Santa Ono is expected to be confirmed as the 15th president of the University of Michigan by the Board of Regents Wednesday afternoon, the Detroit Free Press reported late Tuesday.
Ono’s appointment marks the second time a person of Color has served as president of the University, after former President Homer A. Neal, who served as interim U-M president in 1996. Ono is the first person of Japanese descent to serve as the president of the University.
Since 2016, Ono has served as the current president and vice chancellor of the University of British Columbia. He previously served as president of the University of Cincinnati from 2012 to 2016.
Ono received an undergraduate degree in biological sciences at the University of Chicago in 1984 before pursuing a Ph.D. in experimental medicine at McGill University in Montreal in 1991. Ono has received the Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award from the American Council on Education, as well as the Professional Achievement Award from the University of Chicago, a Grand Challenges Hero Award from UCLA and the NAAAP 100 Award from the National Association of Asian American Professionals.
The University established the Presidential Search Committee in February to survey candidates for the position. Regents Denise Ilitch (D) and Sarah Hubbard (R) were co-chairs of the committee, which included representatives from the three campuses and Michigan Medicine and sought input from the community through virtual learning sessions and an online survey.
The hiring comes after former President Mark Schlissel was fired on Jan. 15 for engaging in a two-year relationship with a subordinate over email. The board appointed Coleman as interim president that same day to serve until a replacement was found.
Schlissel’s termination came after he announced he would step down from the role of president one year early in June 2023. As part of his exit package, Schlissel was initially entitled to his base salary of $927,000 for two years, $2 million to start a lab and a $5,000 monthly housing allowance. Following his termination, Schlissel’s exit package was voided, but he was awarded a one-year sabbatical in which he was paid $463,000, after issuing a 91-word apology to the board back in April. Following the sabbatical, Schlissel is eligible to return as a U-M faculty member with a salary of $185,000.
A spokesperson for the University was not immediately available in time for comment.