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Ninth President of the University of Michigan

Robben Wright Fleming
The Michigan Alumnus 37

The ninth president of the 150-
year-old University of Michigan will
 be Robben W. Fleming, currently 
chancellor of the University of Wis
consin Madison campus.


The U-M Board of Regents elected
 Fleming at a special meeting March
 28.


Fleming, 50, will become President-
designate September 1 and will as
sume the presidency when Dr. Harlan 
Hatcher retires at the end of this year.


U-M's President Hatcher said, "I am 
happy to know that Robben Fleming 
is to be the next president of this 
University. He is gifted and experi
enced, and will, I am sure, carry the
 University of Michigan forward into 
its next era of leadership and service.
 We welcome him warmly."


Regent Robert P. Briggs, chairman
 of the Regents Committee on presi
dential selection, noted Fleming's ex
perience in "solving the problems 
common to higher educational institutions in modern society. Mr. Fleming 
has shown especially great interest, "
Briggs said, "in the human problems 
of today's society — in student and
 faculty relationships at Wisconsin."


Fleming became chancellor of the 
University of Wisconsin in 1964. "The
 decision to leave," he said, "has been
 difficult. This is my Alma Mater, it
 is one of the truly great universities
 of the world, and it has been my good
 fortune to work with a faculty and
 administration, which has given me 
encouragement, sympathy, guidance,
 and warm friendship.


"Having made the difficult decision 
to leave," said Chancellor Fleming, "I 
look forward to becoming a part of 
the University of Michigan. Its dis
tinction is too well known to require 
reiteration on my part. I shall do my 
best to be worthy of its traditions."


Prior to assuming the chancellorship 
at Madison, Fleming had been a pro
fessor of law at the University of 
Illinois since 1958. For six years pre
viously he was director of the Uni
versity of Illinois Institute of Labor
 and Industrial Relations. He was director of the University of Wisconsin 
Industrial Relations Center from 1947-
1952.


The U-M Faculty Committee evalu
ation of Fleming said, "He is rated an
 outstanding scholar and an excellent 
teacher."


After receiving his baccalaureate
 degree and Phi Beta Kappa distinc
tion at Beloit College in 1938, and his 
law degree from Wisconsin in 1941,
 Fleming served as an attorney in the
 Securities and Exchange Commission 
and in the U.S. Army from 1942-1946.


He wrote five books and co-au
thored two others in the field of labor 
law and industrial relations in the 
period 1955-1965. He has contributed
 extensively to journals in his field of 
special interest.


Fleming was chairman of the presidential board, which helped settle the
 1962 dockworkers strike on the Atlan
tic and Gulf coasts. In 1959 he helped
 establish the automation fund for
 Armour and Company and the Meat-
cutters and Packing House Workers
 unions. Fleming was elected presi
dent of the National Academy of Arbi
trators in 1966. He replaced the late
 Rabbi Morris Adler as a member:
 the United Auto Workers Public Re
view Board. He is a member of the 
Atomic Energy Labor-Management 
Relations Panel.


In an interview prior to becoming 
chancellor at Wisconsin, Fleming de
scribed himself as "strongly committed 
to the academic freedom concept. 
He said, "You can't escape controversy 
and you can't escape bad publicity.
 Controversy is often a pretty health 
thing. I guesss I believe that you can 
keep these things from exploding. If
 they're handled with some care and
 understanding."


The U-M Faculty Committee evalu
ation said that "without exception, the
 comments which have been obtained 
(both written and oral) from those
 who know him and have seen him
 work have been unanimous in lavish
 praise."


Fleming was born in Paw Paw 
Illinois. He married the former Al
dyth Louise Quixley, whom he met 
as an undergraduate at Beloit, in 1942. 
They have three children, Nancy, James Edmund, and Carolyn Eliza
beth.