ANN ARBOR – University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman presided over her final Board of Regents meeting on Thursday as she prepares to step down from the role in October.
Just over eight years ago, she was in the same position saying farewell to the university she served for more than a decade.
She was appointed by the Board in January to fill the role of president until a new candidate was hired after former president Mark Schlissel was removed from the position for having an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.
“It has been an honor to be able to step in during a difficult time for the university,” Coleman said in a statement. “I want to thank the members of the board for your confidence in me. I also owe a debt of gratitude to the executive officers at this table for their support and counsel. They are the best in higher education.
“I also want to thank my husband, Ken, who is here with us. I could not do this work without him. I couldn’t have done it before, and I couldn’t have done it this time. Michigan will always be special to us, and we’re profoundly grateful for the experiences and opportunities you have given us. So thank you, and forever Go Blue.”
In just over two weeks’ time on Oct. 14, President-elect Santa Ono will assume the position, becoming the school’s 15th president.
Board of Regents Chair Paul W. Brown said Coleman led with grace and humility and answered the call during a time of need.
“The board turned to President Coleman at a tremendously difficult time with a tremendously difficult challenge — to restore integrity and confidence in the administration of this university,” Brown said in a statement. “Under your leadership our momentum in regard to key initiatives never slowed. In fact, the university’s systemic effort to address sexual misconduct has made significant progress.”
The Regents also revealed that Coleman will be the recipient of an honorary degree at Spring Commencement.
Regent Jordan B. Acker said the university owes Coleman a “debt of gratitude that we will never be able to repay” during the meeting.
“This university was really indebted to you for your years here as the permanent president, and your legacy here over the last nine months will live on for decades beyond this, so thank you again for everything,” Acker added.