1. Coleman praises Olympic athletes
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University President Mary Sue Coleman opened the University’s Board of Regents meeting by recognizing the students competing in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics: University juniors Meryl Davis and Charlie White; LSA freshman Maia Shibutani and LSA sophomore Alex Shibutani; as well as alumni Evan Bates, Carl Hagelin, Brian Lebler and Max Pacioretty.
“We are very proud of our students and our alumni for their accomplishments on such a global stage,” Coleman said.
2. University President recognizes increase in state budget
Coleman lauded Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) allocation for higher education in his recent budget proposal. The budget includes a 6.1-percent increase in the University’s appropriation — the first substantial increase in the last decade.
“Across the country states are spending 28 percent less in public schools than in 2008,” Coleman said. “I am pleased to see that Michigan may well be reversing course. It is an incredibly significant move that I think the entire country will be watching. We have the chance to recapture the national leadership and support of our public university.”
3. School of Music, Theatre & Dance students perform
Christopher Kendall, dean of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, provided the meeting’s keynote address. A choir of students and a violin accompanist joined Kendall and performed multiple songs, including a rendition of “Hail to the Victors.”
“Performing arts students undergo almost constant evaluation by literally putting themselves as artists on the line, or on the stage, day in and day out for professors, peers, the public, and even the regents,” Kendall said. “It’s a high-risk enterprise and incredibly demanding, but deeply rewarding.”
4. Head coach endowment made with $10 million donation
J. Ira and Nicki Harris, long-time supporters of many University units, donated $10 million through the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Foundation to name and endow the head football coach position, currently held by Brady Hoke. Though the proposal was passed unanimously, Regent Denise Ilitch (D–Bingham Farms) expressed concerns with the decision.
“I want to honor Ira and Nikki and their family for this very generous donation,” Ilitch said. “I only want to be the voice of caution on my concern of the commercialization of Michigan Athletics. I get a little worried about the slippery slope.”
5. Progress in student inclusion in regents’ decisions
In his report to the regents, Business senior Michael Proppe, Central Student Government president, lauded the University’s consideration of student priorities in the selection of University President-elect Mark Schlissel.
He said he was excited about the regents’ inclusion of student government leaders in the their informal agenda meetings. Though previous administrations have lobbied for a student representative on the board, Proppe said this effort toward inclusion is promising.
“I think we may have found something even better today,” he said.