Mary Sue Coleman is the former president of the Association of American Universities, which encompasses 62 leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada, and president emerita of the University of Michigan, where she served as the 13th president from August 2002 to June 2014. In 2009, Time magazine named her one of the nation’s "10 best college presidents." Prior to that, she was president of the University of Iowa from 1995 to 2002.
Under Dr. Coleman’s leadership, the University of Michigan launched and expanded academic partnerships with universities in China, Ghana, South Africa, Brazil and India. She also announced a groundbreaking partnership between the university and Google, to enable the public to search the text of the university’s 7-million-volume library and open the way to universal access and the preservation of recorded human knowledge. Dr. Coleman led "The Michigan Difference," a campaign to raise $2.5 billion for the future of the institution. At its conclusion in December 2008, the campaign finale stood at $3.2 billion – the most ever raised by a public university. The university launched its $4 billion "Victors for Michigan" campaign under her leadership in November 2013.
President Obama selected Dr. Coleman as one of six university presidents to help launch the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a national effort bringing together industry, universities and the federal government. And in 2010, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke named her co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She was co-chair of the Lincoln Project, a three-year initiative of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to explore strategies to preserve the strength and diversity of public colleges and universities.
In addition to serving on The Kavli Foundation’s board of trustees, she is a member of the board of trustees for the Gates Cambridge Scholars, the Society for Science, the Universities Research Association, the University of Denver, and the NCAA.
Dr. Coleman is regarded as a national spokesperson on the educational value of diverse perspectives in the classroom. She co-chaired a major policy study of the Institute of Medicine, examining the consequences of uninsurance, and has become a nationally recognized expert on the issue. Her extensive leadership positions in higher education have included membership on the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and the Internet2 Board of Trustees.
Elected to the Institute of Medicine, Dr. Coleman also is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
As a biochemist, Dr. Coleman built a distinguished research career through her research on the immune system and malignancies. For 19 years she was a member of the biochemistry faculty at the University of Kentucky. Her work in the sciences led to administrative appointments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of New Mexico, where she served as provost and vice president for academic affairs.
She earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Grinnell College and her doctorate in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina.