September 5, 2014
Topic: Campus News
The university community offered upbeat hopes for President Mark S. Schlissel at a community celebration on Ingalls Mall following his inauguration Friday afternoon at adjacent Hill Auditorium.
Patricia Berry, senior director of stewardship programs, said it was an exciting day to be a U-M employee and supporter. "He's got a great foundation to build on. We've got high hopes."
Jay Jackson, multimedia creative lead in the School of Information, joined the celebration after listening to a webcast of Schlissel's inaugural speech. Jackson said he liked comments that the university needs to be opened up to all kinds of divergent opinions. "It would be nice for us to set that example," he said.
Some had already shared positive interactions with the new president.
Holly Rider-Milkovich, director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, said she had met and talked with Schlissel, who was very thoughtful and engaged — and clearly had prepared for their meeting.
He asked thorough questions, was approachable and listened, she said. "I would think it's likely he'll approach his presidency the same way, with rigor, care and thoughtful engagement."
Joining the throng after attending the installation was Hsiao-Ping Moore, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Lawrence Technological University, and a colleague of Schlissel's when both were at the University of California, Berkeley.
"It's emotional for me. I think the university is in great hands," she said, adding Schlissel is compassionate and cares about students. "He's also brilliant, and to combine that with compassion is very unique. He's a born leader," she said.
Carlos Xavier Rodriguez, associate professor of music in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, said he especially liked Schlissel's emphasis on greater diversity, and on seeking greater opportunities for students of all socio-economic backgrounds.
"I like that he wants to portray us as a global institution, which is really important," Rodriguez said.
Senior Kevin Durand, a biomedical and German major from Shelby Township, joined fellow students in matching maize-and-blue T-shirts to form a tunnel near the Hatcher Graduate Library, where the procession of delegates passed.
"I like the fact that he was a medical doctor and will do good things for the Health System," he said.
Wearing a Voices of the Staff T-shirt, Voices member and LSA senior systems administrator Josh Simon said, "I'm looking forward to see where he's going to take the university."
Third-year biology graduate student Ding He of China stood in the shade, nibbling on popcorn from a cardboard tray as a band played from a stage adjacent to the Rackham Auditorium steps. "I know that his background is in biomedical. He's a scientist. I think that he will bring some progress and maybe more growth to research," she said.
"I'm looking forward to getting to know him a little better, and see his ideas for the future of the institution," said Nabil Lopez, a first-year graduate student from the Dominican Republic who is studying applied economics.
Karen Isble, senior executive director, campaign, development services and strategic solutions in the Office of Development, said she liked to hear Schlissel talking about spending a lot of time listening and learning, and that he would promote open discourse.
Monica Arkin, a psychology major from Cleveland, was at the Ingalls Mall event with three friends from Israel. The group had met Schlissel earlier — and he knew that the Hebrew writing on their T-shirts read "Michigan," Arkin said.
"He was warm and he was friendly and he was relatable. He was welcoming and generous to my visitor friends."