As President Mary Sue Coleman presided over her 131st and final Board of Regents meeting, she thanked board members and senior leadership for their counsel during her tenure.
“This is a large, complex place with myriad issues and challenges, and the board has always focused on doing what is best for Michigan. I am grateful to all of you for your support,” Coleman said during Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting. She will retire in July.
“And thank you to the leadership team that sits around this table. My management philosophy has always been to surround oneself with the brightest individuals possible, and they are right here.”
Regent Andrea Fischer Newman, chair of the Board of Regents, read a resolution from the entire board extending its heartfelt gratitude to Coleman “as she concludes 12 years of exemplary service as the university’s thirteenth president.”
“With vision and creativity, President Coleman advanced programs, enrollment and the endowment. She led the institution through the state’s most challenging economy since the Depression, and did so with success and impact,” the resolution read. “She deepened the university’s relationship with the state of Michigan, and especially the city of Detroit, and was a staunch supporter of study abroad programs for students.
“President Coleman was an advocate of entrepreneurship, sustainability, global opportunities, and arts and creativity. She accelerated a culture of excellence in academics, research, public service and health care. She valued and pursued diversity in the campus community and the student body. She had a clear understanding of the importance of philanthropy, and together with her husband Ken, gave generously.”
Regent Denise Ilitch thanked Coleman for “a tremendous job,” and for being tireless advocate for U-M. “You taught me a lot over the last several years.”
“It couldn’t have worked out any better for the university,” said Regent Andrew Richner. “You came at a difficult time, and you truly have transformed the university and served as a model for universities across the nation.”
Regent Julia Donovan Darlow reminisced about the many commencement ceremonies Coleman attended. “I thought of the students’ amazing reaction to you. Their appreciation for you is so palpable,” she said. “I think I’d like to say, your most amazing legacy is that you have been all about the students, and I thank you for that.”
As an alumna, Regent Shauna Ryder Diggs said she was “so excited to know you were selected as president. And as a woman I was very proud that you were U-M’s first female president.”
Calling this meeting “a historic moment,” Regent Mark Bernstein called Coleman “a transformative leader.”
“It’s been a great honor to serve with you,” he said.
Regent Katherine White said, “I learned a lot from you, and enjoyed the work we’ve done together. I appreciate you have worked so hard.”
Regent Laurence Deitch thanked Coleman and her husband, Ken, for their truly extraordinary generosity. “I wish you great happiness in the next chapter of your life. I know you will continue to contribute to institutions in meaningful ways.”
Coleman said the university’s success is a result of “teamwork and a commitment to excellence.”
“Serving as president of this great university has been a privilege and the most rewarding experience of my professional life,” she said. “I have been committed to leaving the university a stronger place than when I began as president, and I believe we are well positioned to further our impact on the world.”