ANN ARBOR, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) — The University of Michigan named Santa Ono as the 15th president of the university on Wednesday.

Ono, 59, has served as president and vice-chancellor of the University of British Columbia (UBC) since 2016.

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Mary Sue Coleman, who has served as interim president since the removal of former President Mark Schlissel, said Ono is joining “a very special community.”

Santa Ono is named the 15th president of the University of Michigan on July 13, 2022 at the Alexander G. Ruthven Building in Ann Arbor, MI. (courtesy: University of Michigan)

“I have spent more than 50 years in higher education, and there is no environment that rivals the University of Michigan. From academics and research to health care, athletics and service to society, this university is dedicated to excellence,” Coleman said in a statement.

Prior to his role at UBC, he served as the 28th president of the University of Cincinnati and senior vice provost and deputy to the provost at Emory University. He also worked as professor of pediatrics at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Ono also serves on the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities, the board of directors of Universities Canada, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

UBC Board of Governors chair Nancy McKenzie congratulated Ono on his new leadership role.

“Through his dedication and commitment, President Ono has led the development and implementation of many significant initiatives at the university,” McKenzie said in a press release.

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“In addition to all of this work, President Ono led the university as it navigated a global pandemic, while ensuring UBC continued its academic mission and campus experience for all members of our community,” she added.

The announcement comes months after Schlissel was removed due to allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a university employee.

According to a Jan. 15  announcement on the university’s website, the board said that on Dec. 8, 2021, it learned of the relationship through an anonymous complaint. An investigation also revealed that “over the years,” Schlissel used his university email account to “communicate with that subordinate in a manner inconsistent with the dignity and reputation of the university.”

In a letter to Schlissel informing him of his termination, the board wrote: “As you know, the Regents received an anonymous complaint regarding an alleged sexual affair between you and a subordinate. An investigation has revealed that your interactions with the subordinate were inconsistent with promoting the dignity and reputation of the University of Michigan.”

Schlissel issued an apology in May as part of a settlement that guaranteed him a faculty job, retiree health insurance and other benefits.

“The relationship was entirely consensual, was never physical, and did not involve the inappropriate spending of university resources,” he said. “But in a time when we have been trying to strengthen the bonds of trust at the university, it is particularly important that campus leaders avoid even an appearance of impropriety.”

Before his dismissal, Schlissel had planned to step down in June 2023.

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