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President Ann Arbor, MI

The founders of the State of Michigan created the University of Michigan in 1817 as a constitutional university, on land ceded by the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi people. It has emerged as one of the most powerful and impactful intellectual forces in the world with careful stewardship and remarkable stability for much of its 205-year history, meeting the demands of each time. Guided by an elected Board of Regents, loyal to the University, it has attracted a large, diverse, and talented student body and one of the great faculties in the world who are at the forefront of fields spanning the entire breadth of the academy.

The University of Michigan has prospered in every dimension. It combines a scale that exceeds all but a handful of American universities, with a level of scholarly excellence that is equally rare. It consistently ranks among the top three U.S. public universities, including first among publics in the QS World University Rankings, and U.S. News and World Report ranks 110 of U-M’s graduate programs in the top ten. With over 65,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students on three campuses, the breadth and scale of intellectual strength is something that few public or private institutions can match. In a comprehensive new ranking, Times Higher Education ranked U-M 16th in the world reputation rankings in 2021. Its $1.6 billion in sponsored research leads all but one of America’s universities. Michigan operates one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, which is home to roughly half the University’s faculty and the source of slightly more than half of its revenues. As a fully integrated medical center, the University owns its own hospitals, and it is a force in biomedical discovery with more than $400 million in annual research funding from the NIH.

As part of a three-campus system between Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn, U-M creates an unparalleled landscape for student opportunity, success, and innovation throughout the state of Michigan. While the three campuses share the same mission and work in close partnership to provide access to educational programs, each campus makes decisions locally to meet individual needs of the students they serve, the work and research they do, the people they hire, and the markets in which they operate.

U-M is one of the state’s largest employers, with 50,000 employees. It draws an exceptional student body, in state, nationally, and globally, attracting over 80,000 applicants per year in recent years. Its athletic teams produce Olympians and win national championships with great regularity. It has 640,000 loyal and committed alumni, whose generosity is a source of pride for the University as well as its philanthropic success. Its last capital campaign raised $5.3 billion, more than any other public university, rivaling the most successful privates. The endowment now exceeds $17 billion, placing Michigan among a very small set of institutions that are as highly endowed. U-M uses its financial assets to power its future and to realize its mission, including offering free tuition to every household in Michigan that earns less than $65,000 a year, roughly half the state.

In the last few years, the University has suffered a series of misconduct, sexual assault and harassment, and abuse scandals that reach into the highest levels of its administration. These cases, as well as campus discontent around the University’s pandemic response and a graduate instructor strike, have eroded trust among the University community. The Regents moved to intervene and restore trust, and they are committed to ensuring the trajectory and ascent of this iconic public institution alongside the University community. In this search, the Regents have crafted a careful, attentive process, appointed an inclusive Search Advisory Committee, and launched a series of community engagement efforts to initiate the healing process and to reestablish trust and transparency.

In a daunting time, with grave geo-political competition and disturbances, the lingering malaise of a global pandemic, the increasing threat of climate change, heightened demand for social justice and intersectional awareness, and the promise and disruption of new physical and biological technologies, the University of Michigan has the opportunity to assume a broader leadership role as a force for good in the world, generating solutions and breakthroughs to address societies most pressing needs. The breadth of intellectual and financial assets as well as the creative talents and commitment of its people across a broad range of fields, schools, and activities provides the capacity to create new knowledge and wisdom and to transcend disciplinary boundaries in collaborative teams that will transform the world.

The Search Committee and the Regents seek a president who can earn the University’s trust; unite the community; ignite the strength of its faculties, staff, students, alumni, and the citizens of Michigan; and aim the University to seize the many opportunities in its future.

John Isaacson and John Muckle are leading this search with Elizabeth Dorr.


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