Message from the President

Winter 2014 (Special Edition)

Help recapture our state leadership in higher education funding

It’s been a year now since I began communicating with you through Michigan Impact about the important ways the University of Michigan has played a significant role in improving the state’s economy:

  • U-M’s cutting-edge research and academic programs help support our state’s most critical industries.
  • Our research is put to use here in Michigan and around the globe.
  • Our students launch successful careers with what they’ve learned on our campuses.

The stories and data we’ve shared demonstrate the tangible ways we contribute — and you, as alumni, are a critical piece of that contribution. We have also shared the stories and data with legislators from every corner of the state showing the reach of the U-M across Michigan.

As you know, in the last two years, state support for the university has risen modestly, but this year, I am so encouraged to see the governor’s budget proposal with a substantial increase for higher education, the first major increase since I came to Michigan in 2002.

The governor’s proposal of a 6 percent increase is incredibly significant, a move I think the whole country will be watching. We have the chance here in Michigan to re-capture national leadership with support of our public universities. The end result will be more affordable college costs for Michigan students, and more innovation for our state’s economy. We’ve worked hard at U-M to do our part in keeping the cost to attend affordable, particularly for students from our state.

I firmly believe that states that do not invest in higher education will not win in the 21st century.

And I want the state of Michigan to win.

I am immensely grateful to the Business Leaders for Michigan for the leadership of statewide CEOs in supporting public higher education.

BLM believes that our public universities are one of the state’s key assets for future competitiveness.

They know firsthand what it means to have a well-educated workforce and expertise in their backyards. They know that technological and scientific innovation — which used to be so prevalent in corporate research labs — is now more often happening at our research universities.

They have worked for a number of years to deliver that message to our communities and to our state leaders. And now they are taking further action through Make Opportunity Affordable: Support Higher Education in Michigan, a campaign to encourage our state’s citizens to write their legislators and urge them to support the governor’s proposal for increased higher education funding.

They know — as I do — that investing in higher education is investing in job growth. We have more than 65,000 jobs in the state that can’t be filled because people don’t have the education and training to do the work. We need to change that, and supporting higher education is the way to make that happen.

Take a moment to read more about BLM’s efforts through their Facebook page.

Then, I urge you to find your legislator and convey how you feel about increasing funding for our state’s public universities.

Your support will be very helpful to our efforts.

Mary Sue Coleman
President, University of Michigan