Robben Wright Fleming

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Robben Wright Fleming
File:Robben Wright Fleming.jpg
Born (1916-12-18)December 18, 1916
Paw Paw, Illinois, United States
Died January 11, 2010(2010-01-11) (aged 93)
Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Academic work

Robben Wright Fleming (December 18, 1916 – January 11, 2010) was the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1964 to 1967, and the President of the University of Michigan from 1968 to 1978.


He was born in Paw Paw, Illinois on December 18, 1916.[1][2][3][4] In 1934, he received a B.A. from Beloit College, and an LLB from the Law School at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1941.[2][3]

He worked for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the War Labor Board.[1][3] During the Second World War, he served as a Captain in North Africa and Europe for six years.[1][3] In 1947, he served as the head of the Industrial Relations Center in Wisconsin.[2] In 1952, he became Assistant Professor and Director of the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois.[2][3] In 1958, he became a Professor of Law at Illinois.[2]

In 1964, he became the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he helped assuage student protests in 1964.[1][2] He also expanded university projects in Nigeria, France, Germany and Japan.[3] In 1967, he paid the bail for students who had been arrested for blockading a university building.[1] In 1968, he became the ninth President of the University of Michigan.[1][4] He led discussions during the Black Action Movement strike, with students demanding more African-American students on campus.[1][3] He also helped turn the campuses at Dearborn and Flint into four-year institutions.[5] He stepped down as President in 1978.[1] From 1979 to 1981, he worked for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.[3] In 1981, he became a full Professor at the U-M.[3] In 1988, he served again as interim President of the U-M, tackling concerns over racial, sexual and gay-lesbian discrimination, to no avail: Fleming had tried to devise an adjudication system to address discrimination concerns, but the effort failed when a federal district judge ruled that it violated the First Amendment.[3] From 1985 to 1990, he worked as a representative for Michigan Governor James Blanchard.[3]

He died in Ann Arbor, Michigan in January 2010.[1]


  • Tempests into Rainbows: Managing Turbulence. Robben Wright Fleming, University of Michigan Press, 1996. ISBN 0-472-10674-0


External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
Fred Harvey Harrington
President of the University of Wisconsin
Succeeded by
William H. Sewell
Preceded by
Harlan Hatcher
President of the University of Michigan
Succeeded by
Allan Frederick Smith
Preceded by
Harold Tafler Shapiro
Interim President of the University of Michigan
Succeeded by
James Duderstadt