Higher Education and the Future of Democracy

Date and time

October 27, 2011, from 7 to 9 p.m.

About this event

Higher education is still broadly regarded as job training, and its success is measured by the degree to which it prepares individuals to contribute to the economy. But higher education has equal or greater value to society as a means of creating and encouraging informed and ethical citizens. Higher education is no longer just training for the world of work; a comprehensive university experience puts life in context, in terms of history, ethics, international understanding and the conduct of responsible relationships.


Spencer M. Patrick Auditorium
Wayne State University
471 W. Palmer
Detroit, MI 48202


Allan GilmourAllan Gilmour, president, Wayne State University

President Gilmour, a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Michigan, is best known for his career at Ford Motor Company, from which he retired in 1995 as vice chairman. He rejoined the company as vice chairman in 2002, and retired again in 2005, having overseen finance, the general auditor's office, human resources, corporate affairs and corporate strategy. He also led Ford's financial services sector-Ford Motor Credit and Hertz Corporation.

Gilmour currently serves on the boards of directors of DTE Energy Company, Business Leaders for Michigan, and Downtown Detroit Partnership. Previously he was a member of the boards of Ford Motor Co., US West, MediaOne Group, Prudential Financial, Dow Chemical, Whirlpool and Universal Technical Institute. He is also chairman of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and a trustee of Citizens Research Council.

"I've said before that higher education is a great calling," said Gilmour. "These five months at Wayne State have been energizing and challenging. I am delighted to continue in the role of President, and honored by the confidence the board has expressed in me."

"He is an active leader," said Governor Tina Abbott, vice chair of the board. "He is a problem solver and is making a difference."

Governor Paul Massaron, who chaired the Presidential Search Committee, agreed, adding, "Wayne State needs a president of Allan's stature; he knows how to lead." Acknowledging the search for a permanent president was still in the early stages, Massaron added, "The committee had done a lot of prep work, but we had not yet begun to interview candidates. At some point, we realized we've already found the right person to be president – and he's right here."

Since taking the helm in August, Gilmour has moved quickly to focus on students. "We are an academic institution, and our most important task is to help our students be successful, both in and out of the classroom. Obviously, our excellent teaching and research faculty are integral to this mission; they typify excellence. And our support staff play key roles-too frequently unrecognized-in students' success. Working together, all our people will combine to provide Wayne State students a great education."


  • College of Education
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Development Office
  • Eugene Applebaum Chair for Community Engagement
  • Forum on Contemporary Issues in Society (FOCIS)
  • Institute of Gerontology (IOG)
  • Irvin D. Reid Honors College
  • Merrill-Palmer Skillman Institute
  • Office of the Provost
  • Office of the Vice President for Research
  • VP of the Development Office
  • Wayne State University Law School