Rick Snyder reaching out to alma mater, University of Michigan president says
Having a University of Michigan alumnus sitting in the governor’s chair should be good for the university, President Mary Sue Coleman said Monday.
Governor-elect Rick Snyder, who has both undergraduate and graduate degrees from U-M, has already been in contact with university officials, Coleman told the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs Monday afternoon.
“We’ve already had several contacts with (Snyder),” Coleman said. “He has asked us for advice on appointments he is making."
“I like the fact that he is consulting broadly” across both parties, she said.
Earlier Monday, Snyder held a press conference at the university’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy to announce two appointments to his leadership team, including the appointment of Democrat Andy Dillon as the state treasurer.
Snyder’s election comes as the university is preparing its annual request to the state for funds. Coleman noted the amount of money the university gets from the state has been shrinking each year.
“It’s going to be a difficult year,” she said.
She also told the faculty group the university is continuing to solicit private funds from donors to make up the difference and help U-M continue to grow.
“We can’t let the economy keep us from thinking in terms of the next 50 years,” she said.
Private giving to the university has dipped by more than 25 percent over the last two years, although university officials have said last year the drop was just over 4 percent.
In 2008, the university had gifts totaling $342,054,221. In 2010, that figure has dipped to $254,086,812, according to documents included in a recent report to the Board of Regents.
Coleman previously announced the university needs to cut $120 million out its budget by 2017.
College officials have said that through 2010, U-M has cut about $24 million of the $100 million targeted to be cut through the 2012 fiscal year. That means that the university is looking to cut a total of $196 million from now through 2017.