Mary Sue Coleman

Provost Lisa Lynch, Mary Sue Coleman, President Ron Liebowitz, Eve Marder ’69

Left to Right: Provost Lisa Lynch, Mary Sue Coleman, President Ron Liebowitz, Eve Marder ’69

Mary Sue Coleman is the president of the Association of American Universities (AAU), a highly selective organization of 62 U.S. and Canadian higher-education institutions.

AAU members are chosen on the basis of their commitment to innovation, scholarship and solutions that contribute to scientific progress, economic development, security and well-being (Brandeis became an AAU member in 1985). Nearly half of all U.S. doctoral degrees and 55 percent of doctoral degrees in the sciences and engineering are awarded by the 60 AAU universities in the U.S.

As AAU president, Coleman works to help shape a wide range of federal policies that affect higher education. Recently, she has called on Congress to pass a permanent solution for DACA registrants and praised the FY18 "omnibus" spending bill for increasing science and student-aid investments.

Before taking the helm at AAU in 2016, Coleman served as president at two flagship state universities: the University of Michigan, from 2002-14, and the University of Iowa, from 1995-2002. She was the first woman to lead both schools.

In 2009, Time magazine named her one of the nation's 10 Best College Presidents, pointing to her fundraising successes, her strides in raising Michigan's profile as a research university and her efforts in support of Detroit's revitalization.

Before she became a high-profile administrator, Coleman was a distinguished biochemist. She spent 19 years on the University of Kentucky faculty, teaching and conducting research on the immune system and malignancies.

Coleman is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a member of the boards of trustees of the Kavli Foundation, the Mayo Clinic Foundation and the Gates-Cambridge Scholars Program.

Coleman received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Grinnell College, a private liberal-arts college in Iowa, and her PhD in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.