Incoming University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel wasted no time in telling Biological Station students how lucky they were. During an informal afternoon visit to the Station, he spoke briefly to the lunchtime dining hall crowd. He said that few research universities had field stations with the breadth and depth of the University of Michigan's Biological Station.

Schlissel and his spouse, Monica Schwebs, spent two weeks in early July vacationing around the state. It was an unofficial introduction to their new home. They visited several Michigan landmarks: Detroit's Heidelberg Project, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Sleeping Bear Dunes and the State Capitol Building in Lansing, to name a few.

They also included a stop at the Biological Station. Schissel and Schwebs arrived just before lunch and stayed until late afternoon. During that time they braved off-and-on rain to see as much of the Station as possible. Knute Nadelhoffer served as guide, highlighting sites such as:

  • An REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) workshop with all 9 REU students;
  • The piping plover captive rearing facility, with head of the Great Lakes Piping Plover Restoration Program Francie Cuthbert;
  • Field Mammology lab with instructor Phil Myers and students;
  • Elevated carbon dioxide array where Professor Mark Hunter and three graduate students talked about their research into monarch butterflies and milkweed interactions; and
  • Both the PROPHET lab and tower and the AmeriFlux tower, including long visits with researchers Kerri Pratt, Andrew Ault, Chris Vogel and Paul Drevnick.

The tour ran longer than planned, forcing Nadlehoffer to omit a few key stops, such as the Stream Lab, where Paul Moore and his research team were anticipating the opportunity to showcase the facility to the new President. At the conclusion of the tour, Schlissel and Schwebs left for a dinner date down state. He began his tenure as University president on July 14.

Provost Enthusiastic about Station's Priorities

Not three weeks later, University of Michigan Provost Martha Pollack was in camp for a three-day stay.  She came to speak to the Station’s External Advisory Board, which meets annually at the Station. She built in extra time to get to know the Station and its surrounding area better.  

We made quite an impression. Pollack, joked to the Advisory Board, “I made a big mistake being a computer science major.” At mealtime she said to the students that she was “jealous” of the opportunity they had in studying at the Station.

More importantly, Pollack noted to the Advisory Board that the Station’s fundraising priorities are “incredibly well aligned” with the university’s goals.  Our focus on the immersive student experience, on training and research that can serve the public, and on making these things affordable for students is a match with the Victors for Michigan priorities.


View President Schlissel's Michigan Travelogue page.