For University President Mary Sue Coleman, the light at the end of the tunnel just got a little brighter. With about five months left in her position, the American Council on Education has awarded her a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to higher education.

ACE is a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy association that works on federal higher education policy. In a statement, ACE President Molly Corbett Broad said it will be a “privilege” to give the award to Coleman.

“Few individuals have matched the indelible mark she has made on the face of American higher education, from fostering initiatives that greatly improved the academic lives of her students to speaking out about the educational importance of diversity and helping launch efforts to increase our nation’s ability to better compete on the global economic stage,” Broad said in a press release.

ACE cited Coleman’s impact on improving student life — specifically residential life and interdisciplinary studies — as well as innovation and creativity as top considerations for the award. The announcement also noted Coleman’s expansion of academic partnerships, both with universities around the world and with Google, which will “enable the public to search the text of the University’s 7-million-volume library.”

During her tenure at the University, Coleman spearheaded The Michigan Difference campaign, which raised $3.2 billion for a variety of programs and initiatives. Additionally, Coleman created the Residential Life Initiative to renovate residential halls across campus.

The organization also noted Coleman’s selection as one of six university presidents to help launch the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership an effort that fosters collaboration between industry, universities and the federal government.

Coleman will receive the award on March 9 at ACE’s 96th Annual Meeting in San Diego. She will also deliver the annual Robert H. Atwell Lecture, which focuses on a timely higher education topic.

Last March, more than 1,500 leaders in higher education convened in Washington, D.C. for the four-day meeting, which focused on massive open online courses, or MOOCs.

Since announcing her retirement last spring, Coleman has been awarded several honorary degrees, including ones at Michigan State University and Indiana University.

President-elect Mark Schlissel, the current provost at Brown University, was announced as Coleman’s successor at the end of January. His term will begin July 1.

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