People walking on campus at the University of Michigan.
People walking on campus at the University of Michigan.
People walking on campus at the University of Michigan.

Message from President Mark Schlissel

Dear Friends,

Now that the fall semester is well underway, I am reminded of why it has always been one of my favorite times of the year. Seeing students rushing to class, renewing acquaintances with friends and colleagues, and hearing the Michigan Marching Band rehearsing off in the distance are as exhilarating as the fresh fall air.

This year, that excitement has been particularly poignant, as we resume traditional University of Michigan activities. We’ve especially missed having a campus full of students and experiencing the power of their energy, enthusiasm and ideas. I share in the joy they have expressed during our first two months back and feel a renewed sense of appreciation for U-M’s world-class in-person education, our vibrant residential experience, and ability to cheer on our athletics teams, attend arts and cultural events, and visit museums and galleries.

A major constant throughout the uncertainties of the pandemic has been the care and concern of our donors. The unwavering dedication of our alumni, friends, and volunteers ensured that we could fulfill our mission. Your generous gifts have supported students and academic programs, provided emergency funds, and helped us meet other critical needs on campus.

A group of students stands near a running lawn mower. Some of them look at measurement devices and some take notes.
Students from Research Professor Paul Green’s Industrial and Operations Engineering 334 class gather outside the Lurie Engineering Center on North Campus at U-M on September 28, 2021 to measure audio decibel levels from a running lawn mower. Photo: Robert Coelius/University of Michigan Engineering, Communications & Marketing

Support of our students has always been a top priority. We were thrilled to be able to expand the Go Blue Guarantee to all three campuses. And I’m delighted to report that donors committed 35 percent more to overall student support this year–a remarkable fact in light of the adversity that affected our entire community. This extraordinary generosity enables us to make a high-quality, Michigan education more accessible for more students and their families, so family finances are not a barrier to a U-M experience.

Your commitment is also enabling us to make groundbreaking discoveries in critical areas. For instance, donor support has led to pioneering medical treatments and advancements in our understanding of the coronavirus and its devastating and disparate effects on our communities. And work continues on new ways to meet society’s ongoing challenges and prepare for the new ones that inevitably will follow. This is work I look forward to supporting in the years ahead. 

Four students gathered at a table. One of them unravels some yarn for a project.
Students in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning take part in a special Design and Health workshop, Non-uniform Bodies, where they challenge cultural implications by “remaking” traditional, white lab coats worn by many medical, nursing and physician assistant students.

In this special edition of Leaders & Best, you’ll read how donors have made differences in the lives of individual students, propelled important research projects that will benefit the public at large, and advanced diversity, equity and inclusion to ensure that each member of our community has a full opportunity to thrive. I hope you find these stories as inspirational and illuminating as I did.

Thank you for your considerable support and efforts, over the last year and half and always. Your generosity has made the amazing work of our faculty, staff and students possible – and made our fall semester one full of promise and anticipation of new discoveries. I am extremely grateful for all that you do to ensure that U-M truly stays the Leaders & Best. 


Mark Schlissel

An image of a white rabbit carrying a red paper lantern that reads “2023.”

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Illustration of people in winter weather.

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