President Mark Schlissel turned to the 200-year history of the University of Michigan to highlight the institution’s commitment to enhancing the public good for the people of Michigan during testimony March 2 in Lansing.

Schlissel appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education as the state legislature begins the process of considering Gov. Rick Snyder’s state budget recommendations. Snyder recommended a 2.5 percent overall increase in state funding for higher education.

“From the moment U-M was established in 1817, our institution was designed to be a resource whose sole purpose was enhancing the public good,” Schlissel said. “That moment came on Aug. 26, 1817, when Michigan’s Territorial Legislature approved an act to establish the University of Michigania.”

Schlissel said the legislation contained language that provided for the creation of “colleges, academies, schools, libraries, museums … and other useful literary and scientific institutions, consonant to the laws of the United States of America and of Michigan.”

Every year since, Schlissel said, “public impact within our state has always been a hallmark of our university.”

The president said the governor’s recommended increases for state support for U-M’s three campuses in the coming year “continue the recent progress of reinvesting in public higher education in our state.” Those recommendations are:

• Ann Arbor: $316.1 million, up 2.4 percent. 

• Dearborn: $25.6 million, up 3.1 percent.

• Flint: $23.2 million, up 2.8 percent.

“I hope we can work together to continue and even enhance this positive trend — as when adjusted for inflation, funding still lags behind the 2011 levels, and considerably below the high of 2002.

“My commitment to you is that the University of Michigan will continue to work as hard as we can to foster innovation and provide the human capital that will power our state’s and our country’s future.”