Chancellor-elect Domenico Grasso

By HARSHAL BHOSALE, Managing Editor

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel announced on Feb. 15 the appointment of Domenico Grasso as the new Chancellor for UM-Dearborn, effective Aug. 1. Chancellor Daniel Little will step down on July 31, and continue as a member of faculty.

An engineering professor and former Provost and Chief Academic Officer at the University of Delaware, Grasso has also served as the Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate College at the University of Vermont (UVM). He earned his Ph.D. in environmental engineering at University of Michigan, and is currently a professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Delaware. He stepped down as Provost last October. He was also the founding director of the Picker Engineering Program at Smith College located in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Grasso’s appointment comes after an extensive months-long search process headed by a 14-member committee which officially kicked off last September when Dr. Little announced his retirement plans in May 2017. The committee was made up of UM-Dearborn faculty, students, staff, alumni and community leaders. President Schlissel himself co-chaired this committee along with Ghassan Kridli, the associate dean of undergraduate education for the College of Engineering and Computer Science at UM-Dearborn. A number of town hall meetings and panel discussions were hosted to solicit input from the campus and local community.

“Chancellor-elect Grasso is a first generation college student, and has a deep, personal appreciation for the life-transforming benefits of a college education. He comes to UM-Dearborn with impeccable academic credentials and a track record of solid, proven administrative and academic leadership and brings his experience as a US Army veteran to his leadership of UM-Dearborn”, President Schlissel said. He also laid out the ethos that the campus anticipates, which would be expected to be emulated by any incoming Chancellor when he said, “Our Dearborn campus is a national leader in community engagement, with excellent academic programs and an environment that’s inclusive and welcoming for all”.

In his video message, the President thanked the various stakeholders who had provided feedback during the town halls and panel discussions through email sent to students and faculty. He also expressed his gratitude to the search committee and to his co-chair, Dr. Ghassan Kridli, all of whom Schlissel said spent hours reviewing applications and interviewing the strong pool of candidates.

Dr. Grasso, 62, will be the sixth leader for UM-Dearborn and has large shoes to fill. In his 18 years of leadership of UM-Dearborn, Chancellor Daniel Little has received high praise from many; including U-M Regent Andrew C. Richner, who said, “I’ve had the opportunity to witness firsthand just how well that campus has done under Dan’s leadership and vision. I see we’re going to continue the tradition of great vision and leadership on that campus under Dr. Grasso, so welcome aboard.”

“I am thrilled to be here at one of the world’s great universities and am honored to lead one of its most exciting campuses,” Grasso said. “I’m eager to begin working with the faculty, staff, students and the surrounding community to shape the next chapter in the campus’ distinguished history.”

Chancellor Little has invited the campus community to welcome Chancellor-elect Grasso, along with his wife Susan, in Kochoff Hall on Feb. 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. He welcomed all to introduce themselves to the new chancellor and extended greetings to Grasso and his wife as they join the UM-Dearborn campus community.