About the Board of Governors

The Constitution of the State of Michigan provides that the members of the governing board of Wayne State University and their successors in office constitute a body corporate known as the Board of Governors of Wayne State University. The Board consists of eight members elected by the people of the State of Michigan for eight-year terms. All vacancies that occur within the eight-year terms are filled through appointment by the Governor of the State. Each appointee holds office until completion of the term and a successor has been nominated and elected in statewide elections. Members of the Board serve without compensation but are entitled to necessary expenses incurred in connection with the duties of their office.

The Board of Governors elects the President of the University, has general supervision of Wayne State University and the control and direction of all expenditures from University funds. It enacts bylaws and regulations for the conduct of its business and for the governance of the University. It sets tuition and policy for other fees and charges, determines the compensation to be paid for service; confers degrees and sets the policy for management of gifts, grants, bequests, agreements and contracts, and leases or disposes of property.

Michigan's constitutional system of independent, elected boards to govern its universities is different from most other states. It has helped Michigan to develop and preserve one of the nation's finest systems of colleges and universities. Each governing board devotes itself to one university and is able to work carefully to develop the excellence of that institution. The constitutional independence of the boards protects the universities from political interference, and the election of boards by the voters assures that universities remain responsible to the public at large.

(See the Board of Governors Bylaws [PDF file, 63KB] for information on meetings, committees and officers.)

Wayne University was established in 1933 as the Colleges of the City of Detroit under the supervision of the Detroit Board of Education and was renamed Wayne University in 1934. Wayne University was governed by the Detroit Board of Education, as were the separate colleges that were brought together to create the University.

The 68th Legislature of the State of Michigan enacted Public Act 183, signed by the Governor on April 22, 1956, establishing Wayne as a State university. A temporary board of 11 members was formed (listed below). Nine members of the eleven-member Board were selected by majority action of the following public agencies: the Detroit Board of Education (7); one member each from the University of Michigan Board of Regents, the State Board of Agriculture (board for Michigan State University at that time), and the State Board of Education. One member was appointed by the Governor of the State with the consent of the Senate. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction was an ex officio member of the temporary board without vote.

Detroit Board of Education
Betty S. Becker 1956–59
Gladys F. Canty 1956–59
Warren B. Cooksey 1956–59
Louise C. Grace 1956–59
Leonard Kasle 1956–59
William D. Merrifield 1956–59
Remus G. Robinson 1956–59
State Board of Agriculture
Forest H. Akers 1956–57
Conner D. Smith 1957
Don Stevens 1958–59
State Board of Education
Charles G. Burns 1956–57
Chris H. Magnusson 1957–59
University of Michigan Board of Regents
Roscoe O. Bonisteel, Jr. 1956–59
Appointed by Governor
Melvin E. Bleich 1957–59
Supt. of Public Instruction
Clair L. Taylor State 1956–57
Lynn M. Bartlett 1957–63

Members of the temporary board served until their successors were elected in the spring of 1959 to form a six-member body corporate to be known as the Board of Governors of Wayne State University, as provided in Act 183. Two Board members were elected for two-year terms, two for four-year terms, and two for six-year terms.

The new State Constitution of 1963 provided for the first eight-member Board, effective January 1964, and the first election for eight-year terms was held in November 1964, with members taking office in January 1965. The Board continues to consist of members who are elected by the people of the State of Michigan for eight-year terms.

The following list gives the names and terms of office of those who served Wayne State University through election or appointment beginning in 1959, and the year their term of service concluded. Those with an asterisk (*) were appointed by the Governor of the State of Michigan.

Benjamin D. Burdick 1959–63
Dewitt T. Burton 1959–61
Michael Ference, Jr. 1959–64
Jean McKee 1959–66
Clair A. White 1959–61
Leonard Woodcock 1959–70
Thomas B. Adams 1962–68
Charles H. Gershenson 1964*
Norman O. Stockmeyer 1964–66*
Alfred H. Whittaker 1964–70
William B. Hall 1965–67
Benjamin M. Rose 1965–69
Alfred H. Sokolowski 1967–74
Wilber M. Brucker, Jr. 1967–72*
Augustus J. Calloway 1969–76
Kurt R. Keydel 1969–72*
Dauris Jackson 1977–79
George Edwards 1969–76
George Romney 1979–84*
Max J. Pincus 1971–78
Michael Einheuser 1975–82
Mildred Jeffrey 1975–82
Richard C. Van Dusen 1979–80*
C. Gary Artinian 1985–92
George N. Bashara, Jr. 1985–92
Robert H. Naftaly 1987–94*
Brenda M. Scott 1991–95
Michael Timmis 1991–95*
Vernice D. Anthony 1995–96*
Denise J. Lewis 1993–00
Edgar A. Scribner 1993–00
Murray E. Jackson 1981–88
Leon H. Atchison 1971–78
John F. Kelly 1999–2002
Paul Hillegonds 2002–2004
Elizabeth Hardy 1991–1998
Jacquelin Washington 2001–2008
Richard Bernstein


Annetta Miller



Tina Abbott 2005–2012
Danialle Karmanos 2011–2013
Debbie Dingell 2007–2014
Eugene Driker



Paul Massaron



Gary S. Pollard 2009–2016
Diane Dunaskiss




David Nicholson 2013–2018*
Kim Trent 2013–2019
Sandra Hughes O'Brien 2013-2020