Setting the table

October 14, 2022

Hello, Michigan Alumni:

Beyond getting to know everyone — and getting to know what the ethos and dreams and passions are of this community — one of the things that’s very clear to me is that excellence in everything Michigan does is something that is dear and important to every one of you. That’s something that attracted me first of all to Michigan: that commitment to excellence.

If you think about the core mission of the institution — the scholarship, teaching, and research — Michigan excels in each of these different areas. And I’ve heard from faculty, staff, students, and alumni that they want to make sure I do my level best to make Michigan even better, to the extent that is possible.

As the incoming president of the University of Michigan, I understand I have a very important role to play in repairing or restoring trust in the U-M community. As I said at the announcement of my selection: I have to earn that trust. And it’s something I have to earn by first listening to the community. I’ve been doing that over the past three months, and I hope that people see that I’m beginning by listening.

And although the president has a very important role to play, this is something that the whole community has to engage in. There has to be a recognition that every faculty member, every staff member, and every student leader also has to be at the table.

The biggest mistake a leader can make is to be so far away from any constituency and not be sensitive to their needs. So the way I want to lead is to continue to have those connections on a regular basis. I want people to remain justifiably proud to be part of the University of Michigan community.


Santa J. Ono, PhD

(These remarks are excerpted from a Q&A between President Ono, Michigan Today, and the University Record. They are edited for brevity.)


  1. Dale Lefever - Faculty

    I commit to praying for you each day. May God bless and strengthen you for this important task he has called you to do. Dale Lefever, Emeritus Faculty, Family Medicine


  2. Michael Sher - 1971

    Welcome to the U of M.


  3. Stacy Schmidt - 1981 (BS), 1983 (MPH), 1984 (MS)

    Welcome to Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan. Best of luck to you. Love how you’ve started your tenure. May that approach lead to your continued success and the continued success of UM. GO BLUE !


  4. Mara Wallace - 1988

    And there you have it. A master class in how to enter a long-standing community with a deeply held culture: with humility, confidence, and a beginner’s mind. I am enormously optimistic about the future with this guy at the helm. Welcome, Dr. Ono – and Go BLUE!


  5. Jay Gerak - 1984 (AB) 1987 (JD)

    Welcome to Michigan, President Ono! Based on your Tweets over the past several weeks, you’ve obviously gone out of your way to learn about the University Michigan, the Ann Arbor campus, and their institutions. Good luck!


  6. Calvin Cupitt III - Groundskeeper

    Wishing the best of luck! Hope to see you on campus! Welcome to the U of M!!


  7. Ilene Tyler - 1970

    Welcome to our town! I am excited about the energy and commitment you bring with you. We Townies look forward to future collaboration on projects of mutual interest. I hope we get a chance to meet in person one day soon!


  8. Patricia Butler - 1959, 1970, 1986

    Welcome Dr. Ono We look forward to working with you and you are making a great beginning. As a retiree and member of the Board of the University of Michigan Retirees Association, I welcome you.


  9. Robert C Williams, MD - 1963 Med

    Welcome, my friend. We need a fresh start here after a slow decline into “woke ” ideology, not recognized by previous leadership. Beware those around the president who resist changing this evil trend.
    God bless you.


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