By Ricky Lindsay, Editor-in-Chief
University of Michigan-Dearborn has hosted two high-profile political figures in the past four months.
First, presidential-hopeful Martin O’Malley visited the university to speak at the Arab American Institute’s Yalla Vote: 2016 Leadership Summit on Oct. 23.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson followed, making the trip to UM-Dearborn to speak about matters of national security on Wednesday.
The two events show what the university can offer its visitors.
“I’m confident in what we’ve seen this year… I think people will see UM-Dearborn as a good place to stop,” Student Government President Bradley Pischea said. “It legitimizes us. It kind of maybe differentiates us from the Ann Arbor campus. But it makes it easier to go out and find people (to bring to the university).”
Johnson spoke to students, faculty and officials who piled into 1500 Social Science Building. University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel, United States Representatives John Conyers Jr. and Debbie Dingell, Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly and Dearborn Chief of Police Ron Haddad were amongst the officials in attendance.
“I have been in this room, in the 15-16 years I’ve been chancellor, for a number of meetings of interest to the community, to UM-Dearborn, to our students and faculty and staff, but also to the broader community,” Chancellor Daniel Little, who called the event “historic,” said. “And they have always filled my soul with excitement about being here, because this is such a nationally-important place to confront so many of these issues.
“So many of these leaders of the community, these are people that I know very well. I know their commitment to the health our community, to the success of our country. To me, bringing this group together is just a really positive thing, and doing it here on our campus, it kind of says, UM-Dearborn is the place for this metropolitan group to come together.”
Suehaila Amen, the international recruiter in UM-Dearborn’s Office of International Affairs, was involved in bringing Johnson to campus. She focused on the relationships that were forged through his visit.
“What makes this a great experience for the university is that they’re able to build a relationship, and not have to use our main campus or other officials as a stepping stone to reach federal officials such as secretary Johnson,” Amen said.