A note from Susan Collins

October 15, 2014

This letter originally appeared in the October 15, 2014 edition of our electronic newsletter, 'the ford school feed'.

The culmination of our Centennial celebrations draws near.

We expect over 150 alumni; many friends, former faculty, and U-M leaders; and of course, all of our faculty, staff, and students to come together for The Centennial Reunion, October 31 - November 1.

It will be a party worthy of the occasion--a tribute to our past and a fine launch for our next century. And there’s still time to join the fun! Learn more and register here.

One highlight of the weekend will be the presentation of the 2014 Staebler Alumni Service Award. This year’s richly deserving winner? A very good friend of the Ford School, Patrick Anderson (MPP ’83).

Anderson founded Anderson Economic Group (AEG) in 1996, and serves as the Principal and Chief Executive Officer in the company. AEG, a highly regarded consulting firm, has provided consulting services for a number of states, manufacturing companies, retailers, telecommunications companies, many other business enterprises, and to colleges and universities.

The Staebler Award gives us a wonderful opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of our alumni. I am delighted that the Alumni Board has chosen to celebrate Patrick Anderson—someone whose public and private sector work has left a lasting imprint on our state.

The quality and scope of Anderson’s professional work has created a tremendous pipeline of jobs and internships for Ford School students and graduates. In addition, Anderson has generously shared his expertise and advice in a number of educational and career-building forums at the school.

Even as we recognize the accomplishments of the past, we’re leaning with great excitement into the future—into our next century.

In the near future, at a November 20th ceremony at the White House, the newest winners of the National Medal of Science will receive their awards. I could not be more proud to announce that our own Robert Axelrod, the Walgreen Professor for the Study of Human Understanding here at the Ford School, will be among them.

This is a rare honor for any scientist, but rarer still in the social sciences. Of the 487 winners of the National Medal of Science since the award was established in 1959, fewer than two-dozen have been social and behavioral scientists. Only one other political scientist has ever received the National Medal of Science, and that was over a quarter century ago.

It is indeed a well-deserved honor for Axelrod, who has made paradigm-shifting contributions to our understanding of conflict and cooperation.

Axelrod is in Washington, DC this semester, serving as a Jefferson Science Fellow in the State Department, but will return to the Ford School following his year of service. We congratulate him on this immense honor.

Looking farther down the road? We’ll continue our work. We’ll continue to educate and inspire, to lead innovative and important research, and to catalyze real and lasting change.

And we’ll continue to ask the support of our alumni—the most engaged alumni at the University of Michigan. Hire our students as interns or full-time jobs. Serve on the Alumni Board. Help create real-world opportunities for learning through our Applied Policy Seminar. And invest in the next century of citizens, public servants, and leaders.

See you back in Ann Arbor on October 31!


Susan M. Collins
Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy