In 1982, Mitch Mondry and his roommates graduated from the University of Michigan and threw—in their words—one last epic party. They donned their finest suits and velvet pants, invited everyone they knew, and packed Dooley’s (now Scorekeepers) to capacity. They called the party “The Major Gig,” and major it was.
Three decades later, those same friends have come together for another major effort: to make a difference at the school they love.
Feeling inspired by Giving Blueday, U-M’s first 24-hour giving marathon, and the 35th anniversary of his first year at U-M, Mondry had an idea: What if he and his friends joined together to create a scholarship that would help students with financial need enjoy the same incredible experiences he and his friends had as undergraduates? Mondry reasoned that if they each pitched in, together they could raise $100,000, enough to qualify for a presidential match and endow a scholarship in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts forever. So he sent an email with his proposal to a few of those college roommates, including Jeff Goodman, Michael Miller, John Gottesman, Alan Schram, Jimmy Yaffe, and Steve Cicurel. They loved the idea.
“We were all lucky to get into Michigan, to have many great times, and to be able to afford it,” says Mondry. “We thought we’d like to help the really bright, energetic, and ambitious students who want a quality U-M education but are held back for financial reasons.”
And so the “Major Gig Scholarship” was born—a collective gift that honors their friendship and that legendary party, as well as their undergraduate experiences in LSA. It will give new students the chance to have their own exciting undergraduate experiences and to build lasting partnerships like that of Mondry and his friends.
As they came together to create the scholarship, the friends recalled some of the moments at Michigan that cemented their passions and ignited their careers, like the Communications Studies course that inspired James Yaffe to go into digital media. Mondry reminisced about his first time studying on the Diag with his future wife, watching protesters, Frisbee players, and students all mingling together, thinking that there could be no better place to go to college.
Now, Mondry and his roommates are planning a sequel to the Major Gig: an Ann Arbor reunion to celebrate the group’s enduring bond and their brand-new scholarship. As Mondry and his friends prove, when Michigan alumni and friends come together, they have the power to change the lives of students—and through them, the world.
And also that a good party doesn’t have to end.