Societal impact is a quintessential strength of the University of Michigan, and I am proud that the work and talents of our professors, staff and students are making a positive difference throughout the state.
Communities in every part of Michigan enjoy unique economic, intellectual, cultural and health benefits from U-M’s work.
I’ve previously discussed the advantages of U-M’s leadership as the nation’s most productive research university, but a new analysis details how our research activities contribute millions of dollars to local businesses.
U-M researchers spent $43 million at Michigan-based companies in 2017. These are payments we made to vendors and subcontractors for goods and services needed to conduct research at the highest levels. Companies based in Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne and Ingham counties led the way in research contracts for the year.
Our researchers are also helping state and local leaders better understand the causes and consequences of this spring’s record water levels in the Great Lakes. In recent weeks, our professors have spoken on coastal management in Traverse City, analyzed the dramatic year-to-year change in lake levels, and cautioned that rapid changes in climate will require greater preparation in the years ahead.
Residents and visitors to Detroit will experience Midtown differently thanks to a team that includes three U-M faculty members. The team’s “Detroit Square” project won the international design competition that will create a new district around 12 cultural and educational institutions in Midtown.
Last month, the University of Michigan partnered with Harvard University to convene the Opioids: Policy to Practice Summit in Ypsilanti. We know that opioid overdoses
kill an average of 130 people in the United States each day, making it the deadliest drug epidemic in our nation’s history.
These tragedies cost our national economy an estimated $115 billion per year, and that does not even begin to measure the heartache and loss felt by the families and loved ones of the deceased.
The summit brought together hundreds of in-person and online attendees to learn about best practices and discuss solutions regarding opioid prescribing and prescription drug monitoring, drug overdose detection, and access to treatment and criminal justice. I was pleased to speak with many local officials from around the state at the summit.
As summer begins, I want to congratulate the 12,000 students who graduated from our three campuses and their families and friends. Our graduates hail from all parts of Michigan and around the world.
Last week, the Board of Regents appointed a new chancellor for our University of Michigan-Flint campus. Chancellor-elect Debasish Dutta will begin Aug. 1. He is an engineer who earlier in his career was on the faculty in Ann Arbor, and he brings a lifetime of academic leadership experience and accomplishment to his new position.
Also at our Regents meeting, the board approved the university budget for the 2020 fiscal year. The budget continues our Go Blue Guarantee, a free-tuition pledge for Ann Arbor campus in-state students with a family income of $65,000 or less, while increasing undergraduate financial aid by 11.2 percent.
That boost in financial aid will help offset a 1.9 percent increase for in-state undergraduate tuition on our Ann Arbor campus – the smallest increase in six years. This also means that most in-state undergraduates who receive need-based grant aid will once again see no increase in their tuition costs.
Dearborn and Flint also provide generous financial aid with budgets set to increase by 11.4 percent and 5 percent respectively. Among full-time, first-time degree-seeking students, 94 percent receive financial aid at Dearborn, and 95 percent receive aid at Flint. This results in the cost of attending these two U-M campuses as being amongst the lowest in the state.
We look forward to working with Gov. Whitmer and the Legislature to increase funding for public higher education in the state budget, and appreciate the support of our great friends and partners throughout Michigan.
Mark S. Schlissel