President Mary Sue Coleman early on identified the 2017 bicentennial as a chance to celebrate the University of Michigan’s past, and provide fresh inspiration for its future.

Her most recent actions to support Bicentennial Celebration planning included naming Gary D. Krenz as executive director of the new Bicentennial Office, and the creation of a Bicentennial Advisory Committee. These actions came during her Leadership Breakfast last fall.

 “The bicentennial is an opportunity to tell our story anew,” Coleman told campus leaders. “Michigan’s impact on creating and advancing disciplines, on research and scholarship, on public higher education, and on society, is singularly impressive. The bicentennial compels us to rediscover this impact, tell it and celebrate it.”

Krenz says several bicentennial-related committees are up and running, and schools and colleges are busy updating their histories in preparation for the celebration. “We really have settled on the timeline for the Bicentennial Celebration and we’re starting to fill in the details,” he says.

Coleman keenly articulates the importance of this landmark occasion, Krenz says. “Her early focus on the many opportunities the bicentennial presents have put us in a great place for getting maximum effect from it. Her commitment to ensuring a sound, thoughtful, and timely planning process are key to realizing our ambitions for the bicentennial — as well as a smooth hand-off to President Mark Schlissel.”

Among key themes that bicentennial organizers will tap into is that U-M is one of the oldest public universities in the United States, built on a commitment to diversity and inclusion, with a deeply embedded sense of public mission and of holding in public trust the pursuit of art, knowledge and the truth.

Francis Blouin Jr., former director of the Bentley Historical Library and professor of history and information, is Bicentennial Advisory Committee chair. The public can go to to submit ideas and see how planning is progressing. The Bicentennial Office can be contacted at 734-763-2386.