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Biographical background on 2005 Dartmouth honorary degree recipientsMARY SUE COLEMAN(Doctor of Science)

Posted 04/28/05 • Contact Roland Adams (603) 646-3661

Mary Sue Coleman
Mary Sue Coleman

Mary Sue Coleman became president of the University of Michigan on Aug. 1, 2002. She is professor of biological chemistry in the U-M Medical School and professor of chemistry in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Coleman served as president of the University of Iowa for seven years prior to her appointment at Michigan.

Coleman has served as provost and vice president for academic affairs (1993-1995) at the University of New Mexico and as vice chancellor for graduate studies and research (1992-1993) and associate provost and dean of research (1990-1992) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She served 19 years as a member of the biochemistry faculty and as a Cancer Center administrator at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where her research focused on the immune system and malignancies.

Elected to the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine in 1997, Coleman is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She co-chairs the Institute of Medicine's Committee on the Consequences of Uninsurance.

Her extensive leadership positions in higher education include serving on the Association of American Universities (AAU) executive committee, the American Council on Education (ACE) board of directors, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) board of directors, and the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

As a result of the admissions lawsuits in which the University of Michigan prevailed at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003, she has also become a national spokesperson on the issue of university admissions and affirmative action.

In the 2003-2004 academic year, she unveiled several major initiatives that will have an impact on future generations of students, the intellectual life of the University of Michigan, and society at large. These include initiatives that will examine ethics in society, issues related to health care, interdisciplinarity, and student residential life. In 2004, she launched the ambitious "Michigan Difference" capital campaign for the future of the University. With a goal of $2.5 billion, this campaign will attract funding that will enhance programs across the campus, including several new student scholarships and fellowships.  

She earned her baccalaureate degree in chemistry from Grinnell College and her doctorate in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina. She did postdoctoral work at North Carolina and at the University of Texas at Austin.

Return to 2005 Commencement press release

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