Gary D. Krenz, formerly executive director of the University of Michigan Bicentennial Office, has been appointed director for post-bicentennial planning at the Bentley Historical Library.

His appointment, effective May 1, represents “an acknowledgement of the Bentley Library’s role in sustaining the dissemination of university history that the bicentennial invigorated,” said Bentley Director Terrence J. McDonald.

Gary Krenz

Krenz will manage the transition of relevant projects and practices from the Bicentennial Office to the Bentley and will launch new projects and programs pertinent to U-M history, working in conjunction with the Bentley’s University History Group.

He will also participate in planning an addition to the university’s historic Detroit Observatory, which was approved by the Board of Regents in February 2018. A goal of the new effort is to make the observatory a locus for exploration and presentation of U-M history.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to continue to promote inquiry into the university’s past,” Krenz said.

“The way that the university community responded to the bicentennial shows that appreciation of our history has value in building institutional identity and pride, and that critical examination of our history has value in correcting historical oversights and fostering a more inclusive community.

“In addition, U-M’s past is rich with episodes that can provide context, precedent and analogy for thinking about current challenges.”

The university’s bicentennial celebration took place during 2017. Planning began in 2013 under Krenz’s direction.

Krenz joined the university as an administrator in 1988 and has spent most of his career working in the Office of the President, which he joined in 1996. He served as special counsel to the president, acting as an adviser and administrator for presidential initiatives, planning, issue management, and policy development.

He oversaw the president’s office budget, supported searches for executive officer positions, staffed the meetings of the executive officers, and managed a range of issues including the planning of the bicentennial. He also is a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy.

“The bicentennial not only fostered interest in U-M history,” said Krenz. “It also produced a wealth of new material about that history: the ‘Uncommon Education’ documentaries, proceedings from theme semesters and grants projects, exhibits, a new edition of the U-M Encyclopedic Survey, and much more. A first task is to gather this material with others into an accessible format, encourage its continued use, and build on it.”

The Bentley Historical Library houses the university’s archives and provided extensive support to the bicentennial office and faculty, students and staff who utilized the archives for bicentennial projects. Such work will continue under the auspices of its University History Group.

Krenz earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Northwestern University.