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April 22, 2014 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-22

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Tuesday, April 22,2014- 7B

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Under Coleman's leadership,
entrepreneurship flourished

Students reflect
on twelve years
of presidential

Campus community
learned to thrive in
innovation culture
Daily StaffReporter
In her tenure as University
President, Mary Sue Coleman
has championed entrepreneur-
ial spirit both on campus and off.
Coleman has stressed the
importance of innovation and
student entrepreneurship, espe-
cially in recent years, and her
efforts have seen great returns.
The University's knack for busi-
ness has put Ann Arbor on the
map as a hub of creativity and
innovation, now being com-
pared to other innovative areas
like Silicon Valley.
Under Coleman's leadership,
the College of Engineering pio-
neered the Center for Entrepre-
neurship, which was established
in 2008 to pool the University's
resources and experienced fac-
ulty to guide young entrepre-
neurs. Since its inception, the
CFE has launched a number
of entrepreneurship-focused
courses, in addition to co-man-
aging the TechArb student
startup incubator.
In a March speech in San
Diego, Coleman said entre-
preneurship empowers young
people to navigate the ever-
changing job market - a quality
the University hopes to provide
to its students.
"We have reimagined our
future," Coleman said. "Entre-
preneurship, disruptive innova-
tion, technology virtualization
and collaboration is making it
happen now."
In March, the University
implemented its newest pro-
gram, Innovate Blue, which
works with a host of University,
local and commercial partners
to power the proliferation of
student entrepreneurial spir-
it in the greater community.
Among these partners are the'
CFE, TechArb and Ann Arbor

Coleman also helped create a
University partnership with the
city of Ann Arbor called Ann
Arbor SPARK, a service that
"drives the development of inno-
vative technology startups." The
partnership has garnered $1.4
billion in new investments in
AnnArbor, and earned Coleman
the Institutional Leadership
Award from the International
Economic Development Council
March 27.
At the ceremony, IEDC
chairman Paul Krutko, CEO of
Ann Arbor SPARK, presented
Coleman with the award and
commended her efforts to pro-
mote development.
"Mary Sue Coleman is a
proven leader who is creating
economic opportunity in Mich-
igan," he said.
This sentiment is one that is
echoed by all of those who have
worked to widen the scope,
impact and application of stu-
dent entrepreneurship at the
CFE Executive Director Tom
Frank said the combined pas-
sion for innovation displayedby
Coleman and Dean of Engineer-
ing Dave Munson compelled
him to move from his home in
Silicon Valley in the summer
of 2013 and accept the offer to
work in the CFE.
Frank identified the CFE's
three main objectives: estab-
lishing undergraduate entre-
preneurship programs, running
aggressive commercialization
trainingprogramslike M-TRAC
- which merges transportation
innovations created at the Uni-
versity into the auto industry-
and pushing community efforts
to sponsor student startups. He
said Coleman has been a strong
proponent of all of these goals.
"In my limited tenure, I can
tell you that I've had the privi-
lege of watching her speak on
a number of occasions and the
way that she evangelizes the
importanceof entrepreneur,
ship has been a true catalyst
for not only student organiza-

tions, but for the external stra-
tegic partners that I look for to
give our programs the rocket
fuel they need to get to the next
level," he said.
Engineering Prof. Thomas
Zurbuchen, Innovate Blue's
senior counselor for entrepre-
neurial education, said this type
of leadership was essential to
the founding of Innovate Blue,
which will tap into University,.
local and national resources to
unite entrepreneurship edu-
cation and practice in the real
"It was clear that Engineer-
ing, Business and LSA started
supporting that," Zurbuchen
said. "So what she then did was
basically say, 'Okay, let's now
push the button and go do it.' So
she was a really critical part of
that campus life engagement of
entrepreneurship. I credit her
tremendously for that."
The University unveiled the
new program at South by South-
west, a 10-day festival in Austin,
Texas that promotes innovation,
music, technology and film. Its
development may have been
driven by the administration,
but Zurbuchen said a lot of time,
effort and ideas came from stu-
dent organizations aswell.
Innovate Blue is the first pro-
gram of its kind in that it has
paired with student organiza-
tions and outside partners to
drive the entrepreneurship cur-
One of these groups is MPow-
ered, whose goal is to simply
"expose students to entrepre-
Engineering senior Chris
O'Neil, the outgoing president of
MPowered, said the University
has been a key proponent of the
organization's success, foster-
ing entrepreneurial spirit but
staying hands-off enough to let
students independently build
"high-power, high-energy"
events on campus.
O'Neill said SpringFest was
an event that reflected students'
abilityto innovate- particularly
with the inclusion of the MPow-

