As most people here are well aware the University's President Mary Sue Coleman is in the last academic year of her tenure and has announced her intent to retire in July 2014. Back on August 22nd I wrote my first installment of this diary with some fun wild speculation about possible candidates. At this point everything is based on semi-educated guesses and the fact that, as the University officially launches its "Victors for Michigan" campaign towards the goal of raising $5 billion before the University's bicentenial in 2017, they may want someone with previous University ties to seemlessly step into the campaign. Here's the link to the old Diary http://mgoblog.com/diaries/race-replace-mary-sue-coleman-%E2%80%93-odds-university-michigan%E2%80%99s-next-president
So logically candidates like Theresa Sullivan (former M provost, current Chancellor at UVA), Marvin Krislov (former General Counsel during NCAA investigation and Affirmative Action Supreme Court case, now President at Oberlin College) and Nancy Cantor (former Provost at Michigan and current President at Syracuse who is leaving in 2014) make some logical sense. The Regents have hired a search firm and the search is underway. Needless to say that so-called outsiders are certainly possible but the public would never get so much as a whiff of who those might be as those candidates will not want to endanger their current employment. When Mary Sue Coleman was hired away from the University of Iowa, all interviews and meetings were so secretive they did not occur in the State of Michigan.
So again, its all mostly speculation. That said, there are various factions who have championed certain possible candidates. Needless to say all of the aforementioned names have surfaced in certain discussions. One other interesting possibility that has been heard whispered in certain hallways is one Earl Lewis. Here are some links to familiarize yourself http://www.mellon.org/about_foundation/officers/earl-lewis and http://www.mellon.org/news_publications/announcements-1/earl-lewis-elected-next-president-of-the-andrew-w.-mellon-foundation/ . Briefly put, Mr. Lewis was previously the Dean of Rackham School of Graduate Studies at Michigan and a Vice Provost. He left Michigan after 15 years in 2004 to become the Provost (2nd in charge behind the President) at Emory (technically a better ranked/near Ivy League school). In 2012 Mr. Lewis left Emory to become the President of the Andrew Mellon Foundation which is one of the largest educational trusts/benefactors in the country. Mr. Lewis has an impecible academic record, has UofM ties, is fairly young in terms of candidates for this kind of position and could bring connections out the proverbial wazoo considering the people he has dealt with as President of the Mellon Foundation. Lewis would also be the first African-American President at Michigan. He's certainly an intriguing candidate and those who hear the name and credentials have had little argument that he'd make a good choice.
Further, a few more logs have been placed on the fire that perhaps an Obama Cabinet member looking towards their post-government career could be the choice. As many may note Janet Napolitano, the chief of Homeland Security, recently left her post to become Chancellor of the University of California system. Further, as some of you are also aware, Gordon Gee, the President at Ohio State University has announced his pending retirement and there has been talk that certain cabinet members have put out word that they may be interested. So, would Secretary of Education Arne Duncan or even Department of Justice Head Eric Holder or any number of other cabinet members make the jump a year early to set up their post-political life. Again, its safe to assume if rumors are coming out of Columbus that cabinet members are making themselves available, the same is happening here.
Finally, a late personal vote for Adrian College President Jeffrey Docking simply for the recent announcement of Adrian's new program that pays part or all of the student loan payments of any Adrian graduate who makes less than $37,000 a year. http://www.freep.com/article/20130918/NEWS06/309180024/adrian-college-loan-repayment-alma-college-student-loans-debt-college-affordability As we can all attest, the amount of student loan debt that college graduates are accruing plus the diminished number of jobs, and well-paying jobs and ever increasing cost of secondary education are creating an entire generation that is choking under their student loans. Props/Kudos/Raise a Glass to President Docking for stepping up for the students and graduates to try an innovative way of trying to alleviate some of that debt. As the University embarks on the Victors for Michigan fundraising effort, one can only hope a huge chunk of that money will head towards scholarships. While I certainly commend gifts of Stephen Ross and Charlie Munger, right now the students need scholarships a little more than we need new buildings. In that spirit, any of you who are reading this and agree with the latter assertions can help some Michigan undergraduate scholarships and get yourself some Michigan memorabilia at this online auction fundraiser http://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/AuctionHome.action?vhost=mgoauction which is running all fall.
If anything interesting comes to light, Part III of the Diary will rapidly be posted. In the meantime, Go Blue and Give Back.