At yesterday’s meeting of the University Board of Regents, University President Mary Sue Coleman vowed to find a spring commencement location that would satisfy both students and administrators.

Coleman admitted that University officials had underestimated the desire by students to hold commencement on campus, saying the University aimed to maximize the number of tickets available to students when selecting a location.

Above all, Coleman said student input will have an impact on the University’s final decision.

“Their disappointment is understandable, and I want our graduating students to know that their voices are being heard,” Coleman said.

At the conclusion of the meeting, three different students delivered public comments, urging University officials to find an on-campus location for spring commencement.

LSA senior Juhi Aggarwal, creator of the blog “Michigan Graduation 2008 … Not at the Big House?”, said she was disappointed with the decision-making process that led the University to initially move commencement to Eastern Michigan University’s Rynearson Stadium. She urged University officials to consider student preferences in its final decision for a commencement location, which University officials said will be announced within the next three weeks.



University Provost Teresa Sullivan said at the Regents’ meeting that the Office of New Student Programs would become the main office for student veterans’ affairs on campus.

Sullivan said the office would act on behalf of all student veterans in University affairs and would represent the veterans in University student governance matters.

She said a new specialist would be hired to coordinate all University services and events for student veterans on campus.

In addition, a student veterans mentoring program and a student veterans’ services website accessible to all University student veterans will be created, Sullivan said.



Jerry May, the University’s vice president for development, said the University recorded its highest-ever fundraising totals for the month of December last month, bringing in approximately $90 million in cash donations and reaching $2.8 billion in the ongoing Michigan Difference fundraising campaign.

Although it has surpassed its $2.5 billion goal, the campaign will continue through the end of the year.

As part of the President’s Donor Challenge, an ongoing fundraising campaign, the University has raised about $442 million for undergraduate and graduate need-based and merit-based financial aid, May said.

He said that number would likely rise to $500 million by the end of this year.


During the meeting, Stephen Forrest, the University’s vice president for research, said the University’s federal research funding grew by about 1.8 percent during the fiscal year that ended June 31 of last year.

Forrest said he didn’t expect an increase in federal research funding this fiscal year.

Forrest said higher education cuts made to the state budget by lawmakers will result in little to no increase in federal research funding for the University from organizations like the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Health.

The last fiscal year was the fourth in a row where federal funding remained flat for the University.

The University’s research total for the 2007 fiscal year did increase, though. It rose 3.3 percent to $823 million. Forrest attributed the increase to new funding from industry sources.

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