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UM regents to meet in LA next week

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The University of Michigan’s Board of Regents is skipping its normally scheduled public meeting this month to travel to Los Angeles to meet in private with major donors and higher education leaders.

The eight member board, University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, and a handful of other administrators will meet Thursday and Friday in L.A. UM spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the trip will cost up to $50,000 with the funds coming from donors, not from tuition payments or state money.

UM is increasingly dependent on private support, and with 41,000 alumni living in California, the university is also using the trip as an opportunity to reach out to potential donors.

"California is the second largest to Michigan in the number of U of M alumni and U of M donors, so it's a really important area of the country for U of M connections," Fitzgerald said.

The board is scheduled to hold strategic sessions to discuss ways UM can improve with University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau; Stanford University President John Hennessy; former University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl and Dan Perry, a research scientist at Google.

-- Joseph Lichterman, Michigan Radio Newsroom