University of Michigan
News for faculty, staff and retirees

April 19, 2019

Others pay tribute to President Coleman

March 10, 2014

Others pay tribute to President Coleman

A tribute to President Mary Sue Coleman

Topic: Campus News

Among many extraordinary contributions, Mary Sue Coleman has deepened and broadened the university's relationship with the State of Michigan and the City of Detroit in ways that will benefit both the university and the people of Michigan for years to come. Equally enduring, I believe, will be her work to ensure that the arts and humanities continue to thrive within this greatest of public universities.

Julia Donovan Darlow, Board of Regents

 

Mary Sue Coleman has been, quite simply, a great president. Much of her tenure occurred during one of the worst economic downturns in recent history, and yet we saw research funding, donations, student enrollment and financial aid grow to record levels. She has led with the vision and creativity essential to ensuring the University of Michigan remains one of the world's top public universities, and with the prudent investment strategy and careful cost control to be recognized as one of the best values in higher education.

Andrea Fischer Newman, Board of Regents

 

Despite significant reductions in state appropriations during Mary Sue Coleman's tenure, the University has thrived.  This is a testament to Mary Sue Coleman's leadership.  She had the mettle to make tough decisions when they had to be made, but also the vision to see the importance of philanthropy, expanding the University's diversified revenues and investing in our facilities at unprecedented levels.

Andrew Richner, Board of Regents

 

President Coleman never loses sight of what is most important — the excellence that enables the university to have a real impact. I admire her ability to lead this complex organization, bringing insight and expertise to all its aspects. It has been a privilege and an incredible learning experience to work with her.

Martha Pollack, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs

 

No matter how you quantify Mary Sue Coleman's presidency — 12 years, 4,393 days or 105,190 hours — her remarkable contributions will impact lives in perpetuity.

Dr. Ora Pescovitz, executive vice president for medical affairs, CEO of U-M Health System, and professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases

 

Mary Sue has been an incredibly thoughtful, caring and strategic leader to observe and work with over the last 12 years. She is leaving the university in better financial condition than when she arrived and she is leaving the physical campus buildings and infrastructure that serve our faculty, students and staff in considerably better shape, as well. Not an easy set of tasks to accomplish through the worst recession in 50 years.

Timothy Slottow, executive vice president and chief financial officer

 

In so many corners of Michigan, Mary Sue Coleman has left an indelible mark. Her presidency has exemplified the qualities that draw people from all over the state to recognize and appreciate the enormous impact she has had on students, families, alumni and friends during her tenure. It is not an exaggeration to equate her presidency with some of the most challenging times the university has ever experienced, but Mary Sue's resolve to leave the University of Michigan a better place than she found it guided her thoughtful and insightful leadership. It has been an honor to work with her during these 12 years. Thank you, Mary Sue.

— Cynthia H. Wilbanks, vice president for government relations

 

Mary Sue Coleman has been an unparalleled supporter of students and of Student Life. Her legacy will be seen tangibly in each newly built and renovated residence hall throughout campus. It also will be seen in the programs and services contributing to students' learning within and beyond the classroom. She leaves Michigan knowing she has made a real difference in students' lives by never losing sight of our learning mission and the ethos of a public institution as a public good. I thank her for her steadfast belief in our students and in the power of a Michigan education.

— E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life

 

"Mary Sue Coleman has all the qualities of a great leader and she has shared those generously with all of us at Michigan. While I will always admire her superb management and problem solving skills, one of her great legacies is her ability to build strong and genuine relationships with donors and friends, and motivate them to support Michigan at record levels."

Jerry May, vice president for development

 

"It has been an honor and privilege to have worked with Mary Sue. Her leadership and support for research and innovation have positioned the University of Michigan as one of the greatest research universities in the world."

S. Jack Hu, interim vice president for research, J. Reid and Polly Anderson Professor of Manufacturing Technology

 

Mary Sue is laser smart, frank, strategic and incredibly hardworking. Those characteristics have blended into a terrific combination for the University of Michigan as well as for those of us who have worked with her and by her side. She has brought keen insight and courageous leadership to some of the most challenging issues higher education has ever faced. And through it all, her passion for public higher education is palpable and unwavering. Her commitment has fueled great momentum at Michigan.

— Lisa Rudgers, vice president for global communications and strategic initiatives

 

It's a cliche to say that the university president is a tireless advocate, but when I think of President Mary Sue Coleman this is what immediately comes to mind. No one except her husband Ken can truly appreciate the time and effort she has put in day in and day out for more than a decade, and the university is immeasurable better for it. We owe them both a heartfelt thank you — Mary Sue for her tireless advocacy and Ken for his own efforts and his selfless generosity in sharing her with us through the years. We will miss them both.

Sally Churchill, vice president and secretary of the university

 

I'm so proud to have been able to work with Mary Sue Coleman, a president who fights the good fight on diversity, a leader who inspires everyone who works with her, a role model who works so hard for the university, and a person who is truly decent and kind.

