Campus News

University of Michigan president emerita to give McBee Lecture

Mary Sue Coleman McBee Lecture-sq
Mary Sue Coleman

Mary Sue Coleman, president emerita of the University of Michigan, will present the 26th annual Louise McBee Lecture Dec. 2 at 11 a.m. in the Chapel. The event is open free to the public.

Coleman will speak on “Public Higher Education in the 21st Century: Can America Continue to Lead?”

“Dr. Coleman’s career is exemplary of what the McBee Lecture stands for—integrity, leadership and innovation in higher education,” said Libby V. Morris, director of the Institute of Higher Education and the Zell Miller Distinguished Professor in Higher Education. “We are delighted that President Coleman has agreed to share her experiences and observations regarding public higher education with the university community.”

Coleman served as the 13th president of the University of Michigan from August 2002 until July 2014. Under her leadership, the University of Michigan launched and expanded academic partnerships with universities in China, Ghana, South Africa, Brazil and India. Coleman also announced a groundbreaking partnership between the university and Google, which enables the public to search the text of the university’s 7-million-volume library and opened the way to universal access and the preservation of recorded human knowledge. In 2009, Time magazine named her as one of the nation’s “10 best college presidents.”

Her leadership positions in higher education have included membership on the board of directors of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. She was chair of the Association of American Universities, which encompasses 61 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. and Canada. She also served as chair of the Internet2 board of trustees.

Elected to the Institute of Medicine, Coleman also is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She co-chaired a major policy study of the Institute of Medicine, examining the consequences of uninsurance, and has become a nationally recognized expert on the issue. She also is a trustee of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation, and she serves on the boards of directors of Johnson & Johnson and the Meredith Corp. A biochemist, Coleman built a distinguished research career through her research on the immune system and malignancies.

From 1995-2002, Coleman was president of the University of Iowa. She earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Grinnell College and her doctorate in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina. She holds honorary doctorates from 13 colleges and universities across the U.S. and also Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China.