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Posted on Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 9:32 a.m.

Mary Sue Coleman: Ann Arbor is the pinnacle of college towns

By Cindy Heflin

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, writing on the Michigan Economic Development Corp. blog, calls Ann Arbor the “pinnacle” of college towns in which she’s lived.


Mary Sue Coleman

Coleman speaks of the way the university, with its campus in the heart of town, is integrated into the community. She mentions restaurants offering cuisines from all over the world, of parks and football, and of the Ann Arbor Art Fairs.

And she tells of a visit from a former Polish president who was impressed by the sight of 110,000 fans at a Michigan football game and by performances of the Kirov Orchestra and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Coleman, who is paid an annual salary of nearly $586,000, has been in Ann Arbor since 2002, when she became president of the university of more than 42,000 students.

She concludes the post with high praise for the city:

"There’s really no place like Ann Arbor. Life-changing research, a distinctive arts environment, world-class health care, and a diverse range of perspectives and people combine to create an unparalleled community.

“I can’t think of a better way, or place, to live.”

Cindy Heflin is associate news director at Contact her at 734-623-2572 or or follow her on Twitter.



Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

I agree...Ann Arbor is the pinochle of college towns.

greg, too

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

She's obviously not been to Berkeley, Madison, Chapel Hill, Bloomington (Indiana, not Illinois)...those are just off of the top of my head. Oh, don't forget Eugene.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 4:46 p.m.

This is just your opinion.

Dog Guy

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

The University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society announces the premiere of H.M.S. Pinnacle. Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty, will be sung by Mary Sue Coleman.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

Ann Arbor is a great town and I'm glad I live here but it is hardly the pinnacle. The following college towns from my personal experience are every bit as good as Ann Arbor and are arguably better: Madison, WI; Iowa City, IA; State College, PA; Evanston, IL; Hanover, VT; Corvallis, OR.


Sun, Sep 23, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.

Hanover (aka Hangover), the home of Dartmouth College, is in New Hampshire!


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 5:08 p.m.

Having been born, reared and educated in Madison, WI - I'm forced to agree that Madison is superior to Ann Arbor, although it's grown considerably from my youthful days to the point that it's nearly unrecognizable to me - it's still a fine city and Bascom Hill and woods are hard to match on campuses anywhere. The rapid growth of the campus hasn't helped beautify it though, and the Dutch Elm disease took its toll on the city's trees, but enough remain. And the people can take a little criticism and disagreeing opinions without going into panic attack mode, perhaps its the thing that separates provincial minds from the open.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 4:16 p.m.

Dear President Coleman, Thank you for your kind words about the City of Ann Arbor. I have lived in several of the college towns you mentioned, and I must agree. (Yes, Ann Arbor even bests my beloved hometown of Chapel Hill!) It truly is a great place to live and work. I hope that your comments will inspire others to come and grow with us. Yours Truly, Horatio Moose


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

Maybe Mary Sue should buy a bike and pedal around the campus and city using the streets and sidewalk. They are BOTH in horrible condition. Tree roots lift the concrete and their are pot holes everywhere with crumbling concrete. Perhaps she will donate half of her salary to improve these conditions. NOT. Just keep drinking the kool-aid Mary Sue. You are out of touch with reality. A2 needs a lot of work. Housing blight everywhere, crime on the increase,et......

say it plain

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

I'm glad that she loves Ann Arbor... it is a great town, and she makes a lot of money to run this very high-endowment institution, so I'm sure she's on top of branding issues, market share, emerging markets (china, brazil, etc)... How about helping to keep Ann Arbor the lovely city it is, the great place to live, by being a good citizen with some of that huge endowment? Almost all other educational and research institutions with UM's resources are private, and thusly don't take so much off the tax roles of their towns. Some big public institutions make Payments-in-Lieu-of-Taxes to be good citizens and help their host cities pay to keep hearth and home happy. Why can't the UM?! Why?! It's a much better alternative than a city income tax, much better for the city of Ann Arbor, this pinnacle of a college town. Just a little something to help with the firefighting, which we apparently can't afford to do up to national standards. Just a little something to help with the roads, because clearly we have some potholes that one typically associates with non-first-world cities, never mind "pinnacles". Just a little something to keep those police on the beat when the students leave their doors open and get in drunken fights on those amazing football saturdays. It seems the right thing to do, doesn't it?


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

Would you really want to give money to the clowns running the city?


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 2:51 p.m.

Herein lies the value of word choice. Ms. Coleman might have added one simple preposition - "at" - that might have made her look just a little better here. That is, "Ann Arbor is AT the pinnacle of college towns," as opposed to "Ann Arbor is THE pinnacle of college towns." Way to be humble Ms. Coleman. Now, nobody will think that anybody in this city has a superiority complex. -- PS For anybody interested in the actual quote, from the blog: "Having devoted a career to higher education, my husband and I have enjoyed making our home in several terrific towns: Albuquerque, N.M., Chapel Hill, N.C., Austin, Texas, Lexington, Ky., and Iowa City. Ann Arbor, however, is the pinnacle."


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

Wait a minute, I thought Ann Arbor was the center of the Universe?


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

This article isn't the pinnacle of journalism, that's for sure.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

#1 on the "Mary Sue Coleman list of top college towns"! It just keeps coming!!

say it plain

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

Lol...I'm surprise the news-aggregator article-writers here didn't instead make the title "Ann Arbor makes another list of top college towns"...