Today marks Mary Sue Coleman’s 100th day as University president, and members of the University’s administration agree she has brought an invaluable set of qualities to the position.

“She has, first and foremost, a passion for higher education,” Vice President for Government Relations Cynthia Wilbanks said, adding that Coleman is not at all shy about sharing that passion with everyone she meets.

“She has really jumped in with enthusiasm and a lot of energy in all aspects of work,” she said.

Wilbanks also said Coleman’s understanding of the role the University plays in the community and across the state has prompted her to leave the boundaries of the campus in her meetings with community leaders. She said Coleman is very interested in meeting with constituencies and has brought a unique perspective and approach to the presidency.

“I think the president is off to a fabulous start at Michigan,” Wilbanks said.

“She calls them as she sees them,” said Paul Courant, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, regarding Coleman’s straightforward approach.

He said her knowledge and experience as a scientist has made an enormous difference in her work with the Life Science Institute.

Courant, recently appointed provost by Coleman, said she is not only fun to work with, but that she also has a nice sense of humor.

“Her ease with people from all over the University is an extraordinary asset,” he said.

Courant said he expects she will improve upon what she has accomplished thus far.

“One hundred days is not very much time,” he said. “It is a big and complicated place.”

Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs, said he is amazed at the broad insight Coleman has exhibited when dealing with pressing issues confronting the University.

“The University of Michigan is fortunate to have in President Coleman a leader of tremendous breadth and knowledge,” said Monts, who is also senior counselor to the president for arts, diversity and undergraduate affairs.

“From life sciences to community involvement to issues surrounding diversity and the lawsuits, we see a disciplined leader and a person of enormous integrity,” he said.

Monts said he has found Coleman to be a great listener, as well as someone who is open to faculty and administration input.

“While President Coleman may not agree with every initiative and every proposal that comes her way, one can always be assured that she has carefully considered what you have to present,” he said.

“As time passes, we stand to see more of her brilliance.”

University Regent Larry Deitch (D-Bingham Farms) said Coleman brings deep experience as a past Big Ten University president as well as a set of values regarding how public universities should run and what they should stand for.

“The first hundred days have only reinforced the view I expressed on the day I nominated her for president,” he said. “Among the candidates we saw, she was the best of the best.”

Deitch said it is her skills, her experience and her attitude toward higher education that have made her a strong and decisive leader. He also said her history as a people person was a critical element in her selection, one that she has exemplified in her work at the University so far.

“I think she has shown a high degree of energy and enthusiasm about going out and meeting with various community groups,” Deitch said.

He added that he thinks the splendid job she has done so far is an example of what she will do in the future.

“I am looking forward to great things under her leadership in the months and years to come,” Deitch said.

Newly re-elected University Regent Andrea Fischer Newman (R-Ann Arbor) said Coleman has “hit the ground running” since starting her position at the University.

Specifically, she said Coleman moved immediately on appointing Alan Saltiel as the new director of the LSI. Newman said Coleman’s background in science has enhanced the role she has played in the development of the LSI.

She added that former University President Lee Bollinger was a great president too, but that both his and Coleman’s styles are somewhat different. Newman said Coleman has been terrific in meeting the University’s current needs.

“Michigan has a great history and tradition of finding the right person at the right time to be our president – we’re very lucky that way.”

“The idea that we’ll get to spend many years together is exciting,” Newman said.

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