Timothy Lynch, vice president and general counsel, Office of the President

 

In the past dozen years, the University of Michigan has made incredible progress in every way. As an alumna of the university, it gives me great pleasure to see such advancement, and I salute her leadership that made this transformation possible.

Ruth Person, UM-Flint chancellor and professor of management

 

President Coleman has been a great leader and supporter of the University of Michigan-Dearborn throughout her presidency. She was instrumental in the expansion of academic programs including doctoral programs in engineering and education, helped us realize record enrollment growth and was a champion for diversity and inclusion efforts on the Dearborn campus. Her contributions and legacy will live on as the university continues to advance. On behalf of the faculty, staff and students at UM-Dearborn, thank you for being a leader and best.

— Daniel Little, UM-Dearborn chancellor

 

President Coleman has been completely engaged and totally supportive during my four-year tenure as director of athletics. She understands the important role that athletics plays as a part of our university community and it has been a pleasure to serve under her leadership.

— David A. Brandon, Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics

 

President Coleman has been a tireless advocate, a deeply engaged leader and an invaluable supporter of the Life Sciences Institute. As a scientist herself, she created a culture of excellence in science at Michigan. It's no exaggeration to say that we would not be here without her.

Alan Saltiel, John Jacob Abel Collegiate Professor of the Life Sciences and Mary Sue Coleman Director of the Life Sciences Institute

 

One of Mary Sue Coleman's many contributions as president was her steadfast support of the University Library's efforts to digitize its collections and make the digitized resources as broadly available to the world as possible. Michigan has more digitized works available for research, search and reading than any library in the world, and we simply could not have done it without Mary Sue's vision and courage.

Paul N. Courant, Harold T. Shapiro Professor of Public Policy, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, professor of economics and information

 

When she reached U-M, President Coleman made international education a major theme of her presidency. Her inaugural address described the "University of the World" and signaled her commitment to expanding education abroad, welcoming students and scholars from around the world, and building an interdisciplinary research agenda that would cross cultures and national borders.

President Coleman's efforts have advanced U-M international education to a formerly unprecedented level and we have all learned much from her. She has certainly inspired my own career path in international education. Through our travels and shared projects, I learned to deeply appreciate her ability to conceptualize international education and exchange within a complex institution such as U-M. We owe her much.

James Paul Holloway, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, vice provost for global and engaged education, and professor of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences

 

Dear President Coleman,

You have led our university with passion, poise and academic savvy — a combination of qualities that very few college presidents possess. I want to thank you for making Michigan the cradle of my career, a dynamic place where I could find other scholars working in my fields and also stretch into new areas of inquiry. I also want to express deep appreciation for your role in the transformation of the Center for Afroamerican & African Studies into the Department of Afroamerican & African Studies, a historic moment for our unit and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

Tiya A. Miles, Elsa Barkley Brown Collegiate Professor of African American Women's History, chair of Afroamerican and African Studies, professor of American culture, history, Native American studies and women's studies

 

I have seen President Coleman ask the first question — and always a really insightful question — at talks ranging from economics to engineering, from psychology to creative writing. I truly appreciate and am inspired by her deep, genuine engagement in the work we do across a wide range of disciplines.

Anne Curzan, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of English language and literature, professor of linguistics and education

 

I consider it a great honor to have worked with Mary Sue Coleman over more than a decade. She has been a strong champion for higher education, for our state, for her institution and for a diverse student body. Her legacy is one of positive impact on generations of University of Michigan students, as well as society at large.

Lou Anna K. Simon, Michigan State University president

 

As a Laker and a Wolverine, I am so grateful for Mary Sue Coleman's outreach to Grand Valley. She and I have established relevant partnerships that create talent and serve our state. Her collegiality, high standards and unfailing professionalism place her at the very top in the pantheon of presidents.

Thomas Haas, president, Grand Valley State University

 

My friend and colleague, Mary Sue Coleman, has provided visionary leadership, which has greatly benefited not just the University of Michigan but all of higher education at the national and international level. We are all deeply indebted to her.

Robert Birgeneau, recently retired chancellor, University of California, Berkeley

 

Mary Sue Coleman is a visionary leader of higher education. In a very difficult time when higher education is undergoing so many stresses and strains, it's very hard to keep values intact, and integrity as well. She's managed to do that during the past 12 years, helping the University of Michigan to sustain its excellence while trying to accommodate financial exigencies as well as opportunity for those who cannot attend higher education institutions. I know the University of Michigan faculty, students, and all of Michigan will be thanking her, but I wanted to add a national voice, that everyone in our country also owes a debt of gratitude for the leadership of President Coleman.

Vartan Gregorian, president, Carnegie Corporation

 

Mary Sue Coleman is one of the most respected and admired university leaders in the world. Her advocacy in support of high quality public education for a broadly diverse student body has been critical not just to Michigan's success, but to all of higher education.

Shirley Tilghman, recently retired president, Princeton University