June 16, 2006
I am grateful for this vote of confidence by the Board of Regents.
I have the best job in higher education. Period. The University of Michigan is just unparalleled.
The past four years have been the most satisfying in my entire professional life. This institution has historically played a critical and pivotal role in higher education, and it’s going to assume even leadership responsibilities as we move forward.
I’m really proud of the fact that we’ve moved forward even in the state of a troubled economy. This has been a very difficult four years. But we’ve managed through it and everybody has worked hard to do well on all of our campuses; I have to salute Flint and Dearborn, as well as Ann Arbor, for getting through a very, very tough time and moving forward.
I appreciate everything that Regent Taylor said. I will tell you a couple of things that I am absolutely committed to; rather than talking about the past, I’ll talk about the future.
The Michigan faculty, students and staff are the greatest resource that we have, and one of my jobs is to provide the resources to let them do what they do so well. That’s why I am so committed to the Michigan Difference campaign. And that’s why I will continue to work so hard to make absolutely sure that they will have the tools for wonderful academic leadership, to have the learning opportunities, and for the staff to have the tools that they need to propel this institution forward.
I’m also looking forward to working with our new provost, as well as key leaders in the University, faculty and deans, to sharpen the definition of the University of Michigan as THE great public research university for the 21st century. That’s going to be a global century and it’s going to be different from the one that we’ve seen in the past.
Our commitment always has to be to our public mission. Our tools are going to be what we do so well: interdisciplinarity, teamwork, and innovation. The University of Michigan is going to be there and it’s going to be absolutely wonderful to be able to put those tools together with our core commitment to learning — with our living-learning experience at Michigan that we want to revitalize with new facilities, new curriculum opportunities, and continued emphasis on building a diverse university community. We believe that’s one of the essences of creating a great institution — having that diversity so well on our campus.
And finally, as a public institution, we have a public trust. That trust entails a commitment to help transform the economy of Michigan. We are shaping a new model in which the knowledge economy builds upon the achievements of our state’s renowned past.
I look forward to working with all of you and, again, I appreciate very much what I hope you will vote for when you take the formal vote. This has been spectacular and I look forward to a spectacular future.