Mary Sue speaks in Detroit, Washington D.C.

Mary Sue speaks in Detroit, Washington D.C.

President Mary Sue Coleman was the keynote speaker at the Detroit Economic Club’s March 24 meeting, speaking on the importance of entrepreneurship. Two days later, she was a featured speaker at the 63rd Annual Congressional Breakfast in Washington, D.C.

Detroit Economic Club

“When the financial crisis came, it hit as hard as Joe Louis. Between 2000-2008, our state lost 1 million jobs … out of this adversity came new thinking,” Mary Sue said. “In our state and at the University of Michigan. It was clear that we could no longer afford to be so insular and internally focused as we had been for decades … We needed to get our entrepenurial groove back.”

Mary Sue explained to the DEC crowd that the job market has changed, not only in Michigan, but in the rest of the world as well. Career paths are not linear, and education needs to adapt to prepare students for the reality of today’s economic realites. 

“It is time for higher education to infuse entrepreneurship in our curriculum, our research, and our operations. It is time for all of us in higher education to become the innovators that we are teaching our students to be.”

Students at U-M have full ownership of their intellectual property (with help to realize their ideas), and entrepreneurial activity within the faculty is considered in tenure decisions. 

In the Q&A portion of the event, Mary Sue was asked “why U-M is contesting the will of the people about the admission policy?” This is in reference to Proposal 2, which bans the use of race in admissions decisions.

“One of the reasons I came to Michigan is because I was proud of the University being willing to support affirmative action … I was pleased that the University approached this from a research perspective.”

According to Mary Sue, the research shows that a diverse classroom is the most productive environment to learn in. 

“I was disappointed when the state passed Proposal 2, but we revamped our admissions policies … I’m still totally committed to having a diverse student body at Michigan.”

This was met with a round of applause from the audience. Of course, the Alumni Association’s LEAD Scholar program is one way to help diversity at Michigan. 

Congressional Breakfast

 Mary Sue’s remarks at the U of M Club of Washington D.C.’s annual Congressional Breakfast centered around affordability. 

Via The Record Update:

“Today, for many Michigan students, it costs less to attend U-M than it did four years ago,” Coleman said. “We have continually made this commitment to be affordable at the same time we have reduced our spending and enhanced revenues.”

Many Michigan notables were in attendance, including the state’s entire delegation. 

The keynote speaker was Congressman Fred Upton. His D.C. License plate reads “BT Ohio.” He is not so subtle in the Mitten– “Beat Ohio.”

 Rep. John Dingell summed up the event perfectly: 

“We are here to recognize what this great university does for our economy and our state … Go Blue and go Mary Sue.”


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