- All News
- Search News
- BLI announces a new Access Opportunity
- Barger Leadership Institute is moving!
- BLI Announces New Partnership with The London Idea
- Former Jet Blue CEO donates $10 million to Barger Leadership Institute
- BLI Hires a New Assistant Director
- BLI to Co-Host ‘Extreme by Design’ Film Screening, Discussion
- BLI awards Small Grant for Halfway Hijabi event
- BLI Launches New Capstone Experience
- BLI Launches New Fellows Program Structure
- Keep Calm and Lead On
- BLI Fellow Wins Wolverine Tank Pitch Contest
- BLI Congratulates Mya Haynes
- BLI Alumni Receive 2015-2016 Fulbright Honor
- The 2018 London Ideas Project is Announced
- Congrats to BLI partner Sandra Levitsky for being awarded the Golden Apple!
- Congrats to BLI Fellow and Peer Facilitator Elisabeth Benham
- Tales of Leadership: The Advanced Fellows Journey
- Welcome to the 2018 Capstone Cohort!
- BLI welcomes new director!
- BLI Across the Pond
- BLI Hosts Voting Guru Nancy Thomas
- Ram Mahalingam's award winning film to be screened at two film festivals.
- The Capstone Experience with the Migrant Education Initiative
- The Mindful Leader - Becoming an Engaged Leader
- A Weekend of Mindful Leadership
- Introducing the 2019 Capstone Teams
- The Peer Facilitator Experience
- Dinners with...
- BLI Students Start Small and Dream Big in Detroit
- From Freshman to Senior Year -- Four Years of Leadership Learning
- BLI Speaker Series: Food For Thought
- BLI Director, Ram Mahalingam featured in the Record
- Capstone Bootcamp 2019
- In a Distracted World, Solitude is Practice for Tomorrow’s Leaders
- A Conversation on Mindfulness, Bias and Racial Justice — a podcast with Ram Mahalingam
- The Mindful Leaders Retreat — Laying a Foundation
- Being a good leader is knowing when to practice gratitude
- Channeling Mindfulness
- Compassionate Leadership: Creating a Just, Inclusive and Mindful Society with Mirabai Bush
- Dinners With...
- Announcing Capstone 2020 Teams!
- Meet our 2020 Leadership Lab Teams!
- Leading Mindfully
- A Senior's Reflection on Peer Facilitating
- Expect Challenges
- Reflecting Back and Looking Forward
- From Leadership Lab, to Peer Facilitator, to Program Assistant
- Project Healthy Schools Global
- Learning to be an Effective Leader
- Leading Life with Dignity: A Challenge of Our Time
- Pause, Reflect, and Create
- What's Happening in the Lab?
- Capstone 3D Virtual Gallery
- Announcing the Break Away Podcast!
- BLI Advanced Fellow featured in M-LEAD's Leadership Lens Series!
- Two BLI Advanced Fellows Receive the Renowned MLK Spirit Award
- Stand Against Asian Violence
- BLI Hosts Alumni Panel
- Announcing the BLI's 2021 Capstone Cohort
- BLI Offers COVID-19 Hardship Grants
- ALA 175: Foundations in Leadership
- The Peer Facilitator Leadership Experience
- What's Happening in the Lab
- Capstone Boot Camp 2021
- Mindful Leader Reflection
- Learning to Lead with Compassion: A Mindful Leadership Retreat
- Okanagan Charter
- Foundations in Leadership, a Peer Facilitator Perspective
- Heart-Centered Leadership with Rebecca Irby
- Announcing the 2022 Leadership Certificate Cohort!
- Welcome the 2021-22 Mindful Leader Fellowship cohort!
