Hundreds of students packed into the historic University president’s house on South University Avenue yesterday to chat with top administrators about everything from biochemistry to architecture to their experiences at the University.

Starting at 3:30 p.m. yesterday, University President Mary Sue Coleman visited with students who stopped by her house for the annual president’s open house, continuing the event until 6 p.m., nearly an hour beyond its scheduled end.

“It’s always so fun to meet students,” Coleman said, adding that she especially enjoyed interacting with seniors and international students. “I just appreciate the fact that students take advantage and come over to talk to me.”

“I just wish I had more time to talk to everybody,” she continued. “It’s really inspiring to see (the students). I always come away from these sessions really admiring the kind of students we recruit to Michigan. It’s really wonderful.”

And while some students came because they wanted to talk with Coleman, others came to see the inside of the University president’s house, enjoy refreshments like cookies and cider or just to kill time.

But with Coleman grinning, shaking hands and posing for pictures with students, nearly everyone left the open house saying they were happy they came.

LSA freshman Aditi Shetty said she was happy with the conversation she had with Coleman, who she described as “an icon of the University.”

“We talked about her house and the architecture,” Shetty said. “In hindsight, it was probably a really boring conversation to any outsider, but I thought it was really interesting, because when do you have the chance to talk to the University president?”

LSA sophomore Rebecca Guerriero said she decided to come to the open house because her friends were coming.

“I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t even know if we’d get to meet her,” she said, impressed with the event and with Coleman. “It makes the University seem like home. You come here and you see her and it’s like, she’s just like my mom. It was really cool.”

Also on hand to visit with students at the event were University Provost Philip Hanlon and Dean of Students Laura Blake Jones.

Hanlon said he enjoyed talking with students at the reception, saying it is a valuable way to get feedback from students about their experiences at the University.

“I enjoy interacting with the students,” Hanlon said in an interview at the open house. “I like to hear about the great things our students are doing, what their aspirations are and what their problems are, if they have any.”

In an interview during the event, Jones echoed some of Hanlon’s comments, saying she thought the event was a great way for students to interact with top administrators.

“I just think it’s so special that this is something that President Coleman does with students,” Jones said. “It’s a wonderful welcome to campus for new students or send off for seniors.”

And many seniors were on hand for the event, including LSA seniors Caitlin O’Gara and Fima Zaltsman, who said they came because they wanted to talk with Coleman about her biochemistry background.

“We were really excited that she’s a chemist because we’re both chemists too,” O’Gara said.

LSA sophomore Tessa Adzemovic also said she decided to come to the event to get a chance to chat with Coleman about biochemistry.

“I was interested because I know she was a biochem professor,” Adzemovic, a biochemistry major said. “I wanted to ask her about that, but also I just wanted to see what she was like.”

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