The University Record, April 24, 1995

Cynthia Wilbanks, Roberta Palmer named to administrative posts

Cynthia Wilbanks, Roberta Palmer named to administrative posts

Cynthia H. Wilbanks will become associate vice president for university relations on June 12. Her appointment was approved by the Regents at their April meeting.

"Ms. Wilbanks will lead and coordinate the University's state governmental relations activities," said Walter Harrison, vice president for university relations. "She will build and maintain effective relationships with state legislators, agencies and officials, as well as monitor state legislative, administrative and regulatory activities as they pertain to University operations.

"Given her experience, I believe she also will make important contributions in community relations. She will be responsible for the University's Lansing Service Center."

Wilbanks began her professional career in 1973 as a staff assistant to U.S. Rep. Marvin L. Esch of Ann Arbor, serving in the congressman's Ann Arbor office for three years.

In 1977, she joined the staff of U.S. Rep. Carl D. Pursell of Plymouth. In 1977-79 she was the Wasthenaw County field representative for Congressman Pursell. In 1979-92 she was district director for the congressman, responsible for supervising a field staff for all district operations, including overseeing personnel decisions and budget matters She regularly analyzed public policy and policy formation and interacted with decision-makers at the local, state, federal and private levels.

Since 1993, Wilbanks has served as president of Michigan's Children, a non-profit, statewide multi-issue advocacy organization that represents children and their interests.

Wilbanks is active in the local community, serving as a member of the Board of Directors of Glacier Hills Retirement Center, the Board of Directors of Motor Meals of Ann Arbor, and of the Ann Arbor Rotary Club. She was chair of the Advisory Council for the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce Innovation Center and co-chair of the Government Relations Committee of the Michigan Technology Council.

Wilbanks received her B.A. in political science from the U-M in 1973.

Roberta R. Palmer, vice president for governmental affairs at Wayne State University, has been named secretary of the University.

The appointment, effective July 1, was approved by the Board of Regents at its April meeting.

"In this position, Ms. Palmer will perform such functions as may be necessary for the proper and legal exercise of the Board of Regents' authority," said President James J. Duderstadt. "She will be the official custodian of the minutes and all related supporting documents and official custodian of the seal of the University of Michigan. She also will perform other duties that the Board may assign, and she will be an assistant to the President."

Palmer has been in her current position at Wayne State since 1988. She is responsible for Wayne State's relationships with the executive and legislative branches of state and federal government. She directs the development and coordination of Wayne State's operating and capital budget requests, program proposals, and policy positions and communication on these matters with the university president, the governing board, government officials and other university constituencies.

Before going to Wayne State, in 1977-88 Palmer served the U-M as government relations coordinator, assistant to the vice president for state relations, and later as director of state relations and assistant to the vice president for government relations.

Before that, she worked at the Detroit Institute of Technology as instructor of mathematics (1969-71), assistant coordinator of the New Study Program (1971-74), chair and assistant professor of the Mathematics Department (1972-75), and as Title III director (1975-77). In 1968-69, she was instructor of mathematics and academic counselor at the Bloomfield Country Day School in Bloomfield Hills.

Among other professional activities, Palmer is a member of the State Relations Task Force of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and served as a member of Government Relations Committee, New Detroit Inc., in 1988-90.

Palmer received her B.A. in 1968 and M.A. in 1969 from the U-M. She is working on a Ph.D. in higher education administration at the U-M.