- BLI Peace Leadership Retreat in Detroit
- BLI director awarded the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award
- Seithur Sanitation Initiative receives the MLK Spirit Award
- The Michigan Difference Student Leadership Awards
- Feedback is Love
- Deepening the Foundations for Equity and Renewal
- Creating Leaders – Being a Peer Facilitator at the BLI
- M-LEAD Leadership Lens Feature: Kaitlyn Colyer
- M-LEAD Leadership Lens Feature: Mya Harris
- What's Happening in the Lab
- The Leadership Certificate at the University of Michigan: Cohort 1
- Archived News
- All Events
The University of Michigan’s Barger Leadership Institute (BLI) is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a new commitment from U-M alumnus and retired JetBlue Airways Chief Executive Officer, Dave Barger. The $10 million gift will expand and sustain the Institute’s ability to develop forward-thinking leaders from the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.
In 2007, Barger provided a foundational gift to provide experiential leadership opportunities for students. The institute has since helped deliver a student experience that is defined beyond the classroom, with action-based programs that include technology start-ups, art projects, international development efforts and campus activities.
“It’s a great honor to be able to continue to support the BLI and to help expand experiential opportunities for the next generation of leaders,” said Dave Barger. “Michigan excels at preparing undergraduate students to contribute as well-rounded forward-thinking leaders and it’s a privilege to be able to support this important work.”
The gift also establishes the Richard H. Price Founders Fund at LSA, honoring the visionary leadership of Richard H. Price, the BLI’s founding director. The fund will keep the founding director’s vision alive by enabling future Institute directors to experiment with innovative programs and opportunities.
“Ten years ago, Dave Barger’s foundational gift for the BLI transformed LSA’s ability to prepare liberal arts students for important leadership roles,” said Andrew D. Martin, dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. “Dave’s generosity today will help us develop more CEOs, members of Congress, directors, innovators, and leaders of the future.”
As the BLI enters its next decade, this new endowment will help sustain and expand the programming that has enabled the Institute to help assist students become capable leaders. Barger’s additional support will enhance and expand the BLI family of programs by giving more students access to BLI resources, such as fellowships, internships, skills seminars, small group coaching and global experiences. Funding will allow the BLI to expand ongoing programs and pilot new programs, all while promoting the work underway at the Institute.
“One of the key ideas behind the BLI is that students learn how to be effective leaders not by sitting back and reading about it, but by taking their intellectual passions and interests and putting the rubber to the road,” said Jason Owen-Smith, director of the Barger Leadership Institute and Barger Leadership Institute professor. “Over the past 10 years, individual students have benefitted from the BLI through project support, study and work abroad, and access to opportunities—getting a peek behind the velvet curtain, so to speak."
"Because of Dave’s generosity, we are able to expand the scale of what we’re doing and to think very strategically about it,” said Owen-Smith. “His gift will allow us to add additional complementary lines of work to reach more students on campus.”
“The BLI provided a positive and constructive environment for me to mature my leadership skills to be ready for the next step in my life,” said Kate Marciniak, a senior in LSA. “Not only have I developed into a stronger and more effective leader, I’ve had access to incredible opportunities and transformative experiences that challenged me to grow both professionally and personally.”
About David Barger
An ardent supporter of U-M since 1987, Barger has given more than $18.0 million in support of LSA, Athletics, University Libraries, Michigan Medicine and the Alumni Association.
As part his foundational gift to the BLI in 2007, Barger established both scholarships and professorships at LSA, including The Barger Family Professorship and Barger Leadership Institute Professorship, currently held by BLI Director Owen-Smith. In addition, funding for fellows, interns, faculty and leadership partnerships has propelled the work of the BLI over the past decade.
He has also helped provide student-athletes with opportunities for academic, career and leadership development, in addition to funding Michigan Stadium renovations.
Leading by example as the BLI’s founder, Barger has also lent his expertise to multiple committees at U-M, including LSA’s Dean’s Advisory Council and Organizational Studies Committee.
In 1998, Barger was a member of JetBlue Airways founding team as President & CEO, eventually serving as the CEO for seven years. He currently serves as an Operating Partner at Connor Capital based in Santa Barbara, CA and Co-Chairs the Industry Specialists at Oaktree Transportation Infrastructure Fund.