Michigan's University Presidents Meet With Governor

Wednesday 12, 2011
LANSING, Mich — Michigan’s 15 public university presidents said they are prepared to work collaboratively with Gov. Rick Snyder, following an hour-long meeting Wednesday (Jan. 12).

"It was a very positive and candid meeting," said NMU  President Les Wong.  " There is no doubt Michigan's universities will have to share in the of dealing with the state budget in the short term, but I believe the governor is putting together a long-term strategy that will be better for higher education in the long term."

Snyder told the university presidents he has four challenges for them:

·         Turn out even more highly qualified graduates and guide them into fields where work is readily available in Michigan.

·         Work to keep more of those graduates in Michigan, by helping recreate our urban areas and encouraging entrepreneurism.

·         Be partners in economic development and job creation.

·         Help state government access the knowledge base of universities to solve state problems.

“If you look at great economic development, a university is usually behind it somewhere,” Snyder told the presidents during the meeting, held at the Governor’s Conference Room at the Capitol.

Wong added that NMU welcomed the governor's emphasis on results "because we've always been a results-oriented campus."


Snyder told the presidents that short-term, the state budget deficit will call for continued sacrifice from all of Michigan, but that long-term, the state needs to invest more in higher education.


Michigan Tech President Glen Mroz, who is chair of the Presidents Council, Sate Universities of Michigan, said the meeting was extraordinarily candid and productive, and that other university presidents told him the meeting set a positive tone for the relationship between Michigan’s higher education operations and Gov. Snyder’s administration.



“The governor was clear about the difficult nature of the budget issues we all face, although he provided no details – and we did not expect any,” said Mroz. “He called on Michigan’s public universities to partner with him on returning Michigan to prosperity, and all of my colleagues pledged to leverage the assets of their schools to assist him. Gov. Snyder told us several times he believes he was elected the governor of all of Michigan, not just the governor of state government. That is a very heavy load, and Michigan’s public universities are ready to help him share that burden by stepping up our efforts to meet his goals and reinvent Michigan.”