December 12, 2016
Old school: U-M in History
President Robben Fleming stands amidst a student demonstration on June 18, 1969. (Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library)
This month in history (100 years ago)
Robben W. Fleming, the ninth president of the University of Michigan, was born on Dec. 18, 1916, in Paw Paw, Illinois. A former chancellor of the University of Wisconsin and professor of labor relations specializing in arbitration and mediation, Fleming led U-M from 1968 to 1979. Fleming was known for his patience and negotiator's skills, which were used during his time at the university to work with student activists. In one 1970 incident, the activist group Black Action Movement asked for an increase in African-American enrollment to 10 percent and spearheaded a student strike. Fleming's negotiated agreement with the students called for "an increase in financing for recruiting qualified black applicants and setting a 10 percent enrollment goal without committing to it as a quota." After his time at U-M, Fleming led the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for two years as its president. He died Jan. 11, 2010, in Ann Arbor when he was 93.
— From the U-M Office of the President and The New York Times, "Robben W. Fleming, University President in Turbulent Times, Dies at 93," Jan. 21, 2010