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Reactions to Hanlon — Then and Now

In as nice a piece of student journalism as you are likely to see (The D take note, please), the news editor of the Michigan Daily, Kyle Swanson, wrote a fine profile of Phil Hanlon upon his appointment as Provost at Michigan in September 2010. After reviewing the positive reactions of members of the Michigan community to Hanlon’s promotion, Swanson noted the large number of Michigan Provosts who had gone on to become the president at another institution. He ended with this vignette:

Asked whether Hanlon had the “right stuff” to become a university president down the line, [then-President of Michagan Theresa] Sullivan said she thought that he did.

“Well, it certainly would not surprise me,” Sullivan said. “I think it’s not an unusual career path. It’s not inevitable, and I understand there’s something of a trend in the United States now for provosts to decide they don’t want to be presidents. So there are some who don’t, but there certainly are a good number who do.”

However, when asked whether it was an ambition of his to become a university president some day, Hanlon gave a more indirect answer.

“Well, I’m, let me be provost first,” Hanlon said with a laugh. “I’ve only been provost for two months and right now I’m just really focused on being successful and helping the University of Michigan be successful.”

And focusing on his role as provost is something Hanlon is certainly doing.

Today’s Valley News has a more limited reaction piece as well. I appreciate being accurately quoted:

Even a vociferous Dartmouth critic, Joe Asch, a writer for Dartblog and often an outspoken thorn in the college’s side, called Hanlon a “great choice,” and had mentioned Hanlon on his blog three times in the last two years, twice recommending him for Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees and once for the presidential search committee.

“I think he should have been a trustee years ago,” Asch said. “I’m thrilled by this choice, frankly.”

Hanlon’s background in undergraduate education is what sold Asch, and while Asch called former president Kim a breath of fresh air when he was first hired, he said from the beginning that his [Kim’s] lack of experience in undergraduate education and administration would hurt him.

“In a sense, [Hanlon] he’s the anti-Kim. It’s [a] really hopeful [step],” Asch said.

Vociferous? I just tell the truth and they think I’m being vociferous.

Note: Thanks to Bruce Wood at the Big Green Alert blog for pointing out the Swanson article.


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