Statement at February 2024 Board of Regents

(As prepared for delivery)

It’s a pleasure to be with all of you this afternoon.

We’ve had a fantastic start to this new year, one that began with our football team bringing home the National Championship!

It was an incredible season – our third successive victory over that School Down South; our third consecutive Big Ten Championship; an overtime win against Alabama in the Rose Bowl; and a victory against the University of Washington to cap our undefeated season – with a record of 15-0.

So I’d like to once again congratulate our student-athletes, our coaches and our team, for not only their victories, but also the incredible character they displayed in bringing home the National Championship.

I’d also like to thank Warde Manuel for his superlative leadership of our Athletics Department, and to congratulate him for being named chairman of the College Football Playoff selection committee next season.

In addition, I’d like to welcome our new head football coach Sherrone Moore – we’re looking forward to cheering on our Wolverines in the new season.

I was also delighted to see that on Tuesday, U-M was ranked as the third best public university – and 18th overall – according to the Times Higher Education’s 2023 world reputation ranks.

At U-M, we also have one of the greatest marching bands, and music and arts programs, in the country.

That’s why I’m so pleased to welcome Jason Fettig – our new Director of Bands – to our family. Jason formerly led “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and Chamber Orchestra, and at his first concert with the U-M Symphony Band earlier this month, they performed a composition jointly commissioned by U-M and the President’s Own.

Jason is with us today – would you please join me in welcoming him to the University of Michigan?

On a different note, earlier this month I had the opportunity to visit the University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute, a visit that exceeded my expectations by at least an order of magnitude.

I’m looking forward to furthering our engagement with the Joint Institute to foster academic excellence, innovation and entrepreneurship, and leadership development.

In January, our Automotive Research Center reached a new, five-year agreement with the U.S. Army for up to $100M for work on autonomous vehicle technologies.

This potentially doubles the federal government’s investment with the ARC and opens the way for cutting-edge technologies useful for military needs as well as emergency response and disaster relief.

Concurrently, our Bold Challenges Initiative, which was established to catalyze large-scale, interdisciplinary research that changes the world, has launched five new themes on topics ranging from advancing human health to creating sustainable energy innovations.

We’ll hold the formal kickoff meeting for those new themes next Tuesday here in Ruthven, and I’m looking forward to seeing the incredible advances we’ll make together.

I’m also pleased to note that our Innovation Partnerships Office was recently awarded significant funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to establish the Michigan University Innovation Capital Fund and the Michigan University Innovation Capital Consortium.

This new fund will solidify U-M’s research commercialization ecosystem through a collaborative partnership among universities across the state, and accelerate economic growth and development throughout Michigan.

With that in mind, we are continuing to expand our efforts in Generative AI.

Specifically, through our world-class faculty and the Center for Academic Innovation, we are developing more than 35 short online courses on generative AI which will empower learners to build essential new skills and advance their careers. Most of those courses will launch in July, and we’re excited to extend our enterprise in Gen AI.

As we go into the rest of our business for the afternoon, I’d like to thank you once again for joining us, and we’ll look forward to reconvening in the spring.