The University Record, October 2, 1995

Duderstadt to step down June 30

President James J. Duderstadt announced last Thursday that he will retire from the presidency June 30 and return to the faculty. He has been president since 1988.

The president said he chose to make the announcement now to give the Board of Regents ample time to search for a successor.

See page 6 for a statement by the Board of Regents, comments of individual Regents and an interview with the president conducted by Roger Sutton, broadcast coordinator, News and Information Services

September 28, 1995

An Open Letter to the University Community

Dear Members of the Michigan Family:

For many years I have given speech after speech on the changes occurring in the world, in higher education, and in our University. In this letter I continue that theme of change, but in a more personal vein.

After serving for almost a decade as provost, acting president and president, Anne and I have decided that this will be our last year as leaders of the University. It is my intention to retire from the presidency and return to the faculty of the University next summer.

We want to thank all of you both for your support and for the privilege of serving the University in these leadership roles. It has been a wonderful and exhilarating experience, primarily because of the extraordinary people who learn in, work for, sacrifice for and love Michigan. It has also been a satisfying period in our lives because of the great progress made by the University during these years.

While there is no perfect time to step aside from a leadership role, Anne and I have decided that this year may be the best both for us and for the University. Through the efforts of countless members of the University, most of the goals we set in the late 1980s have now been achieved. Today, in 1995, by any measure, the University is better, stronger, more diverse, and more exciting than at any time in its history due to your efforts.

National rankings of the quality of the University’s academic programs are the highest since these evaluations began several decades ago.

Through the remarkable efforts of our faculty, the University now ranks as the nation’s leader in research activity.

Despite a decline in state support over the past two decades, the University has emerged financially as the strongest public university in America. Our endowment has increased four-fold to over $1.3 billion. And, with almost two years left in the Campaign for Michigan, we are already at 90 percent of our goal.

A walk around the University reveals the remarkable transformation in our environment as we approach the completion of our massive effort to rebuild, renovate and update all of the buildings on our campuses.

The University Medical Center has undergone a profound transformation, placing it in a clear leadership position in health care, research and teaching.

And perhaps most important of all, through efforts such as the Michigan Mandate and the Michigan Agenda for Women, we now have the highest representation of people of color and women among our students, faculty and staff in our history.

It is clear that as we approach the 21st century, the University of Michigan has become not only the leading public university in America, but that it is challenged by only a handful of distinguished private universities in the quality, breadth, capacity and impact of its many programs and activities. Throughout higher education, people now look to us as truly “the leaders and best.”

It is natural to take great pride in what members of the Michigan family—faculty, students, staff, alumni and friends—have accomplished. Working together, we have indeed built a truly extraordinary university. But we have built a university for the 20th century, and that century is rapidly coming to an end. It is now time to lead the University in new directions, to transform ourselves to better serve a rapidly changing world. And I believe that such new directions may benefit best from new leadership, fresh visions and untapped energy.

To this end, I have informed the Board of Regents of my intention to return to the faculty at the end of this academic year. This will provide the Regents with ample time to complete the search for my successor. This transition period will also allow me to provide the stable leadership necessary to keep the University on course until a new president has been selected.

Although we have had many opportunities for leadership elsewhere, Anne and I remain deeply committed to Michigan. Indeed, after 27 years on the faculty, then as dean, provost and finally as president, we are maize and blue down to the level of our DNA. We look forward to serving the University in new ways in the years ahead. And we look forward to many more years of working with the marvelous people who make up the Michigan family.

Thanks for the opportunity to serve!

And Go Blue!!!


James J. Duderstadt