University President Mary Sue Coleman was voted into another prestigious role yesterday as a result of her leadership at the University.
In an uncontested election, Coleman was elected chair of the Association of American Universities — a nonprofit organization comprised of 61 American and Canadian research universities. Coleman, who was previously vice chair of the association, will serve a one-year term, which began yesterday.
In her new position, Coleman will speak on behalf of the AAU, advocate for the organization and its ideals and ensure it is operating according to plan.
“The contributions and discoveries of research universities are integral to the forward momentum of our country,” Coleman wrote in a University press release issued yesterday. “I look forward to giving voice to our important work in the upcoming year.”
University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham said the University is excited about Coleman’s new position, and she expected the announcement since it is customary for the vice chair to become the next chair of the AAU.
“It’s an honor that President Coleman was chosen,” Cunningham said. “AAU is a highly regarded organization made up of the top research universities in the country.”
Cunningham added that she believes Coleman is “incredibly well suited” for the position.
The new role will place Coleman as chair of the association’s executive committee, which functions like a board of directors, according to Cunningham. Coleman was elected after the AAU’s nominating committee nominated the positions of chair and vice chair at the organization’s semi-annual meeting in Washington D.C. this week, and then all of the association’s members voted on the nominees, Cunningham said.
Coleman is succeeding Jared Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University, and will be working with new AAU Vice Chair Scott Cowen, who is president of Tulane University.
The University was one of the AAU’s founding members in 1900. Out of 14 founding universities, the University of Michigan was one of three public institutions.
Coleman and the AAU recently made headlines when the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was voted out of the association. Even though the vote to eliminate Nebraska from the association was anonymous, some speculated that Coleman voted against Nebraska’s membership.
Apart from her work at the University and with the AAU, Coleman is on the boards of director for Johnson & Johnson and media company the Meredith Corporation. She also serves as co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Correction appended: A previous version of this article misquoted Kelly Cunningham. A previous version of this article also incorrectly stated the founding year of the AAU.