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Celebrating a Century of Exceptional Michigan Ross Graduates

Photo collage of the 15 Michigan Ross alumni who are featured in the story.

What do a muscle car inventor, a wine entrepreneur, and a knight have in common? They’re all graduates of the Ross School of Business. As we celebrate the Michigan Ross Centennial, we’re taking this opportunity to share some of the many accomplished—and sometimes famous—graduates of the school over the decades. 


Eugene Barnum Power, BA ’27, MBA ’30 - Preservation Pioneer 

Black and white photo of a man wearing glasses and a dark suit

Born in 1905 in Traverse City, Michigan, Power was a University of Michigan graduate and a significant figure in the modern microfilm industry. An inventor and entrepreneur interested in history, art, and technology, he founded University Microfilms International in 1938, making microfilm technology widely accessible. During World War II, Power played a crucial role in the OSS, microfilming numerous rare books and manuscripts in British libraries to preserve them and facilitate access for American scholars. He was eventually knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his preservation efforts. Power proposed the revolutionary concept of "editions of one" - reproducing text content on demand. This innovation led to the merger of University Microfilms with the Xerox Corporation in 1962, where Power served until his retirement in 1970. Outside his business activities, Power was involved in philanthropy, establishing a family foundation, providing scholarships, and helping preserve the Battle of Hastings historical site in England.


William Davidson, BBA ’47 - Glass Baron and Global Change Advocate
Photo of a man with white hair smiling and wearing a navy blue suit.

Detroit-born Davidson served in the Navy during World War II before receiving his BBA in 1947 and a JD from Wayne State University in 1949. After practicing law for three years, he transitioned to business, becoming the president of Guardian Glass Company in 1957 and transforming it into one of the world's leading glass product manufacturers. In 1974, he became the managing partner of the Detroit Pistons and the majority owner of Palace Sports and Entertainment, steering the Detroit Sharks and Tampa Bay Lightning to world championships. Davidson, a renowned philanthropist, donated more than $200 million to regional and international charities and universities. In 1992, he partnered with the University of Michigan to create the William Davidson Institute, an independent nonprofit educational organization. 


John Delorean, MBA ’57 - Film-Enshrined Entrepreneur
Photo of John Delorean, man with gray hair and dark eyebrows wearing a black suit with a white shirt.

DeLorean, a native Detroiter, is notable for his contributions as an automotive engineer, introducing the concept of the "muscle car." He earned a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering in 1948 before moving on to a career at Chrysler. DeLorean obtained a master’s degree in automotive engineering and pursued an MBA, graduating in 1957. He progressed from Chrysler to Packard Motor Company and eventually to General Motors, where he revitalized the Pontiac division and introduced the iconic GTO. In 1973, DeLorean left GM to establish the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC). In 1985, his company’s work entered pop culture eternity when Marty McFly and Doc Brown used a DMC DeLorean sports car for the time-traveling “Back to the Future” film series.


Ronald Johnson, BBA ’69 - Football Hall-of-Famer
Photo of Ron Johnson wearing a blue football uniform with yellow number 40.

One of the greatest football players in U-M history, Detroit-born Ronald Johnson became the first African American captain for the Wolverines in 1968. During his university career, he achieved many records and honors, including the Big Ten MVP and All-American. After earning his BBA in 1969, Johnson was drafted by the Cleveland Browns. He later joined the New York Giants, appearing in two Pro Bowls and achieving more than 1,000 rushing yards in 1970 and 1972. Johnson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.


John M. Fahey Jr., MBA ’75 - Media Maverick
Photo of John Fahey with gray hair wearing a light pink shirt

Chairman emeritus of the National Geographic Society, Fahey served as its president from 1998–2010 and CEO 1998–2013. He spearheaded the organization’s diversification into cable television, magazine growth, and digital media content. Fahey played a key role in developing the Society's literacy initiatives and mission programs like Explorers-in-Residence, Fellows, and the Genographic Project. Previously, he held leadership positions at Time Life Inc. and HBO. In 2014, President Obama appointed him to the Smithsonian Board of Regents for a six-year term.

Douglas F. Meijer, BBA ’76 - Grocery Giant 

Photo of Douglas Meijer wearing glasses and wearing a black suit and a striped shirt with a yellow tie.

Born in 1955 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Douglas Meijer is the grandson of Meijer supermarket chain founder, Hendrik Meijer. He co-owns the family business with brothers, Hank and Mark, served as co-CEO with Hank from 1990-2017, and sits on the board with both brothers. Meijer Inc. is credited with opening the first American “supermarket,” and in 2023 was ranked by Forbes as the country’s 16th-largest private company.



Bharat Desai, MBA ’81 - Innovation Accelerator

Photo of Bharat Desai with dark hair wearing a light blue button up shirt. Kenyan-born Desai, chairman and co-founder of Syntel, a multinational IT services company, immigrated to the United States in 1976. Established from his apartment in Michigan, alongside his wife Neerja, Syntel now employs more than 24,000 people worldwide with a market cap of around $4 billion. Through the Desai Sethi Family Foundation, Bharat and his family support entrepreneurship and innovation programs at several leading institutions, including the U-M Desai Accelerator.

