July 2007 Board of Regents
July 19, 2007
Good afternoon and welcome to the July meeting of the Board of Regents.
I’d like to begin today by thanking Regent Libby Maynard for her leadership as chair of the Board for the past year, and by welcoming Regent Martin Taylor as chairman for the new fiscal year.
I look forward to working both with Regent Taylor and our Vice Chair, Regent Katherine White, in the upcoming months.
Today is also significant because it marks the transition of another colleague at the table. This is the final Board meeting for Marvin Krislov, our vice president and general counsel, who has been named the next president of Oberlin College.
His selection represents yet another example of the Michigan tradition that goes back decades in preparing extraordinary leaders for higher education institutions across the country.
Marvin has been our general counsel since 1998, and has provided strong leadership throughout his Michigan career. In particular, he crafted and led the successful defense of our admissions practices before the U.S. Supreme Court, and we will always be profoundly grateful for that contribution to the University and higher education as a whole.
I’d like to invite Regent Larry Deitch to say a few words.
We also are experiencing a transition in leadership at UM-Flint, where Chancellor Juan Mestas has announced he is stepping down after eight years of leading the campus.
Juan has overseen a remarkable period of growth and expansion on the Flint campus, including this week’s groundbreaking of the first-ever student housing complex. Following a sabbatical, he will serve as special advisor to the chancellor and provost.
I know all of us wish only the best for Juan, and we look forward to working with him upon his return.
I’d like to invite Regent Libby Maynard to say a few words about Chancellor Mestas.
I’m extremely pleased to tell you that a member of our faculty –Professor Hyman Bass – has been awarded the 2006 National Medal of Science, which is our nation’s highest scientific honor.
Professor Bass is the Roger Lyndon Collegiate Professor of Mathematics in LS&A and Professor of Mathematics Education in the School of Education. He will be honored next week in a ceremony at the White House.
Professor Bass is the first U-M faculty member to receive this prestigious honor in more than 20 years, and I hope you will join me in congratulating him for this achievement.
Looking forward, I would like to again invite the entire community to the campus memorial service on July 27 for the Survival Flight crew and transplant team that perished on June 4 while on a medical mission.
The service will be at 2 o’clock in Dow Auditorium at the Towsley Center.
We also will broadcast the ceremony to several locations throughout campus, as well as provide a live webcast on the Internet.
This service is an especially poignant opportunity for all of us to pay tribute to the six individuals who died in the service of another human being, and I hope you are able to take part in it.
Turning to today’s agenda, July is the month when we ask the Board to approve a new budget for the University, including tuition rates for the upcoming academic year.
This particular July we find ourselves in the unusual and highly uncertain position of finalizing a budget without fully knowing the level of our appropriation from the state. Our general fund budget is comprised of two major sources: state support and tuition dollars.
In setting this fall’s tuition rates, we have been extremely sensitive to the needs of our students and their families.
By recommending we raise tuition 7.4 percent for undergraduates, our increase is among the lowest of state universities this year.
I am extremely grateful to our deans, directors, faculty and staff for being creative, focused and diligent in reducing more than $21 million in costs at the University, because those reductions ultimately affect the rates that students and their parents must shoulder.
The real headline out of today’s budget is not the level of our tuition rates, but rather our robust increase in financial aid for students. We are increasing support for undergraduates by 11.5 percent.
Our financial aid program includes the University’s continued commitment to meet the full financial need of qualified in-state students. I never want a student from this state to say a U-M education is out of reach, because it isn’t. We are firm about our guarantee of supporting any qualified resident of Michigan in need, and that continues with this budget.
I know we ask much of students and their parents in paying for a Michigan education. In return, our students obtain an unparalleled education that will provide them with a lifetime of rewards and opportunities.
Just as a Michigan education is invaluable to our students, educated students are absolutely vital to the state of Michigan.
In asking the Board’s approval of this budget, we do so knowing our state’s leaders place tremendous value on an educated citizenry. We recognize the difficult budget challenges faced by policymakers in an economically challenged state.
At the same time, we are confident that lawmakers and citizens understand the importance of investing in higher education and U-M’s role in transforming our great state’s economy, and are prepared to meet those challenges in the weeks ahead.