NMU's Communit Connection

Volume 11, Issue 6 – May 23, 2012

Dear NMU Community Connection Members,

I wanted to introduce myself to you and say hello. As active as I've been throughout the years in Marquette, especially since I moved back here permanently in 2003, I feel like I know many of you. But for those of you I haven't had a chance to meet, what follows is a little information about me and about what the process for selecting a long-term president will be.

As you may have read in the news announcing the NMU Board of Trustees' decision to name me interim president for a two-year period, I have been involved with Northern Michigan University for about 40 years, starting with my years as an NMU student. I'm the first alumnus to served as the university's president, which is quite an honor. I graduated from NMU in 1972 with a political science degree (and history minor), and went on to earn a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley School of Law in 1984. Prior to law school, and for many years after, I worked in the public policy field, including positions in the Office of the Governor and in the Michigan Senate for the Office of the Senate Majority Leader and Office of the Vice Chairman of Appropriations. From 1985-2003, I was a partner in a Lansing area public policy agency. For the past six years I've been a faculty member in the NMU Political Science and Public Administration Department and a consultant to several clients, including NMU, on public policy matters.

I love teaching and I will miss doing so during my interim appointment as Northern's president. When a long-term president is selected after a national search, which will be started by the NMU Board of Trustees in about a year, I anticipate that I will return to the classroom. Some people have asked me why the Board chose not to do a national search for the interim position, such as when Dr. Bill Vandament came to NMU in the early 1990s. I've been told that the main reason was simply the scope of some of the projects that are at critical junctures this summer and this upcoming year. Members of the Board's executive committee have told me that we need to keep these projects moving forward right now and that is why they are choosing to do the national presidential search in about a year.

NMU has actually dealt with presidential departures in both manners in the past. Dr. Vandament came in as an interim president following a search and then had the interim title removed after a period of time. When Dr. Judi Bailey announced her resignation in 2003, then Vice President Mike Roy was named interim the same day and a national search was done, which resulted in Dr. Wong coming to NMU.

I want to publicly thank Dr. Wong and Phyllis Wong for their outstanding work at NMU during their eight years here. I have truly enjoyed working with Les and have admired his unrelenting willingness to do whatever it took to keep Northern moving forward during an exceptionally challenging economic period. Luckily for me, the Board of Trustees has asked Dr. Wong to continue to advise me in my new position until he and Phyllis depart for San Francisco in the middle of July, and he has agreed to do so. Many of you have asked how to contact Les during this period. He can still be reached at lwong@nmu.edu or send him a message via NMUPres@nmu.edu and I'll make sure he gets it.


David Haynes, NMU President

Questions or comments can be sent to NMUPres@nmu.edu.