Mary Sue Coleman, a senior advisor of the Peterson Rudgers Group, is a national leader in higher education. She is president emerita of the Association of American Universities, president emerita of the University of Michigan, and former president of the University of Iowa. Launching her career as a biochemist at the University of Kentucky, where she served on the faculty for 19 years, Coleman went on to become a vocal advocate for increasing the number of women professors as a university administrator. She served as vice chancellor for research and graduate education at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and provost at the University of New Mexico before serving as president of the University of Iowa from 1995 to 2002.
From 2002 to 2014 Coleman was president of the University of Michigan, where she led the defense the University’s affirmative action policies in seminal Supreme Court cases, focused tremendous effort on the state’s economic vitalization including helping to create the University Research Corridor, and oversaw a groundbreaking partnership with Google to digitize the university’s 7 million volume library. In 2010, President Obama enlisted her to help launch the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership and she was named co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She was president of AAU from 2016 to 2020. She returned to U-M to serve as interim president in 2022.
Coleman is currently a member of the boards of trustees of the Kavli Foundation, the Gates-Cambridge Scholars Program, the Society for Science, the University of Denver, and the board of governors of the NCAA. She formerly was a trustee of the Mayo Clinic and a director at Johnson and Johnson, Meredith Corporation, Gaylord Container Corporation, and the Iowa branch of Norwest Bank (now Wells Fargo Bank).
Coleman earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Grinnell College and a PhD in biochemistry from UNC. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Time magazine named her one of the nation’s 10 Best College Presidents in 2009 and the American Council on Education honored her with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.
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