Meeting Notes for Wednesday, March 17

President Joanne Pierson

It was definitely the wearing ‘o the green on Saint Patrick’s day with President Joanne Pierson sporting a new green hairdo. We had birthdays recognized and the duo of Pierce and Duquette provided Irish ballads, of course.

Tom Millard introduced that our club will be participating in Adopt-a-Highway again this year, with the first cleanup date taking place on Saturday, April 17th. More information here and contact tom at to sign up.

Steve Pierce and Don Duquette

It was also a review of the year in which Joanne wax poetic about all the things that Rotary had accomplished in this year:

From Fred Beulter’s pictures to the great speakers, committees that met regularly with faces only, to the International Humanitarian Projects Committee (IHPC) raising lots of dollars for 13 organizations, to the ARC Anti-Racism Committee formulation, youth development activity and 11 new members, with Rotaract going strong there was lots of participation. The Golf and Tennis Outing (GTO) pivoted and was successful with substitutes, an online auction and the Italian wine event at Paesano raising good funds. Rotarians on Community Allocations Committee (CAC) awarded grants, taxes were accomplished for low income households through Bob malls Mull’s VITA program, the Gallup Park signs were celebrated with a gathering at Gallup Park during the warm weather and the board focused on some organizational efficiencies particularly as Joanne pointed out those led by her, which included the timing of speakers and the elimination of reply to all in emails. She was really the RCAA Zoom Queen. Read the full poem here. 

Mark Ouimet

Mark Ouimet as treasurer reported on the growth of the endowment to 2.8 million ups substantially and up 3% just from January. All these earnings put more money into the community overtime.

Lauren Heinonen

As Director of the Public Image, Lauren Heinonen described the efforts to build visibility for Rotary with ads in the Ann Arbor Observer, and an online campaign to encourage staying at home staying safe. The club is active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with a new logo, and we also had a video feature as part of the remote Fourth of July parade. We did trash pickup on I-94 and now have signs along the highway indicating our community participation in Adopt-a-Highway. Radio interviews heightened community awareness and our newsletter known as the Harpoon newsletter will soon have a new name.

Norma Sarkar

Club Outreach, led by Director Norma Sarkar, has been busy all year but reported on the third quarter only because they had a limited amount of time to deliver their report. There are 260 members currently with approximately 20 people dropping out for the time being because of the Zoom-style meetings. Rotaracters had a virtual project with Honduras this spring and the peace pole will be installed at Gallup Park this spring. The peace conference in collaboration with Wayne State University will occur in March 2022, a major club outreach and important activity. The anti-racism committee (ARC) was established and developed a strategic plan and has presented one speaker each month as well as banners in the Harpoon. Two Global Grants are being prepared for submission while Touch a Truck is in on hold on hold in these COVID pandemic times.

Sue Gott

Downs Herold introduced our speaker Sue Gott, Director of Campus Planning at the University of Michigan. Sue has been head of campus planning for 20 years where she is a strong advocate for historic preservation and for art in public places and her projects on the campuses have included buildings parking structures heating plants and much, much more. While Sue has been a speaker at past meetings today she brought the club up on the history of the development of the campus from early buildings to things in the works as she presented.

A broad overview which included the north medical campus being built in 1950, with the addition of the east medical campus in 1970. There’s been an addition of the west medical facility on Parkland Boulevard and Brighton facility most recent recently. In the 1920s there was a resurgence of building after the Spanish flu with the building of the law school Michigan stadium the golf course and the first hospital building.

Sue rightfully expressed pride in ability to pivot as times change with the opening clinics research activity continuing and transit systems maintain during this COVID year when the campus was otherwise more restrictive. There is a long list of accomplishments:

  • The union did reopen in February just before the COVID shut down.
  • LSA unveiled a first floor and an extension interactive space for student services.
  • Trotter House was developed and designed to be inclusive and to celebrate in foster cultures and it’s highly visible location on central campus.
  • The biological sciences met academic and research purposes with the new building connected to the Museum of Natural History which, by the way, has intercom system so that while one can watch what a researcher is doing they can also talk with the researcher asking questions and discovering new things. The dental building has been expanded with teaching patient services and research facilities and it has uniquely stayed open during the renovation.
  • Infrastructure along State Street and South University was replaced in collaboration with the City of Ann Arbor both in planning and financing.
  • Central Campus classroom building of collaborative learning team building-based learning with technology and innovation is adding 1450 new classroom seats for this new means of teaching and learning.
  • The Alumni Center has been renovated creating more space and light throughout.
  • The School of Kinesiology is, for the first time in its history, now located under one roof with a beautiful renovated building and a large well-lit atrium
  • The Detroit Observatory is having a classroom addition for multi-use space in that building.
  • LED lighting on Burton tower was fully funded by alumni gifts and endowment to add real focus to the tower and to campus events.
  • The Central Campus Power Plant is being expanded as part of carbon free energy design to reduce greenhouse gases.
  • Michigan Medicine is building a new hospital with 250 patient rooms and conversion of 100 rooms in the main hospital to permit the UofM to have all private rooms for patients. This new facility will focus on the neuroscience sciences and cardiac care.
  • North Campus has two autonomous vehicle facilities one for autos and one for air.
  • The Ford Robotics Center has opened and added very interesting architecture to North Campus
  • A new dance building will be opened create proximity between Music, Theatre and Dance on North Campus.
  • Last but certainly not least, a new transportation facility that is being built will reduce greenhouse gases and allow for the maintenance repair and storage of all your UM vehicles.

Those are huge accomplishments under Sue’s leadership and we were all delighted to hear what is new on the campus.


Notes by Marsha Chamberlin

Photos by Fred Beutler