President’s Day: An era of change

Santa Ono and other distinguished guests dressed in caps and gowns at the Hill Auditorium podium on Ono's inauguration day, March 2023.

‘It is time for a new vision, a new punctuation, a new opening of possibilities for the University of Michigan. As we envision, imagine, and aspire, we will also build,’ says Santa J. Ono, who was inaugurated March 7 after serving as president since Oct. 14, 2022.

  1. The ‘breathtaking’ job of reviving an icon

    As a kid growing up in southwest Detroit, Manuel “Manny” Martinez played paintball in the hulking, long-abandoned Michigan Central Station. Today, he’s a construction superintendent helping Ford Motor Co. drive the $1 billion transformation of this historic landmark.

  2. U-M launches three XR-enhanced courses

    U-M’s Center for Academic Innovation and Coursera have launched the first three in a set of 10 planned online learning opportunities that integrate extended reality technologies into the learning experience.

  3. Marching Band’s Elbel Field poised for major makeover

    U-M’s iconic Elbel Field will be transformed into a marching band practice facility now that the Regents have approved project design plans and authorized construction to proceed.

  4. Researchers: Rethink e-cigarettes’ role in treating cigarette smokers’ nicotine addiction

    U-M researchers have found considerable evidence suggesting e-cigarettes are an effective smoking-cessation tool for adults in the U.S., yet thousands of Americans die of smoking-related illnesses each year.

  5. 1 in 8 Americans over 50 show signs of food addiction

    In a poll, much higher percentages of possible addiction to processed food were seen among older adults who were overweight or experiencing poor mental health or isolation.

  6. Got questions about weight-loss drugs? These experts have answers

    Michigan Medicine specialists weigh in on the latest news regarding medications for obesity — from drug shortages and medication misuse to rising costs and side effects.

Hail yes

Established in 2018, the University’s Adaptive Sports & Fitness program has quickly gained recognition for its competitive teams, not to mention its impact on the community to support the growth and development of adaptive sports. Also known as para sports, adaptive sports are competitive or recreational sports for people with and without disabilities. Modifications of rules or equipment allow for equitable participation (in basketball and tennis, for example). Some adaptive sports have been specifically designed for persons with a disability and do not have an able-bodied equivalent activity. (Images come from the Instagram account @rgkwheelchairs.)

  • Did someone say, March Madness?

    Students, staff, and faculty with and without disabilities are welcome to get involved in the Adaptive Sports & Fitness program through such sports as wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, adaptive track and field, and para-equestrian.

    Two wolverines in wheelchairs play basketball against an opponent in red, also in a wheelchair. All men.
  • A gentlemen’s agreement

    Dr. Oluwaferanmi Okanlami (right) is not only a terrific tennis player, he also is a professor at Michigan Medicine and the director of Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services at U-M. He oversees the office of Services for Students with Disabilities, two testing accommodation centers, and the Adaptive Sports & Fitness Program. In March, he was appointed to President Biden’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. He recently received a $1 million Visionary Award from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation while he was a guest on “Good Morning, America.” The funds will advance and support his disability work.

    Two wheelchair athletes dressed in yellow tap rackets on a tennis court.
  • All together now

    The team in the Adaptive Sports & Fitness Program recently submitted the grant proposal “Prescription to Play” to help connect individuals living with spinal cord injuries (SCI) to local physical activity resources and provide continued support in the rehabilitation process. Proposed outcomes include an increase in awareness of, access to, and participation in physical activity programming for individuals living with SCI in Southeast Michigan.

    Tennis players line the court, some seated in wheelchairs. Michigan scoreboard in the background.
  • Getting schooled

    Alex Saleh, MSW ’21, chose his undergrad social work program in Pennsylvania specifically to play wheelchair basketball. U-M’s Adaptive Sports is working to embed adaptive sports and inclusive recreation as part of the physical education curriculum in Michigan public schools so athletes like Saleh can begin participating at an earlier age.

    Wheelchair basketball players shakes hands with the referee.
  • Role model

    Cathryn Gray is an internationally ranked adaptive track and field athlete and a 4.0 student. She has competed in Spain in the World Paralympic Games and was the only female named as a U.S. Paralympic Track and Field All-American, in addition to being the 2017 javelin and discuss national champion. She is a podcaster and a contributing author for the book 100 Positive Sports Stories. “I want to be the role model I never had,” she says.

    Young woman dressed in U-M gear prepares to throw a discuss.
  • Three’s company

    Wheelchair tennis players (from left) Caiden Baxter, Maria Velat, and Chris Jude take a break during a recent match. “Competing in sports has provided structure and benefited both my physical and mental health throughout my entire life,” Baxter says.

    Three Michigan tennis players dressed in yellow pose in their wheelchairs with their arms around one another.
  • Winner!

    “Winning was a culmination of the years I have spent working to get to this stage, but was also a testament of us buying into what the coaching staff was offering,” says Spencer Heslop, who recently graduated with a master’s degree in epidemiology from U-M’s School of Public Health. As a young, hungry tennis team, he noted, the players were willing to put in the time and energy.

    Wheelchair tennis player holds award after winning major competition.
  • Back in action

    Coach Jessica Wynne, BA ’09, played on the Michigan Women’s Basketball team during her time at U-M. In 2011, she received a master’s degree in education of students with disabilities from City University of New York-Brooklyn College. Her coaching highlight so far: The 2022 Wheelchair Basketball Maize and Blue Game at Crisler Center. “The game was electric and it was a full-circle moment for me to be back in the arena,” she says.

    Young African American woman crouches to couch wheelchair basketball players. She is wearing a blue sweatshirt with a Michigan logo. You can see the wheels of the wheelchairs in the foreground.
  • A need for speed

    Madeline Gustafson is an LSA student with plans to pursue a degree in biochemistry. She also has Cerebral Palsy. Although she participated in cheerleading and running groups in middle school, her high school did not offer adaptive athletics, leaving her unable to compete or pursue athletic endeavors. The Adaptive Sports Program at U-M allows her to reconnect with old passions and re-establish her love for running.


    Young woman runs track. She is caucasian and dressed in a blue suit for U-M.