President of the University of Michigan

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The President of the University of Michigan is the principal executive officer of the University of Michigan. The office was created by the Michigan Constitution of 1850, which also specified that the president was to be appointed by the Regents of the University of Michigan and preside at their meetings, but without a vote.[1] Between the establishment of the University of Michigan in 1837 and 1850, the Board of Regents ran the university directly; although they were, by law, supposed to appoint a Chancellor to administer the university, they never did, and instead a rotating roster of professors carried out the day-to-day administration duties.[2]

While the modern office was created in 1850, the University of Michigan itself now traces its date of founding to 1817, when its precursor, the University of Michigania, was founded. The only president of that institution, Rev. John Monteith, is listed below, but is not officially considered to have been a president of the University of Michigan.

The first President of the University of Michigan was Henry Philip Tappan. The position had originally been offered to Henry Barnard, but he declined, and Tappan and John Hiram Lathrop (then Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–Madison) were nominated as new choices, after which Tappan was unanimously elected. Barnard later succeeded Lathrop at Wisconsin.

The 14th and current President of the University of Michigan is Mark S. Schlissel, appointed in 2014. Of the previous presidents:

List of Presidents of the University of Michigan

Number Name Years in office Notes
Rev. John Monteith 1817–1821 First and only President of the University of Michigania
none 1821–1837 Office abolished in favor of a Board of Trustees
none 1837–1852 Board of Regents replaces Board of Trustees
1 Henry Philip Tappan 1852–1863 First President of the University of Michigan, removed by regents
2 Erastus Otis Haven 1863–1869 Resigned to become President of Northwestern University
acting Henry S. Frieze 1869–1871 Following President Haven's resignation.
3 James Burrill Angell 1871–1909 Retired after 38 years (longest-serving president)
acting Henry S. Frieze 1880–1882 While President Angell is U.S. Minister to China
acting Henry S. Frieze 1887–1888 While President Angell is on International Commission of Canadian Fisheries
acting Harry Burns Hutchins 1897–1898 While President Angell is U.S. Minister to Turkey
interim Harry Burns Hutchins 1909–1910 Following President Angell's retirement.
4 Harry Burns Hutchins 1910–1920 Was the first student to receive a degree from James B. Angell at Michigan; retired
5 Marion LeRoy Burton 1920–1925 Died in office
acting Alfred Henry Lloyd 1925 From February through September after the death of President Burton
6 Clarence Cook Little 1925–1929 Resigned to conduct research at Bar Harbor, Maine
7 Alexander Grant Ruthven 1929–1951 Retired after 22 years in office
8 Harlan Hatcher 1951–1968 Retired
9 Robben Wright Fleming 1968–1979 Resigned, was chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
interim Allan Frederick Smith 1979 Following President Fleming's resignation.
10 Harold Tafler Shapiro 1980–1988 Resigned to become President of Princeton University
interim Robben Wright Fleming 1988 Following President Shapiro's resignation.
11 James Johnson Duderstadt 1988–1996 Resigned to return to teaching
interim Homer A. Neal 1996 Following President Duderstadt's resignation.
12 Lee C. Bollinger 1996–2002 Resigned to become President of Columbia University
interim B. Joseph White 2002 Following President Bollinger's resignation.
13 Mary Sue Coleman 2002–2014 First woman President at U-M. Her name was inscribed on the new wall at the construction site of the new Museum of Art. Retired.[3]
14 Mark S. Schlissel 2014–present took office in July 1, 2014.[4]

Source: (Bentley Historical Library 2004)


  1. State of Michigan 1850, Article 13, section 8
  2. Hinsdale 1906, p. 37


  • Bentley Historical Library (2004), University of Michigan Presidents, retrieved 2007-08-24<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Hinsdale, Burke A. (1906), Demmon, Isaac (ed.), History of the University of Michigan, University of Michigan, retrieved 2007-08-16<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Sahadi, Jeanne (November 20, 2006), Highest paid college presidents,, retrieved 2007-08-24<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • State of Michigan (1850), Constitution of Michigan of 1850, retrieved 2007-08-24<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>