The University of Michigan had a constructive, rewarding, and celebratory 2015, with highlights ranging from the start of a new football coach to listening to the campus community’s views on such sensitive topics as sexual misconduct and diversity. Here, we look back at the highlights of the year as we look forward to an even more fruitful 2016. Happy holidays to all our readers and, of course, Go Blue!
U.S News & World Report recognizes U-M in its ranking of America’s Best Graduate Schools. The University maintained top-15 rankings in all six categories ranked. It was a good year, ranking-wise, for U-M, which was 21st in the Times Higher Education World Rankings, 17th in U.S News’ Global Universities Ranking, and fourth in College Magazine’s Most Powerful Alumni Networks.
May 9 and May 24
On May 9, The U-M softball team defeats Nebraska to take the Big Ten Championship before making its 11th appearance at the Women’s College World Series. The Wolverines were bested in the series only by Florida, losing in the winner-take-all game on June 3. (The photo above is from the softball team’s game against Georgia.) On May 24, U-M baseball clinches the Big Ten Tournament Championship with a win over the Maryland Terrapins, earning an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. It eventually fell to Louisville in a close 4-3 game.
The University closes out its fiscal year with a total of $1.31 billion in research spending, just below its record high of $1.33 billion the previous year. Some of the major awards show the diversity and scale of research, including a $5 million award to support the Battery Fabrication and Characterization User Facilty and a $10 million grant to help evaluate the effectiveness of cancer therapies.
U-M announces that Nike will be its official athletic footwear, apparel, and equipment provider starting Aug. 1, 2016. Under the partnership, which runs until 2027 with an option to extend to 2031, Nike will supply all 31 of U-M’s athletics programs. The University and Nike also will collaborate throughout the agreement on innovation initiatives in sports technology, design, and best practices.
U-M opens Mcity, a 32-acre simulated urban and suburban environment on North Campus. It is the world’s first controlled environment specifically designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies, which will lead the way to mass-market driverless cars. U-M researchers are working in a partnership with several automotive companies.
The final touches are applied to the renovated West Quad and a new residence hall across Thompson Street, the Munger Graduate Residences, in anticipation of returning students. Munger, home to 630 graduate students, is a unique high-density residential-academic program. The improvements to West Quad marked the first major upgrade to the building in 75 years.
Jim Harbaugh, ’86, takes the field against Utah in his first game as U-M head football coach. Not only did he end the season with a 9-3 record and a trip to the Citrus Bowl, but he energized fans with a renewed sense of hope for their beloved Wolverines.
President Obama presents two of 11 National Medal of Arts awards to U-M honorees. U-M Emeritus Professor George Shirley, the first African-American tenor to perform leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera, was recognized for his long career. The University Musical Society received the award for its 137-year commitment to arts presentation, education, and creation. It was the first university-related arts presenter to receive the award.
The School of Nursing celebrates the grand opening of its new building. The facility, located at the corner of North Ingalls and Kingsley streets, includes classrooms as well as space for clinical simulations, labs, lectures, studying, and meetings. Although the school history traces back to 1891, this is the first time in 124 years that its students have a building designed specifically for engaged nursing education.
The Association of American Universities (AAU) releases the results of a national survey of 150,000 students at 27 participating colleges. The AAU survey showed that 23.1 percent of all undergraduate female respondents had experienced nonconsensual sexual misconduct, echoing the June results of a U-M survey that revealed 22.5 percent had experienced unwanted touching, kissing, fondling, or penetration in the previous year. Michigan Alumnus covered this story in “Facing the Complexities of Sexual Misconduct” in its late fall issue.
The Michigan Daily celebrates its 125-year run as a student newspaper by opening its 83-year-old building’s doors to nearly 400 alumni from across the country for a weekend of festivities. The newspaper is now Washtenaw County’s only daily print publication.
The Department of Theatre & Drama celebrates its 100th anniversary with a weekend of activities, including a performance of “All My Sons” by the playwright and author, Arthur Miller, ’38, HLHD’56. Other notable alumni of the school include James Earl Jones, ’55, HLHD’71, Gilda Radner, ’64-’70, and “Glee” star Darren Criss, ’09. That same semester, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance welcomed a new dean — Aaron Dworkin, ’97, MMUS’98 — who is the founder of the Detroit-based Sphinx Organization.
U-M hosts its first Diversity Summit, featuring a communitywide assembly, public lectures, and student-focused events to enhance staff diversity and inclusion. The summit also includes panels on the history of diversity, and equity and inclusion in higher education.