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Wayne State\'s new president, Jay Noren, launches landmark student campaign at April 7 inauguration

April 7, 2009

Celebration set for April 7 at Detroit Institute of Arts

Former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala to provide keynote address

Reflecting the "student-focused" approach that has characterized his administration, Wayne State University President Dr. Jay Noren will announce a landmark fundraising campaign during his inauguration as 10th president of the university. The ceremony takes place on April 7 at 1:30 p.m. in the Detroit Film Theatre Auditorium at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The fundraising campaign is designed to boost the number and dollar amount of need- and merit-based scholarships available to help students and their families overcome financial obstacles to higher education in today's challenging economic environment. Twenty-six thousand dollars in gifts from private donors, previously earmarked for inaugural festivities, will be donated to need-based scholarships to jumpstart the campaign.

"We are determined to make it possible for talented students to attend Wayne State University regardless of their financial circumstances," Noren said. "Like many of our students today, I was a first-generation college student. Scholarships and loans were critical to the degrees I earned, and it is imperative that we give our students every chance to get the best education possible."

Since January of 2009, Wayne State has raised nearly $300,000 to seed this critical initiative.

In fiscal 2008-09, Wayne State offered more than 15,700 undergraduate scholarship offers, with an average scholarship award of more than $9,000. Total financial aid disbursed was $262 million.

Following the president's inaugural speech, a reception and special arts tribute program, Curtain Call, will highlight the celebration. Music, theater and dance performances are scheduled at 3:30 p.m.

As the first Wayne State president to hold an M.D. degree, Jay Noren has distinguished himself as an expert in health care policy, delivery, administration and education. In his role as president of a major urban research institution, he is helping to reinforce Detroit's international reputation as a medical destination.

President Noren came to Wayne State from the University of Nebraska, where he was executive vice president and provost and founding dean of the College of Public Health. Previously, he was vice chancellor for health sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and president of the Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health affairs with the Texas A&M University System. He developed and directed the Wisconsin Center for Health Policy and Program Evaluation and was a founder and director of the University of Wisconsin graduate program in administrative medicine.

President Noren received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School. He earned two bachelor's degrees from the University of Minnesota and has a master's degree in public health from Harvard University.

At the inauguration ceremony, President Noren will receive the Chain of Office, signifying the authority and responsibility of the university's chief administrative officer, from the WSU Board of Governors, chaired by Richard Bernstein. Among distinguished guests attending will be Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, who will deliver the keynote address. Other distinguished guests include Wayne State Presidents emeriti David Adamany and Irvin D. Reid; Harold Maurer, Chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center; and Al Bowman, president of Illinois State University. Offering salutations will be Detroit Deputy Mayor Saul Green, WSU Academic Senate President Seymour Wolfson, Alumni Association President James Garavaglia and Student Council President Jacob Kinde. WSU Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Nancy Barrett will preside at the ceremony.

The 3:30 p.m. Curtain Call performance, a high-energy tribute to jazz, musical theater and innovative dance, will feature student, faculty and alumni artists from the WSU College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts. A brief, student-produced film will be shown. The program is sponsored by the WSU Alumni Association.

Wayne State University is a premier institution of higher education offering more than 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 31,000 students.