ered-sponsored "MTank." Mod-
eled after ABC's "Shark Tank,"
the event allowed student entre-
preneurs to present their startup
ideas to a panel of local venture
O'Neil added that an event
like this is indicative of the
growth of student interest in
entrepreneurship at the Uni-
"Over the past seven years
or so, MPowered and the Cen-
ter for Entrepreneurship have
started to see alot more people
interested in entrepreneur-
ship, see a lot more people tak-
ing risks and trying something
new," he said. "Honestly, a lot
of them fail, but that's a part of
growth and the University is a
really good place to do that -
to fail and have the support of
your peers and the support of
the administration."
There is still a greater need
to bridge the gap between Uni-
versity students, the admin-
istration and the Ann Arbor
community, O'Neil said. How-
ever, with administrative bod-
ies like the CFE, groups like
MPowered and curricular pro-
grams like Innovate Blue, this
goal is in sight, but takes time.
Zurbuchen and Frank agreed
with this sentiment, adding
that entrepreneurship at a Uni-
versity level has the potential to
affect the greater environment
- as evidenced by Ann Arbor
Zurbuchen said part of
effecting this change has to do
with interdisciplinary inter-
action, something that the
budding entrepreneurial com-
munity on campus, coupled
withthe efforts of Innovate Blue
and the CFE, strives to achieve.
Overall, he said, entrepreneur-
ship is a value life skill for all
students to acquire.
"If I ask any employer today,
'What are you looking for in a
future employee?' what they
will say is, 'Leadership and an
open mindset.' So the ability to
see what can be done, but turn
these ideas.

University's top
leader held fireside
chats, meetings with
an array of students
Daily StaffReporter
University President Mary
Sue Coleman has become a
campus celebrity.' Through-
out the 12 years of her presi-
dency, she fostered personal
relationships with students
through monthly fireside chats
and annual open houses at the
President's House to students
in the fall.
"She is very approachable
and very kind," said Business
senior Michael Proppe, former
Central Student Government
president. "You can really just
tell the intelligence and poise
that she exudes. She has gone
such a long way in making the
University a great school."
Throughout her time at the
helm, Coleman maintained a
tradition of opening her house
to students in the fall. In Sep-
tember, hundreds of students
lined South University to tour
her house and take pictures
with her.
"She takes a lot of time to
engage with students," Proppe
said. "I think she is overall one
of the most accessible univer-
sity presidents in the country.
Her commitment to taking the
time to individually speak with
students is definitely some-
thing that could be commend-
Coleman has also held peri-
odic "fireside chats" to allow
students the opportunity to ask
her questions and discuss their
experiences at the University in

