Happy (fiscal) new year

June 16, 2022

This month brings a transition in leadership among the Board of Regents.

Regent Jordan Acker has completed his service as our chair. I want to thank him for his leadership during a most unusual year. I have appreciated his counsel over these past several months and his commitment to keeping the University moving forward.

Succeeding Regent Acker will be Regent Paul Brown, who will chair his first meeting in July. It’s quite fitting that our meeting next month will be in northern Michigan, where Regent Brown grew up and where his family has made such an impact through the decades. The July meeting will take place in St. Ignace, making it the first-ever gathering of the Board of Regents in the Upper Peninsula.

I’d also like to acknowledge Regent Denise Ilitch, who recently was voted one of metro Detroit’s top philanthropists by readers of Hour Detroit magazine.

Campus health

Some 28 months ago, the University and the country began to shut down because of the coronavirus. Since February 2020, many people have worked to keep our campus community safe and informed. At the core of this effort has been the Campus Health Response Committee and a team of experts dedicated to the well-being of students, faculty, staff, and patients.

COVID-19 is still with us. But we have relaxed many of our measures and are adapting to various health protocols going forward. As we transition to a new public health structure on campus, I want to express our profound gratitude to our amazing team.

Dr. Rob Ernst has served as director of U-M’s COVID-19 Campus Health Response for the past two years, and I am delighted to announce his appointment as the University’s chief health officer. For 25 years, he has committed himself to campus health, public health, and medical administration.

Dr. Ernst will succeed Dr. Preeti Malani, who has served as our chief health officer since 2017. I am confident she never expected the challenges all of us would face. Yet she has never wavered in guaranteeing the health and well-being of the campus. As she concludes her role, she will become a special adviser to the president on public health matters.

Priorities and values

With the University’s fiscal year wrapping up at the end of June, we presented our annual budgets and requests for the regents’ approval at our June 16 meeting.

These budgets represent every facet of the University enterprise across all three campuses, the health system, and athletics. They also represent our priorities and values as an institution.

We are investing in the academic and research programs that make us the country’s top public university.

We are providing additional resources for student engagement and well-being so that our students can respond to the challenges they face and achieve their fullest potential.

We are offering compensation programs for our faculty and staff, as well as student employees, that ensure we attract and retain the most talented individuals.

We are increasing support of students on all three of our campuses. For Ann Arbor, because of our continued investment in need-based financial aid, one quarter of our in-state undergraduate students will pay no tuition. And the majority will not see an increase in what they pay for tuition. The rate increase for those who can afford it will allow us to continue offering the critical financial aid programs that ensure the University is accessible to all.

This investment is a big reason why Money Magazine recently recognized the University of Michigan as the top value in the entire nation. That’s number one among more than 2,400 institutions they evaluated.

Mary Sue Coleman, PhD

(These remarks were presented to the U-M Board of Regents June 16, 2022.)


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