The University Record, June 11, 1996

U-M community says thanks, farewell to President Duderstadt

Duderstadt holds a framed collection of all the new construction that has taken place on campus during his tenure as president.

Photo by Paul Jaronski

By Jared Blank

Hundreds of staff members packed Schembechler Hall May 30 to hear their colleagues recognize the accomplishments of the Duderstadt presidency, thank James and Anne Duderstadt for their commitment to the University, and present them with a fluffy pink Energizer bunny.

"What stands out most is you folks," the president told the large audience. "We've gotten to work with you on such a wide range of functions. After all, the University is not bricks and mortar, it's people."

Duderstadt assured the crowd that he would still remain an integral part of the University, even though he will now be based on North Campus instead of the Fleming Building. "We will remain as loyal and committed to this institution as we always have." In case he is needed again on Central Campus, he said he would "jump in his Wolverinemobile" and zip on down.

Anne Duderstadt assured the assembled staff that "without you, this place would not work."

Speakers discussed how the president took the lead on projects that were important to them, their units and the entire campus.

Debi Cain, coordinator of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, discussed Duderstadt's focus on the advancement of women on campus. "He had a firm grasp of the concept of violence against women and how women are affected by violence," she said. "I know I can count on his continued support of the Agenda for Women." Cain also praised Duderstadt for his work with the Task Force on Violence Against Women.

James J. and Anne Duderstadt had a chance to talk to many staff members who visited Schembechler Hall to wish the Duderstadts well.

Photo by Paul Jaronski

Lester P. Monts, vice provost for academic and multicultural affairs, spoke of Duderstadt's work with the Michigan Mandate. "He has placed cultural diversity at the center of University life. His contribution at the U-M to diversity goes well beyond numbers," Monts said. "President Duderstadt has debunked the myth that education and diversity are exclusive of each other." Monts said that under Duderstadt's lead, the U-M has become a "national and international leader in institutional diversity."

Trina Hardy, secretary in the president's office, presented the Duderstadts with a large, stuffed, pink Energizer Bunny, the first of many gifts they received. Like the bunny, she said, the Duderstadts "keep going and going and going."

The Duderstadts received an array of "thank you" gifts, including a poster with drawings of many of the buildings constructed under Duderstadt's tenure, a pine tree and a photo of Duderstadt in full football gear when he played tackle at Yale University. Debra Mexicotte, a student services associate in the Michigan Union, presented a colorful replica of of the architects' terra cotta signature piece in the Michigan Union that represents intellectual diversity across campus.

Duderstadt will step down from the presidency June 30. Homer A. Neal, vice president for research, will be interim president.