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.)