We Must Collaborate to ‘Sharpen Our Impact and Create New Opportunities’
If you say Santa Ono has a vision for the University of Michigan, he’s willing to groan along with the joke — he was a vision researcher who studied eye disease and the immune system before becoming the 15th president of the university in October 2022.
For Ono, having clarity about what he wants to accomplish in Ann Arbor is paramount. Next is a sense of humor as illustrated by his willingness to do student selfies and banter on social media. But what also lights up this longtime academic is the way he hopes to set standards that lifts the university’s collective purpose.
“The nature of my role as president gives me a bird’s-eye view of the institution. The research, learning and healing that goes on at the University of Michigan, day in and day out, is truly extraordinary,” Ono said.
This is Ono’s third stint as a university president; previously he served in the same role at the University of British Columbia and University of Cincinnati. Ono is U of M’s first Asian and first minority to lead the nationally recognized educational institution.
He said his first months have flown by, but he’s made it a priority to slow down and connect with people.
“My most significant lesson since arriving in Ann Arbor is that our community is a passionate and engaged group of people who are committed to our mission of education, research, leadership, and service. People here hold themselves and each other to a high standard of excellence, and that mindset has fostered an institution that has thrived for generations,” Ono said.