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Ceremony brings together friends, past and present community members

More than 350 faculty and staff from U-M and 100 other colleges and universities came together to honor Mary Sue Coleman as she was inaugurated as the University’s 13th president March 27. Among those in attendance were regents Laurence Deitch (chair), Rebecca McGowan, Andrew Richner, S. Martin Taylor and Katherine White. Former presidents James Duderstadt and Lee Bollinger also were present.
President Mary Sue Coleman (Photo by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services)

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul N. Courant welcomed guests to the ceremony. "I cannot tell you how much it pleases me today to preside over the inauguration of the first woman to serve as president of the University of Michigan," said Courant, whose remarks focused on the central theme that "change brings opportunity."

Deitch, with help from the other regents, performed the official installation. "We rejoice because we have an extraordinary leader and we look forward to working with her to take our Michigan from strength to greater strength," he said.

White read a letter on behalf of Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who was unable to attend the ceremony.

"As President Kennedy once said, 'Leadership and learning are indispensable to one another,'" Granholm wrote. "Dr. Coleman, you truly embody this notion."

What others said about the day and the new president:

Flag bearer Angelica Gutierrez, undergraduate student, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

"I think it is a great honor to have the opportunity to participate in our president's inauguration."

Flag bearer Brad Layton, graduate student in biomedical engineering

"I am excited about Mary Sue Coleman's inauguration. I think she's been attentive to those who see her."

Chuck London, special events coordinator, Facilities Maintenance

"A lot of people worked on this, from Zone Maintenance, Grounds, Building Services, the Electric Shop. I was here at 6 a.m. It's taken about three days to cover the whole floor and put the stage up. We built the ramp. We covered the wrestling floor so the ladies' heels don't poke through the floor. We have people from Building Services ushering, and we're watching the parking lots. The stage will be down by the end of the day."

Alene Smith, widow of former interim president Allan Frederick Smith (1979)

"I've seen a lot of these and have enjoyed them all actually. I think it's wonderful to have it here. I'm remembering the year that Allan served as interim president they gave him an honorary doctorate for the University of Michigan. When they did it, I just cried. It was a wonderful experience."

Charles Koopmann Jr., University Senate chair and associate chair in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology

"She [Coleman] is not afraid to confront difficult situations and issues, and she is really very decisive."

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