(As prepared for delivery)
Good afternoon and welcome to the May meeting of the Board of Regents.
It is always good to be on the Dearborn campus. I want to thank Chancellor Domenico Grasso and his team for hosting us.
I want to begin by saying a few words about the horrific shooting in Buffalo last weekend. Sadly, our country has become immune to gun violence. But unfortunately, I worry that we also are becoming complacent about racial hatred. Neither is acceptable. There is no place for hate or intolerance in our communities. This weekend’s tragedy was the worst disregard for fellow human beings.
This is why we as a university community devote so much energy and resources to upholding inclusion, diversity and equity as institutional values. It is our way to demonstrate our belief in a just and supportive society where all are respected.
We discussed this on Monday at a campuswide assembly updating how we are working to change our culture. This assembly was an excellent opportunity to hear about the importance of identifying and embracing core values that bind us as citizens of a leading university.
The Culture Journey assembly also was the first public event for Laurie McCauley, our new provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and I want to welcome her to the table today. We are excited to have her as part of our executive leadership team, and we all look forward to working with her.
There is never a slow period for the Provost’s Office, but this is a particularly demanding time, with tenure decisions and promotions and preparing next year’s budget. Laurie, we are delighted you are with us.
Earlier this week, I had the great honor to join in a virtual discussion with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
This was an hour-long conversation with the presidents of AAU universities, and President Zelenskyy was very gracious with his time. He is a brave and inspiring leader facing unbelievable challenges with courage and conviction.
He spoke of the physical destruction of his country’s libraries, which is the destruction of knowledge. He told us of the damaging effects of disinformation campaigns. And he discussed the forced deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia, saying, “This is like losing your future.”
It was a sobering and enlightening discussion. It served as a reminder about how critical it is for us as a university to engage globally and live our democratic values.
I’m saving the best news of my remarks for last. This week, Money magazine ranked the University of Michigan as the No. 1 college in the country for value, as many of you know.
This No. 1 ranking is only the second time a public university has placed at the top of the list.
The magazine praised us for our affordability, high graduation rates, and the quality of a Michigan education. In addition, the editors singled out our financial aid programs, particularly our Go Blue Guarantee and our commitment to support any accepted student from Michigan with demonstrated need.
This is a well-deserved honor. It is a powerful testament to so many in our community who are working together for our collective success. And it is excellent news for the students and families who are considering Michigan.