Dr. Mark S. Schlissel was appointed today as the fourteenth president of the University of Michigan by a unanimous vote of the institution’s Board of Regents. Schlissel currently serves as provost of Brown University and will follow in the footsteps of Mary Sue Coleman, who will step down from the post on July 1 of this year. She retires after giving twelve years to the job at the Ann Arbor-based institution.
Schlissel was born in 1957. A physician, Schlissel also holds a doctorate and has been a recognized biomedical researcher. Before rising to the position he currently holds at Brown, he was Dean of Biological Sciences at the College of Letters and Science at the Berkeley campus of the University of California. There he held the C.H. Li Chair in Biochemistry. "It is a tremendous honor to be entrusted with the presidency of one of the nation's great public universities," Schlissel vowed, following the vote, that he will “bring to Michigan a fierce commitment to the importance of public research universities, a strong and personal belief in the ability of education to transform lives, and the understanding that excellence and diversity are inextricably linked."
Schlissel graduated cum laude in biological sciences at Princeton, and then went on to earn his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He then completed a residency program in internal medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and was a fellow in postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. He has focused on the biology of the human immune system. While working at Johns Hopkins, Schlissel earned awards for his research and teaching. At Berkeley, he mentored more than 20 Ph.D. candidates who did dissertation research in a lab at either Hopkins or Berkeley.
Speaking to the synergy between research and an excellent educational environment, Schlissel said, "Students get to learn from faculty who are defining the leading edge of human knowledge and curiosity; and the imagination and energy of our students contribute to the research enterprise."
The newly minted University of Michigan president is taking on a big job. The University of Michigan has 19 schools and colleges on the campus in Ann Arbor, serving 28,000 undergraduates and 15,000 graduate and professional school students. In addition, it has two regional campuses in Dearborn and Flint. It is currently tops in the country for research spending among public universities at $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2012. In 2017 it will celebrate its bicentennial.