business owner Al Glick - president of Jackson-based Alro Steel Corp. - and who the Wolverine indoor practice facility the Al Glick Field House is named after, donated the funds for the gift. The gift was announced during the Griese, Hutchinson, Woodson Dinner Gala on Saturday night that is a part of a dinner-golf weekend the former U-M players created in 2009.
Brian Griese, Steve Hutchinson and Charles Woodson led the University of Michigan to a national championship in 1997 under Coach Carr. The annual event has raised over $7.1 million for Mott since its inception and $4.8 million this year.
Glick gave the $3 million gift to Mott as part of a larger gift to the university. The Mott portion will be used to name the cancer unit in honor of Carr, who coached the Michigan football team for 13 years before his retirement after 2007. The Coach Carr Pediatric Cancer Unit will be on the 7th floor of the new Mott hospital.
“Lloyd has spent so much time at Mott Hospital and is well deserving of this honor, as well as the College Football Hall of Fame induction," Glick says. "Our family is proud to honor Lloyd in this way for both his passion for Mott Hospital and Michigan Football.”
Following the award presentation, Carr says the recognition caught him off guard.
“I cannot adequately express how I felt,” Carr says. “It’s overwhelming. The generosity of those who worked to make it happen and those who contributed fills me with appreciation, gratitude and thankfulness.”
The $754 million hospital project, the largest in the state, has received no state or federal funding and is being funded from hospital reserves as well $75 million from philanthropy. The 1.1 million square foot, 348-bed facility will house the Mott Children’s Hospital, the Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, and adult and pediatric blood and marrow transplant programs. It will feature a new 12-story inpatient tower and 9-story clinic tower, a dedicated pediatric emergency department, an on-site Ronald McDonald House, private rooms and many other amenities.
Valerie Castle, M.D., Ravitz professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases and a pediatric oncologist, says the naming is a point of honor for those who work in the cancer unit.
“Coach Carr has been an inspiration to me and all of my colleagues and staff on the Mott Pediatric Oncology Unit and in the Cancer Center. Having our floor named in his honor is simply fantastic. Coach Carr makes regular visits to the unit to see our patients and he has had a long tradition of working hard to generate awareness and support for cancer research and care. I know I speak for all of my colleagues and our patients in stating we could not be more proud to know our new unit will be named after him.”
Carr, who has been a leading figure over the years in raising awareness about Mott hospital, also learned during the Saturday night that former players and coaches raised $750,000 for Mott through a newly-created fund called the Coach Carr Mountaintop Fund.
Griese, Hutchinson and Woodson formed the Coach Carr Mountaintop Fund after learning about the Glick family gift. They named it the Mountaintop gift based on an experience they shared with Carr.
In August 1997, Coach Carr gathered his team in front Schembechler Hall and read from the book “Into Thin Air,” which carries the message “that in order to reach a Mountain Top Experience, we’ve got to find a cause greater than ourselves.”
The Mountain Top Fund will directly support Mott patients and families during their most difficult times.
"This fund honors one of the outstanding leaders in the rich history of the University of Michigan,” says Griese about the Mountain Top Fund. “ Lloyd Carr has made an incredible impact on many student athletes in his 27 years at Michigan, and now his passion and determination will extend to the children at Mott Children's Hospital for many years to come."
The weekend, which began with the WTKA radio-a-thon, raised over $4.8 million for Mott. Funds raised include the following:
- $105,000 - from the Radio-a-Thon which benefits the Charles Woodson Research Fund
- over $39,500 from a silent auction
- over $200,000 from a live auction
- $185,000 - from a Football toss which benefits the Coach Carr Mountaintop Fund ($750,000 raised ahead of time)
- $497,000 from tournament sponsorships
The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked as one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in eight pediatric specialties in the U.S. News Media Group’s 2010 edition of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals” and is Congenital Heart Program has been ranked 4th in the country for years in a row. In November, the hospital moves to a new 1.1 million square feet, $754 million state-of-the-art facility that will be home to cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.
-- Written by Margarita B. Wagerson