Corie Pauling named Alumni Association’s president, CEO

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Corie Pauling, an industry thought leader and influential executive with TIAA, has been named the 11th president and CEO of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.

The Alumni Association’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to appoint Pauling during a meeting Sept. 15.

Corie Pauling
Corie Pauling

Pauling, a U-M alumna who currently serves as senior vice president, chief inclusion and diversity officer, and head of corporate social responsibility at TIAA, will start Oct. 19.

“We are so excited for our alumni to get to know Corie,” said Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, chair of the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. “Her leadership skills and relationship-building expertise make her a perfect fit to lead the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan into the future.”

Pauling, 51, will be the first woman and first Black president and CEO of the Alumni Association.

She has been with TIAA since 2006 and in her current role since 2018. She was instrumental in starting the company’s inclusion, diversity and equity function more than 14 years ago and launched its “Be the Change” platform in 2020.

Pauling has also managed TIAA’s enterprise corporate social responsibility function, which led more than 160 volunteer projects and $13 million in corporate and workforce giving last year.

In her prior role at TIAA, she was senior director, associate general counsel. Pauling is also a former shareholder with the international employment law firm Littler Mendelson and a former partner with the civil rights law firm Ferguson Stein Chambers.

Pauling earned her bachelor’s degree in industrial and operations engineering at U-M in 1993 and a Juris Doctor degree at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law in 1997.

“I’m so excited to be coming home,” Pauling said. “And it is my goal for every alum to feel a sense of home in the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.

“I’m looking forward to meeting our outstanding alums across the globe and creating moments that matter through wellness and service — whether through 5K walks/runs, community impact events or other opportunities — to deepen connections, give back and have some fun. Reflecting on our years at U-M, we will inspire this simple yet powerful invitation: come home.”

Pauling will take over for Steve Grafton, who is retiring after 28 years in the role. Grafton said the Alumni Association is in great hands.

“Having spent time with Corie over the past few weeks, I am convinced that she will not only maintain our rich history as one of the world’s leading alumni associations, but she also has what it takes to lead us to even greater levels of success in engaging Michigan alums and supporting the University of Michigan,” Grafton said.

The appointment followed a six-month national search led by the Alumni Association’s search committee and assisted by the firm of Russell Reynolds.

The Alumni Association was founded in 1897 as a nonprofit organization separate from the university. It serves more than 650,000 U-M graduates. In the Alumni Association’s 125-year history, it has had just 10 full-time executives lead the organization.

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