New provost, policies, and plans for carbon neutrality

April 23, 2022

I want to begin with news about our continuing efforts to address sexual misconduct on campus.

We are creating a Coordinated Community Response Team that will provide input and advice on our future policies, procedures, and prevention efforts that relate to sexual and gender-based misconduct.

We see this as another important step toward our vision of becoming a national leader in protecting our community from inappropriate behavior and sexual misconduct.

I want to reinforce that we will own our mistakes, learn from them, and share those lessons with all of higher education. We know that many eyes are on Michigan, and I want our University to be at the forefront of making college campuses safer, welcoming, and responsive.

Focus on the future

University presidents have the job of looking ahead, often by decades, as we position our institutions for society’s needs. I regularly say Michigan focuses on the future, and our teaching, research, and health care demonstrate that every day.

Yet our momentum and accomplishments will matter little if we do not care for our planet.

We must dramatically reduce our carbon footprint. There is no alternative: We must and will become carbon neutral.

Ten months ago, the University committed to achieving carbon neutrality across our three campuses. It is at the heart of all we do, in the lab, on campus, and in partnership with communities near and far.

It informs how we build and power our buildings, light our campuses, deploy our buses, pursue research, and make investments to fund such work. Equally important is how we give our students, staff, and faculty the knowledge and tools to bring sustainable and just practices into the world.

I’m pleased to share several significant announcements that build on our commitment.

  • We will soon be purchasing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy sources.
  • We are planning geothermal exchange systems for our buildings
  • We are purchasing electric buses
  • We are fitting more than 70 buildings across all three campuses with LED lighting

More than being exciting, these climate action efforts are critically important to our collective future.

Many, many people across campus are working to take decisive actions toward meeting our commitments and goals, notably Drew Horning and Lydia Whitbeck. Drew served as administrative director of the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality and is special adviser to the president for our carbon neutrality strategy. Lydia is the project manager for this comprehensive strategy.

The Commission on Carbon Neutrality’s report serves as our roadmap, and I know Drew and Lydia are driving forces behind this work. Because of their commitment, and the actions of so many others on all of our campuses, I am confident that the University of Michigan will continue to take meaningful steps toward climate action.

New provost

Dr. Laurie McCauley will become provost and executive vice president for academic affairs beginning in mid-May. She is dean of the School of Dentistry, a proven academic leader, and a respected administrator.

Her expertise and experience will provide critical leadership and stability as a new president comes on board.

Laurie’s appointment also means we are preparing to say goodbye to Provost Susan Collins. She is concluding her very distinguished tenure at Michigan to become president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. We will miss Susan’s leadership, integrity, and wise counsel, both as dean of the Ford School of Public Policy and as provost. Personally, she has been a tremendous source of support in my return as president, and I am very grateful.


Mary Sue Coleman, PhD
(This content originated from a March 2022 statement to the University of Michigan Board of Regents.)


  1. Ellen Breed - 1982, 1994

    I am saddened and disgusted with the “woke” culture that has permeated my beloved U of M. I grew up in Ann Arbor, attended school there and have many family members with professional degrees from there. They would all roll over in their graves with the rubbish that is being taught there now: Woke-ism, Critical Race Theory…many more. I am a scientist and this liberal LS&A stuff is nonsensical and is taking generations of young Michigan alums in the wrong direction. There are voices of reason out here that are basically conservative in their thoughts, but not a bunch of knuckle draggers!! The principles that I grew up with were honesty, integrity, make difficult decisions but do the right thing, work hard, get an education, have a purposeful life/career (I have and still do), care about other people & help them if you are able…. It seems that what’s being taught is that all white people are racists and bad (so absurd it defies common sense), being a heterosexual means that you hate everyone who isn’t (also patently absurd), everyone who isn’t white is oppressed (what an insult to them)…you get the idea. I no longer will support University of Michigan in any manner. I am embarrassed to say that I got my education there. Makes me cry…I used to be so proud about where I went to school.


    • Elisabeth Moore - MS Nursing 1980

      Geeze Ellen. Have you been watching a lot of Fox News? I mean really you say you are a smart person. Then you should know Critical Race Theory is not taught in primary, middle school or high school. As far as woke goes I am happy to be in that category. America needs to wake up to it’s past and that means foremost facing our racial past. I live in California and have
      yet to hear anyone say all whites are racist. Open your mind up.


  2. Richard H. Ross, Sr. (Ph.D.) - 1967, 1968, 1974

    Greetings President Mary Sue Coleman, Board of Regents, Officers, Students and Staff:
    My wife and I are profoundly proud to be Alumni of the University of Michigan. “ALWAYS GO BLUE” The University’s research has been a light to the world. It was an honor to add to the research and travel to West and East Africa for my research. The University of Michigan’s Admissions Office allowed me to write a departmental interdisciplinary thesis for the “JUNIOR YEAR IN AFRICA/AFRICAN EXCHANGE PROGRAM” and the Regents funded it with three million dollars. This thesis evolved into a Center (CAAS), Department (DAAS) and a African Institute. The documentation resides in the School of Education, College of Literature, Science and the Arts and Bentley Library. Thank you. Sincerely yours, Dr. Richard H. Ross, Sr. (Ph.D.) and Dr. Theresa M. Ross, (Ph.D.). ’81.


  3. Doug Kelbaugh

    Any and every thing UM can do to fight climate change will be appreciated by our children and grandchildren.
    It’s the biggest challenge ever to face humanity. Go Blue as YOU Go Green.


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