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Newman, Richner elected to Board of Regents

A love for U-M brought one regent back for another term, while the desire to give something back to his alma mater drew a newcomer to the University's governing body.

Fischer Newman

Andrea Fischer Newman and Andrew C. Richner, both Republicans, were elected Nov. 5 to the Board of Regents to serve eight-year terms. Fischer Newman was re-elected to her second term on the board, while Richner will serve on the board for the first time after 12 years as a state legislator.

A 1979 U-M graduate and alumna of the George Washington University National Law Center, Fischer Newman currently serves as senior vice president-government affairs for Northwest Airlines. A legal specialist in government contracts, she was appointed in February to the Federal Services Impasses Panel by President George W. Bush.

"I am thrilled to be coming back and continuing to work with the board and our new president," says Fischer Newman, who lives in Ann Arbor. "I love the University of Michigan and I love being involved in its future. I feel privileged to be a part of it, and felt I could contribute something. I am passionate about the University."

Fischer Newman says she has learned a lot in her eight years on the board about what she calls a "very complex and phenomenal university."

Fischer Newman, who says developing the Life Sciences Initiative and keeping the University affordable to all Michigan residents are her priorities, recalls her first year on the board, when former president James J. Duderstadt resigned in Sept. 1995.

"It was quite an awakening, and it was scary to be in that position and be responsible for choosing a president," Fischer Newman says. "During that process, the board came together very well and chose a terrific president. Now, we just went
through the process again and I think we have another great president."

Richner takes the place of regent Daniel D. Horning, whose term expires Dec. 31. Horning was elected to the board in 1994 with Newman, but did not seek a second term.

"This was an extremely close election decided by a razor-thin margin," says Richner, who beat Democratic challenger Greg Stephens by approximately 8,000 votes. "I felt like [Michigan place-kicker] Philip Brabbs coming in to kick the 44-yard field goal [against Washington] to win the close game."

Richner is serving his third and final term as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives for Detroit, the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods. Chair of the Insurance and Financial Services Committee and an attorney, Richner holds bachelor of business administration and J.D. degrees from the University.

"I look forward to serving on the board, and it will be a welcome change from partisan politics. I have always felt a special responsibility and obligation to do what I could to support the University," says Richner, a resident of Grosse Pointe Park. "I believe I have something to offer the University in return for what it has given to me."

Richner says the University should use its reputation and resources to be a catalyst for economic development, and should be more active in urban affairs and issues. His platform included stabilizing tuition increases and seeking new sources of revenue and funding for the University. He says his relationship with the Legislature can help the University, which faces decreased funding from the state.

"I have fought for higher education and am proud of the fact that since I have been in the Legislature, we have increased funding every year for our colleges and universities in the state," Richner says. "Times are going to be tough, but I understand the process and have the relationships necessary to represent the University and interests of higher education."

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