$5 Million Donation Helps Fund New Center for Automotive and Mobility Studies

June 10, 2024
The gift was publicly announced during the June 6 President's Freedom Celebration at Northwood University.

Northwood University announced a $5 million gift from Dr. Alan Jay Wildstein, founder, president, and CEO of the Alan Jay Automotive Network, according to a news release.

This generous donation will help fund the construction of the new building that will replace the current N.A.D.A. Hotel and Conference Center and house a new Center for Automotive & Mobility Studies (CAMS).  

"Alan Jay Wildstein's generous gift will empower generations of students to pursue their passion in automotive marketing and management, as well as aftermarket management," Northwood President Kent MacDonald said. "The Center for Automotive & Mobility Studies is a landmark project that will solidify Northwood University's position as a leader in automotive education and innovation."

The $5 million gift was publicly announced during the June 6 President's Freedom Celebration at Northwood University. The funds will comprise over 30% of the project's estimated cost. Conversations are ongoing with other entities to raise the remainder of the funds, and opportunities exist for additional donors to join this historic project. Northwood plans to share more information on Oct. 4, 2024, during the Northwood University International Auto Show in Midland, Michigan.

The new facility will be one of the largest construction projects in Northwood's history. It will feature state-of-the-art facilities, including academic classrooms, a conference center, upgraded hotel accommodations, and an inviting lobby.

"Dr. Wildstein's commitment to Northwood University is an investment in the future of automotive education, as this new facility will provide unparalleled opportunities for Northwood students to gain hands-on experience and connect with industry leaders," said Matthew Bennett, vice president of strategic alliances and the Center for Automotive & Mobility Studies. "We are excited to work with Alan Jay Wildstein and our partners to bring this vision to life." 

Wildstein, a alumnus of Northwood University's Class of 1989, expressed his deep personal connection and enthusiasm for supporting his alma mater. "Northwood University played a significant role in shaping my career in the automotive industry," Wildstein said. "I am honored to give back to the university and help create a cutting-edge facility that will benefit students for years to come." 

In recognition of his generosity, the new facility will bear the name of Alan Jay Wildstein. Additionally, two academic classrooms within the Center will be named in honor of Michael Witham and Larry and Diane Wildstein.

Now in its 32nd year, the Alan Jay Automotive Network grew from one dealership into multiple locations throughout southern Florida and Michigan. The network donates to hundreds of organizations, events, and individuals annually.

The Alan Jay Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts is his namesake because of his generous endowment to South Florida State College.

One of Alan's greatest achievements was being honored as one of six Ford dealers globally to win the 2017 Salute to Dealers recognition, selected and presented by the Ford family.

In 2022, he was presented an honorary doctorate from Northwood University. This is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by a university.

"Alan's philanthropy and accolades are immeasurable, and the fact that his entrepreneurial spirit and service have bettered the lives of others will inspire countless future Northwood students," Bennett added.

Construction of the new facility will begin once architectural plans are finalized, which is expected to be in the coming months. The goal is to construct the facility within the next two years, with the Center for Automotive & Mobility Studies fully operational by 2026.

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FenderBender Staff Reporters

The FenderBender staff reporters have a combined two-plus decades of journalism and collision repair experience.

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