Stacey D. Stewart - MBA, ’87 - Adept Advocate

Photo of Stacy Stewart with short dark hair wearing a navy blue suit jacket

CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Stewart has more than 25 years of experience in purpose-driven roles, including leadership positions at United Way Worldwide, Fannie Mae Foundation, and March of Dimes. Stewart has held positions on more than 40 nonprofit boards, including Independent Sector, the Bipartisan Policy Center, and the Women’s Congressional Policy Institute. She also founded the SportsMom Foundation, dedicated to assisting female student-athletes from underprivileged communities.


Adam D. Lilling, BBA ’92 - Dealing Dynamo

Photo of Adam Lilling with short gray hair wearing a dark purple suit jacket with a black shirt.

Named by The Hollywood Reporter as a “Top Dealmaker of 2022,” Lilling is an early internet entrepreneur, serial investor, and financial advisor to the stars. He is recognized for his early role in the development of online music business and e-commerce practices. In 1995, he founded Pentagon CDs and Tapes, an internet music retailer. Lilling also co-founded entertainment ad network BiggerBoat and startup accelerator Launchpad LA, where he currently serves as a director. Called one of the “12 Entrepreneurs Changing LA Forever” by Forbes, he also established celebrity venture advisory firm PLUS Capital and counts Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Ellen DeGeneres, and Matthew McConaughey among his clients.


Jerry White, MBA ’05 - Resilient Reformer 

Photo of Jerry White smiling and wearing a black suit with a white shirt and a patterned tie.

While studying abroad in Jerusalem, White lost his lower right leg after stepping on a landmine during a backpacking trip in 1984. The mine was laid during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. This incident fueled his international activism against landmines, leading to his involvement in three significant international treaties: the Landmine Ban Treaty, the U.N. Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Cluster Munitions Ban. White, a Nobel Peace laureate, senior Ashoka Fellow, award-winning teacher, and former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, has dedicated more than 25 years to implementing transformative campaigns with a focus on civilian security and preventing mass destruction.

Yumna Jawad, BBA ’04 - Feel Good Foodie

Photo of Yumna Jawad with long dark hair wearing a white shirt and smiling

Jawad, known by millions of her followers as @feelgoodfoodie, is the CEO and founder of the 15-year-old brand and shares her “healthy-ish #SoGood” recipes on various social media platforms. Born in Africa to Lebanese parents, she moved to Michigan at a young age. After graduating from U-M, she started sharing recipes as a hobby. Her work has been showcased by major media outlets such as Live with Kelly & Ryan, The Today Show, and The New York Times.


Hao Wu, MBA ’00 - Dynamic Documentarian

Photo Hao Wu wearing glasses and a gray suit with a white shirt.

Chinese-American filmmaker Hao Wu, best known for award-winning documentaries like People's Republic of Desire and Netflix's All in My Family, received acclaim for 76 Days, a 2020 film highlighting COVID-19's early impact in Wuhan, China. Wu transitioned from a molecular biologist to a technology executive and later pursued filmmaking full-time in 2011. His work on 76 Days, which centers on human stories rather than a political narrative, earned Wu a 2021 Peabody and an Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking.

Richard Lui, ’01 - Altruistic Anchor

Photo of Richard Lui with dark hair smiling and wearing a tan suit jacket with a white shirt.

Lui, an accomplished news anchor, journalist, and producer with associations like CNN, MSNBC, NBC News, and USA Today, was the first Asian American male to anchor a daily national cable news program in 2007. Before journalism, he spent 15 years in the business and tech sectors, even co-founding the first bank-centric payment system. He took a step back from his broadcasting career in 2013 to care for his Alzheimer's-stricken father, leading him to write a guidebook on living a selfless life, Enough About Me: The Unexpected Power of Selflessness.


Cynthia Yih Shih, MBA ’13 - Songstress of Sustainability
Photo of Cynthia Shih with a long dark braid wearing a flower patterned shirt.

Shih, better known by her stage name Vienna Teng, is a climate action advisor and musician based in Washington, D.C. Formerly a software engineer at Cisco Systems, Teng pursued a full-time music career in 2002, releasing five studio albums and gaining national exposure on platforms like NPR and CBS's Late Show with David Letterman. Her multilingual repertoire blends folk, pop, classical piano, and a cappella. Teng currently works with the Global Insights & Knowledge team at Delterra, an environmental nonprofit organization.


Kaitlyn Lo, MBA ’21 - Vineyard Visionary
Photo of Kaitlyn Lo with long dark hair wearing a black shirt and smiling.

Lo grew up in California where wine was always a big part of her life. Now she’s the founder of Just Enough Wines, a San Francisco-based premium canned wine startup named among 2021's Most Disruptive MBA Startups by Poets&Quants. Supported by Michigan Ross entrepreneurship programs including the Zell Founders Fund, Lo capitalized on the trend of transitioning alcoholic beverages to cans and currently sells wine in more than 100 retail locations.


As Michigan Ross enters the next century, we look forward to future generations of graduates making a name for themselves around the world.