Welcome to the University of Michigan, one of our country’s great public universities. One of the many reasons I am thrilled to be part of this university community is because of its long-standing commitment to diversity. I firmly believe that we can learn some of life’s most important lessons from each other. The more varied the perspectives represented, the richer our education. Our differences—whether they be the academic questions that engage us, age, economic background, gender, or race, to name just a few—bring a buoyancy to our campus community and help create the intellectual vitality that makes Michigan internationally renowned.
Since its founding more than one hundred and eighty years ago, the University has aspired to provide an outstanding education to a diverse student population. Former President James B. Angell, in his 1879 commencement address, said, “Good learning is always catholic and generous … It frowns on caste and bigotry. It spurns the artificial distinctions of conventional society. It greets all comers whose intellectual gifts entitle them to admission to the goodly fellowship of cultivated minds. It is essentially democratic in the best sense of that term.”
Several years ago, Michigan’s faculty, through the University Senate, reaffirmed its commitment “to recruiting and maintaining a culturally and racially diverse student body and faculty that are representative of contemporary society, and to assuring that these diverse influences are respected and incorporated into the structure of the University.”
I am proud to belong to an academic community that historically has embraced diversity and is as committed today to this ideal as it was during the days of President Angell. I invite you to join me in supporting Michigan’s ongoing efforts to promote an appreciation of and openness to the viewpoints and contributions of others.
Mary Sue Coleman