a comfortable setting. Coleman
brought the practice of fireside
chats from her time as Presi-
dent of the University of Iowa.
She and E. Royster Harper, vice
president for student life, sit
down with a handful of students
once a month, a rare chance for
students to get direct access to
Kinesiology sophomore
Kelsey Thome attended one of
Coleman's fireside chats last
year and said she appreciated
that Coleman took the time to
visit the freshmen living on
North Campus.
"It was very intimate and
very personal," Thome said.
"It was really like just sitting
down and talking with her. I
thought it would be more for-
mal, but it wasn't, which I real-
ly liked."
Proppe said during his time
working with Coleman she was
open to student input and took
student ideas into consideration.
When the Athletic Department
made the decision to switch to
general admission seating, Cole-
man readily listened to student
concern and advocated the stu-
dent voice.
"She's definitely a very help-
ful person,"- Proppe said. "She
cares a lot about the student
experience and is willing to
fight for students when she sees
an issue."
Coleman's campus presence
and dedication to the students
has earned her the love of the
University community.
"Everyone loves Mary Sue,"
said LSA sophomore Paige
Devries. "She really tried to get
involved with the students. I
think that's something people
will miss. I just associate Mary
Sue with the University. She's a
presenie on canipus when she
doesn't have to be."

From Page 1B
values in mind.
Coleman, who was born in Kentucky
and came of age in a South separated by
segregation, began to understand the
corrosive nature not only of division,
but exclusion, when she moved to Iowa
for junior high school.
In an interview with The Michi-
gan Daily, she said it was the Univer-
sity's decision to fight for affirmative
action before the U.S. Supreme Court,
that partly led her to leave the Univer-
sity of Iowa presidency for Michigan.
But despite the promise of expanded
access, Coleman found herself on the
Diag in 2006 after the passage of Pro-
posal 2, the Michigan ballot proposal
that banned the use of race in admis-
sions, proclaiming the University's
commitment to diversity.
For Coleman, these decisions are
rooted not only in a belief in the value
of a diverse student body, but also in
a drive for connection and accessibil-
"The other part is my strong feel-
ing that we have to partner with other
people - that you can't go it alone and
that universities have to open up to the
outside community and bring other
thoughts and advice in," she said in an
interview with the Daily.
However triumphant the Univer-
sity's win inside the marbled halls of
the Supreme Court, the aftermath of
Proposal 2 may also be etched as one of
Coleman's greatest frustrations - and
failings - of her presidency.
Black undergraduate enrollment has
fallen to just over 4 percent since the
Michigan voters banned the use of affir-
mative action in admissions.
"I think you can never be satisfied
and certainly I'm not," she said. "It's one
of the things I'm disappointed about -

that we weren't able to achieve as much
as I'd hoped we would butI know people
are committed and I know we'll keep
But despite the extent to which Cole-
man has worked to open her administra-
tion and the University she leads, there
have been times the Fleming Adminis-
tration Building has kept information
and processes closed off from the pub-
lit, the media and members of the Uni-
versity community.
In January, after the Daily reported
former kicker Brendan Gibbons had
been permanently separated from the
University, raising questions about the
University's promptness in investigat-
ing allegations and sparking criticism of
the University's transparency, Coleman
remained largely silent on the issue, cit-
ing privacy protections, apart from a
written statement.
"Athletics has no influence over sex-
ual misconduct investigations or the
academic standing of student athletes,"
she wrote.
This incident is not the first that
sparked controversy during her final
year of her presidency.
In the fall, a number of University fac-
ulty criticized Coleman and her admin-
istration for failing to be transparent
and inclusive in the University's deci-
sion to centralize 250 department-level
employees in a shared services center -
a component of the larger Administra-
tive Services Transformation.
Sustainingthe future
In a 24/7 joblike a university presiden-
cy, institutional challenges frequently
weigh hard on their leaders. If anything
keeps Coleman up at night, it's the task of
funding amulti-billion dollar operation-
an entity that has seen plummeting state
support during her tenure.
In interviews with multiple members
of Coleman's personal staff, preservation
of the University's fiscal health was listed

