Statement at March 2023 Board of Regents

(As prepared for delivery)

I’d like to begin by congratulating Regent Ilitch for her recent appointment to the State of Michigan’s Investment Board. Governor Whitmer made an outstanding selection, and Regent Ilitch, we’re delighted to see your new service in such an essential position.

I’m also delighted to offer my most sincere congratulations to my great friend and mentor Earl Lewis who this week became the first U-M faculty member to receive the National Humanities Medal. Earl is a distinguished scholar, an award-winning author and an educational leader, and I could not imagine a better selection by the National Endowment for the Humanities and President Biden.

In addition, I’m pleased to report that we remain an exceptional university for our generosity. Last Wednesday we held our ninth annual Giving Blueday, and the results were simply fantastic. Across all three of our campuses, we raised more than $5.3 M, which will go to the support of students, research and programming across our three campuses. 

Finally, I’d like to express my deep gratitude to all of you who joined in our inaugural festivities. I will always remember it as a day we came together to remember who we are – and what we aspire to be – a great public university.

The day after the inauguration, we launched our Vision 2034 website. It’s full of information about our strategic visioning effort, and also offers a direct opportunity to engage. You can either go to the site from the link on my homepage, or go there directly at

In addition, the Vision 2034 campus town halls are underway. This is our opportunity to create a greater future together, so I urge you to engage, and to encourage your friends and colleagues and fellow students to do the same.

As we are advancing our vision, we are furthering our other priorities.

We will lead with excellence through our unequivocal commitment to integrity. That’s why I’m so pleased to announce that we have launched a national search for an Ethics, Integrity and Compliance Officer. The individual selected will have a critical role as a guardian of our trust, in ensuring that in every pursuit, we retain a rock-solid foundation of integrity.

As you know, we’ve also been searching for a permanent Vice President for Communications to replace Kallie Michels following her retirement. Last week, I announced that after a deliberative search, we have found our candidate in Ritchie C. Hunter.

She has an exceptional background, including extensive experience in marketing, branding and media relations, and communications leadership roles at the University of Oregon, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Houston. I’m convinced she’s a fantastic fit for our university.

Richie’s appointment is in this month’s consent agenda, and she and her partner are with us today, so would you please join me in welcoming them to the University of Michigan?

Ritchie’s first official day with us will be May 15th.

Looking ahead, spring is finally upon us, and that means commencement is soon to follow.

As you’ve seen, we have four distinguished leaders in the fields of music, higher education, art and philanthropy whom I’m pleased to recommend for honorary U-M degrees.

Wynton Marsalis, the artistic director of Jazz at the Lincoln Center will be our main speaker. In addition to being a world-renowned trumpeter and musician, he is a leading advocate of American culture and a long friend of Michigan. We met here in Ann Arbor last October, where he declared that if the University Musical Society could be replicated on every college campus, the world would be a much better place.

Our university has been a much better place thanks to the exceptional leadership of President Emerita Mary Sue Coleman. For me personally, she has been a fantastic guide, and she may well be one of the greatest university presidents of our time.

Dominique Morisseeau is a Detroit native and U-M alumna, who has become one of America’s most produced playwrights, acclaimed for her lyrical language, her complex characters, and her authentic portrayals of individuals and communities struggling with social and economic change.

Our fourth, who will be receiving his honorary degree at Flint, is Phil Hagerman. An internationally recognized philanthropist and entrepreneur, Phil was born and raised in Genesee County, and has given back generously to that community – including our Flint campus – while pursuing an incredibly successful career in real estate and healthcare.

It’s going to be a fantastic commencement, and I look forward to seeing you there.

Finally, it is my profound pleasure to introduce a living, lasting recognition for a member of our family who proved each season – over the course of almost four decades – that she is, and we are, the leaders and best.

We know her as Coach Hutch.

But in the record books, Carol Hutchins is the winningest coach in NCAA softball history, who in her 38 years at the helm of U-M guided our Wolverines to an NCAA title in 2005, along with 22 Big Ten Conference titles. She retired last year as the winningest coach – male or female – in Michigan Athletics history, and thanks to her leadership – and mentorship – we have never suffered a losing season in program history.

Coach Hutch is with us today, so would you please join me in giving her a round of applause? 

I understand that our Athletic Director, Warde Manuel, has a special action item to honor our exceptional coach.  AD Manuel……

Thank you again Coach Hutch.

Would you like to say a few words?

Thanks so much. We’re so pleased to honor you, and we look forward to cheering on future seasons of success at the Carol Hutchins Stadium.

With that, we’ll go to the rest of our business for the meeting.