Statement at May 2024 Board of Regents

(As prepared for delivery)

I’d like to begin by congratulating all of our recent graduates – Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint. We’re so proud of them, we’re so grateful for the time we shared with them, and we’re looking forward to all they will achieve with their University of Michigan degrees.

I’m also pleased to announce that after an extensive, deliberative search, during which we sought input from stakeholders throughout the community and highly-qualified applicants from across the country,  I am recommending for approval on today’s agenda the appointment of  Dr. Laurence Alexander as the new permanent chancellor of U-M Flint.

Dr. Alexander comes to us from the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff where he has served as Chancellor. He has been a journalist, attorney and First Amendment Scholar, and he brings more than three decades of combined professional and academic experience as a distinguished professor, an administrator and a university leader.

He will assume his duties on July 1st, and we’re delighted he will be joining the U-M family.

I’d also like to express my profound gratitude to Dr. Donna Fry for her dedication, service and leadership as interim chancellor of UM-Flint for this past academic year. She has done simply a fantastic job, and we’re so grateful for her commitment to our university.

We’re also so grateful to Dr. Arthur Lupia for his service as our interim vice president for research and innovation.

He has vast experience as researcher, educator and administrator, with federal service across two U.S. presidential administrations, and we look forward to him having a profound impact in the days ahead.

We have an exceptional team.

Last month, twelve members of our faculty and staff were recognized as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for their extraordinary academic achievements.

Four others from our family were selected to join the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for their signal contributions to scholarly and professional fields.

And earlier this month, six U-M professors were also inducted into the National Academy of Sciences for their distinguished contributions and continuing achievements in original research.

In that regard, I’d like to congratulate all of the members of our faculty who will be receiving promotions this month.

We’re so grateful for all that they do – they are so integral to our success as a university. You will hear more about their achievements later on the agenda.

As we pursue excellence and impact, we are continuing to grow as a community.

This year we set a record of more than 105,000 applicants for next fall, with significant increases in nearly all categories including first-generation students, in-state, out-of-state and international students, in addition to students of color and from low-income backgrounds.

I’m so proud of the fact that as we grow, we continue to strive to be welcoming to all, inclusive of all, and exceptional for all.

Finally, I would like to extend our highest congratulations to the U-M Debate team, for their perseverance, their skill and their excellence.

After finishing as a runner-up seven times – including 2021, 2022 and 2023, last month they brought home our first national championship.

An incredible achievement unto itself, it is also a fitting prelude for the fall, as we embark upon our “Year of Democracy and Civic Engagement.”

So our congratulations again to U-M Debate. And with that, let’s go into the rest of our business for the afternoon.