I am pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Kolb as the vice president for government relations at the University of Michigan. He will begin Jan. 19 and will oversee and provide university-wide leadership and strategic vision for our government relations programs at the local, state and federal levels.
Chris has embraced public service throughout his career, with extensive experience in state and local government, public policy and community relations. He has spent the last two years as the state of Michigan’s budget director, following his appointment by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2019. In this role, he is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the state’s $60 billion budget.
He previously served for nearly ten years as the president and CEO of the Michigan Environmental Council, a nonprofit coalition of more than 60 environmental organizations. In 2015, Gov. Rick Snyder appointed him to co-chair the Flint Water Advisory Task Force, which investigated the city’s drinking water crisis and provided recommendations to prevent similar disasters statewide. His career includes three terms in the Michigan House of Representatives and service as an Ann Arbor City Council member and mayor pro-tem.
Chris earned a bachelor of science degree from U-M in natural resources. He is a former member of the external advisory board for U-M’s Erb Institute, the Detroit Community Health Assessment Steering Committee, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and the Michigan Sea Grant Advisory Committee.
This appointment follows a thorough and competitive search process. I thank the faculty and staff of the search advisory committee for their outstanding work. More information is available in the University Record.
Current Vice President Cynthia Wilbanks has agreed to postpone her retirement and stay in the position until Jan. 18. I thank her for her tremendous dedication to U-M and to public higher education during her 25 years with our university.
Please join me in welcoming Chris Kolb to the University of Michigan.
Mark S. Schlissel