UM-Flint Campus News
from the Desk of Chancellor Ruth J. Person
Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday of the year. It is truly
the holiday of "inclusivity," having no specific religious or
political affiliation. It isn't heavily commercialized, it's a time
for friends and family to gather, and the food is great! And
mostly, the weather is still quite pleasant!
I've always been fortunate to be
able to celebrate Thanksgiving with either family or friends, or sometimes
both. The Fall of 1995 was the lone exception, or so I thought as I
approached the holiday. I had moved to San Angelo, Texas from Ohio
and I really knew almost no one at my new university or in the
community. Ordinarily I would have gone to visit friends in
Michigan but hadn't accumulated enough leave to be off. So there I
was in a new place with nowhere to go.
My real estate agent Sally McKinney had been really welcoming to me when
I moved to town, even letting me live with her and her family while
my house was being repaired as I first arrived. Sally found out
that I had nowhere to go for the holiday, so she invited me to spend the
day with her extended family.
So there we all were, on a beautiful West Texas day (sunny and 70°) in the tiny town of Cristoval, where her (then)
mother-in-law lived. There were probably 12 or 15 family members
plus me, all seated at a kitchen table with lots of food, fun, laughter,
and gratitude. Rather than feeling like a stranger, those wonderful
West Texans made me feel like family -- a feeling I have never
forgotten. After dinner we went for a long walk through the
countryside, enjoying the beautiful weather and good company. How
lucky I felt that day.
at UM-Flint we have many people who join our community each year -- new
students, a cohort of new faculty, and new staff. Most are
strangers to us, and we to them. While we can't invite them all to
Thanksgiving dinner, I hope that each of us extends a welcoming hand
to newcomers on our campus.
have numerous opportunities for students to get involved and be included
through our Student Affairs programs. Students meet one another and
some of us at orientation. Then, in the Fall, they have an
opportunity to join clubs and interest groups that help them learn more
about one another outside of the classroom. I know our faculty make
ever effort to help students become acquainted with them and one another
in class as well.
New Faculty Mentoring Program is an excellent example of inclusion and
support. New faculty are joined by senior colleagues who spend the
year working with them to assist with the transition process. The
beauty of this program is that it includes both one-on-one interactions
as well as opportunities to interact as a group. I have had several
opportunities to meet with both last year's and this year's groups, and
will bring them all together at Ross House in the Spring for a
celebration of the program.
and inviting staff is more of a challenge on every campus because staff
typically come to join a university one at a time. I would
encourage each supervisor to make sure that they give a new employee a
campus tour and provide introductions to other staff and
faculty. Also, make sure the employee is invited to join
campus activities (for example, the campus holiday party, or a
"welcome back" event) so that they don't have to attend
alone. Our HR Staff is currently working on an orientation
checklist for supervisors so that they can help new employees integrate
into the campus as they join us.
the little things that often make the difference. A chance
invitation was a catalyst for me in creating a wonderful professional and
personal time in my life, leading to achievements, memories and
friendships that last to this day. It is my hope that
all of the new members of our campus community will have a similar
I am pleased to note that Dr. Mary Jo Sekelsky, Vice
Chancellor for Student Affairs, has been selected as incoming chair of
the Chief Student Affairs Officers of Michigan. Congratulations,
The Michigan Roads Scholars is a program run by the
university to introduce faculty and administrators to the state of
Michigan. The four-day tour of the state (I should say
"whirlwind" tour of the state... if this is Tuesday, it must be
Lansing? Cadillac? Petosky?) is preceded by Ann Arbor-based
orientation activities so that participants can learn more about one
another. This year I have been asked to serve as the chair of the
selection committee, which will be meeting in December. The program
is very competitive, and Flint campus members have been quite successful
in being chosen. I encourage faculty to apply and join a really
Well, our Chamber Singers have done it again!
They were invited by audition to perform at the Michigan State Convention
of the American Choral Directors Association in late-October -- a great
honor for this outstanding group.
This month we celebrated two important anniversaries
and brought together participants and supporters from both
programs. The Holt, Broadway, Bromme, McCree, Wright and Pointer
Scholarships Program celebrated its 25th year, and Chancellor Emeritus
Clinton Jones returned to be present at the celebration. This was
the first time I had the opportunity to converse with Dr. Jones, so I was
really pleased to finally meet him in person. I encouraged him to
visit the newly-upgraded "Clint's Cafe" - it's not every
Chancellor who has a restaurant named after him, after all! I hope
that I'll have more opportunities in the future to interact with Dr.
Jones. I'd love to hear his stories about his time in Flint.
Former Chancellor Charlie Nelms also returned to campus to celebrate
EOI's 15th anniversary. Charlie and I are old friends, so it was
great to see him and catch up on our mutual friends and interests.
Our newest tenant in the
Northbank Center - Chapter 13 Trustee, celebrated the opening of their
new offices. Welcome, neighbors!
the Neighbors: Chapter 13 Staff
I had the once-in-a life time
chance to use a Big House suite this Fall. A number of supporters
and colleagues including Bill Golling, our hockey coach, joined me.
Bill is the CEO of Golling Auto Group and our hockey club coach and
supporter (we're currently 9-2-2!)
Golling, our hockey coach
In mid-October, while meeting
Indiana friends in Frankenmuth at the Bavarian Inn, I was greeted by none
other than alumnus Bill Zehnder, whose family owns the Inn. We also
met daughter Amy and Bill's mom Dorothy, who came out from the kitchen in
her chef's "whites" to greet us. The Zehnder family
received SOM's Family Business Award this year.
On My Calendar
EOs (Ann Arbor)
Presidents Council Retreat
CEO for Cities
UM Real Estate Forum
Hurley Governance Committee
Veterans Day Program
Club Sports Banquet
UM Real Estate Forum
Hamilton Dance Tour
1010 Service Awards Dinner (Ann Arbor)
Downtowns of Promise
Hurley Press Conference
This year I will be celebrating Thanksgiving twice -- once on Wednesday
(prepared by culinary students from Johnson & Wales University), and
then Thursday (prepared by Chef David). Not sure how I got to be so
lucky, but I am ever so grateful, and looking forward to both
Have a safe and wonderful holiday!
you for reading "BlueNotes!"