as one of her top accomplishments.
"I always, in the back of my mind, am
worried about resources, and making
sure that the University of Michigan has
enough in the way of resources because
what we do is costly," Coleman said. "We
give a personalized education here
that I think is the very best education
for young people, but we have to have
the resources to do it."
This worry, too, is partly entrenched
in the same frustrations expressed due
to underrepresented minority enroll-
ment: the struggle to open the Uni-
versity's doors during a time when it's
becoming fiscally more challenging to
do so.
"I'm also worried about families
not feeling that they can send a son
or daughter to Michigan because of
resources so we really have to have
more financial aid and that's at the top
of my list," Coleman said.
When Coleman addressed the grad-
uates of Eastern Kentucky University
in 2012, she appealed to the legacy of
her grandfather, Albert Wilson, who
left his Kentucky farm to go to college,
paving the way for Coleman's father
and eventually herself. In many ways,
Coleman sees access to higher edu-
cation not only as the key to a better
life for succeeding generations, but as
the bedrock of her own journey to the
"A college education - the diploma
you have worked so hard to earn - has
a catalytic effect of geometric propor-
tions," she said.
In November, Coleman launched
the $4 billion Victors for Michigan
campaign, the University's largest
fundraising effort to date, complete
with a $1 billion goal earmarked for
student support.
The campaign, which will continue
well into the presidency of University
President-elect Mark Schlissel, is just
one marker of the ongoing challenges
that remain unconcluded at the end of

a presidency.
"She's kind of a caretaker - we're all
caretakers," Hrabec said. "This insti-
tution is so old it's going to go on long
after we're gone - so for a moment in
time, we're caretakers."
Though Krenz deferred to define
Coleman's legacy, he said her longev-
ity is significant, noting that the aver-
age university president serves 4.5
years, compared to Coleman's 12.
"The longer presidencies in this uni-
versity's history have been the most
impactful presidencies and that's not
just because of the amount of time,"
he said. "It's because of the stability
that comes with that kind of extended
leadership. You need fresh blood, but
universities are very dynamic places
and to have the protective umbrella of
a constant presidency is very helpful
to an institution."
After 12 years, Coleman has left her
mark on the University - on the campus
landscape, on its coffers and on its com-
But for a president so widely loved and
well known, Coleman - who loves bicy-
cling, Joni Mitchell and her cats Jerry
and Betty - has. often kept the personal,
While the joys of the presidency are
often visible, moments of sadness and
anger are harder to see.
When a University medical transplant
helicopter crashed in 2007, killing the
entire team on board, Coleman said it
was one of the most wrenching moments
of her presidency. She attended all six
"You can't predict those sorts of
things, but you have to be ready when
tragedies happen that you can bring the
community together," she said.
Legacies, like personas, are also hard
to pinpoint. Characterizing a 12-year
term as open or closed, triumphant or not

enough is a task many of Coleman and
her colleagues deferred.
"Legacies are best defined by others,"
she said in an interview with the Daily
and again at the fireside chat, with the
Pendleton Room's portraits of the past
staring down at her.
In 1961, Mary Sue Wilson, then a high
school senior in Iowa, came home to
eat lunch with her dad. She arrived to a
Western Union telegram, announcing
she was a finalist in the Westinghouse
Science Talent Search.
The daughter of a chemistry profes-
sor and a third-grade teacher, Coleman
had been participating in science fairs
since junior high. Now, she was the first
Iowa student selected as a Westinghouse
finalist. Wearing a pillbox cap and white
gloves, Mary Sue traveled to Washington
and met President John F. Kennedy in the
White House.
Fifty years later, she delivered the key-
note address to the 2012 crop of what are
now called Intel finalists. Those students
had just met President Barack Obama,
whose signed holiday card sits on a shelf
in Coleman's office.
"If you had told me then that I would
become president of one of the world's
leading research universities, I would
have laughed out loud," she said to the
finalists. "The only thing I was sure of
at age 18 was that I loved chemistry and
maybe, just maybe, I would become a col-
lege professor."
Coleman, a biochemist by training,
went on to proclaim the beauty in science
and unpack the doors opened by discov-
ery and risk-taking.
"That leads me to my first piece of
advice for you... I encourage you to
embrace the unknown."
For Mary Sue Coleman, reaching for
uncertainty, in the pursuit of possibility,
inclusiveness and openness, is more than
okay. It's beautiful.

A 4

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