Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Michael S. Rao Collection

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Collection,
Creator: Rao, Michael S., 1967-
Inclusive dates: 2000-2009
Extent: 1 cubic feet (in 2 boxes)
The collection consists of material collected about President Mike Rao, including clippings, reports, updates, publications, and university-wide emails. This collection is not composed of his official presidential papers.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Acc# 72,239

Access Restrictions:

Michael S. Rao Collection, 2000-2009 is open for research.


A few items in the collection are copyrighted. Otherwise, copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Michael S. Rao Collection, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


The collection is organized alphabetically by title.



Michael S. Rao earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and a Ph. D. from the University of Florida. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he served as a full-time higher education planner helping develop academic master plans for new campuses of the University of Washington and Washington State University, and in California. Rao served as dean of Mission College in California, 1992-1994, and as its president, 1994-1998. From 1998 to 2000, Rao served as chancellor of Montana State University Northern.

From 2000 to 2009, Rao served as the twelfth president of Central Michigan University (CMU). During his tenure at CMU, President Mike, as he preferred to be called, focused on developing CMU into a research-intensive university by expanding the number of master’s and doctoral degree programs. He worked to increase diversity, and the number of international students, and led the study to develop a medical school at CMU. President Rao tried unsuccessfully to elevate CMU into the upper tier of funding and recognition that the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University receives from the state of Michigan. After nine years at CMU, Rao resigned to serve as president of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, beginning on June 20, 2009. Michael Rao is married to Monica Rao, an artist and graphic designer. They have two sons, Miguel and Aiden. (This information is from the collection.)

Following President Mike’s resignation announcement, Kathy Wilbur was appointed by the CMU Board of Trustees as the Interim President of CMU, and as the first woman president of CMU. She served in this position from June 30, 2009 to March 1, 2010. Her successor, George E. Ross, is the first African-American president of CMU.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is not composed of President Mike’s official presidential papers. Rather, it was culled mostly from newspapers, reports, updates, publications, and university-wide emails. Some correspondence and reports in the collection are courtesy of now retired Professor Wayne Osborn, who served on high level university committees with President Mike. The collection documents President Mike’s accomplishments, strategic vision, and public statements on topics such as diversity, the defeat of Proposal 2, and school massacres, rather than his thought process or implementation plans.

Subject Terms

    • Central Michigan University. Administration.
    • Central Michigan University--History.
    • Central Michigan University. Office of the President.
    • Virginia Tech Shootings, Blacksburg, Va., 2007.
    • Rao, Michael S., 1967-
    • Accreditation (Education).
    • Strategic planning--Michigan--Mount Pleasant.
    • Homophobia in higher education--United States.
    • Hate groups--Michigan.
    • Racism--Michigan.
    • Mount Pleasant (Mich.)--History.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Michael S. Rao Collection. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Biography and Welcome, 2004
    Box   1 F   2
    Campus Diversity Debate, Newspaper Articles (copies), 2008
    Box   1 F   3
    CMU Corporate Strategy, 2003
    Box   1 F   4
    CMU Organizational Chart, Senior Staff, 2004
    Box   1 F   5
    CMU Quality Quantified Notable Numbers, 2005-2006
    Box   1 F   6
    CMU Regional Advisory Board, 2004
    Box   1 F   7
    CMU. Strategic Planning Committee, Meeting Agenda, Correspondence, Related Materials, 2005
    Box   1 F   8
    CMU 2010 Materials, 2005-2008
    Box   1 F   9
    Correspondence (CC: Wayne Osborn), 2000-2007
    Box   1 F   10
    Correspondence, Miscellaneous (Congratulatory), 2002-2006
    Box   1 F   11
    Draft Goals for the President, 2002-2006
    Box   1 F   12
    Holiday Cards, 2003-2008
    Box   1 F   13
    Letter to CMU re: Anti-gay Chalk Markings on Campus, free speech, discrimination, and YAF, and Related Articles, January-April 2007
    Box   1 F   14
    Letter to CMU Community re: Defeat of Proposal 2 and the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative; and Related CMLife Articles, November 16, 2006; November 10, 13, 16, December 8, 2006
    Box   1 F   15
    Message about Virginia Technological University Tragedy, and Related Articles, April 17-18, 2007
    Box   1 F   16
    Michigan Legislative and Business Leaders Public Policy Forum, Attracting and Retaining the Best Talent to Michigan... Report, 2001
    Box   1 F   17
    Office of the President, Goals; Calendar for Goal Setting, 2000-2002; 2002-2003
    Box   1 F   18
    Office of the President, 2002 and Beyond, Booklets, 2002
    Box   1 F   19
    Open Letter to the Community re: Hate Groups, January 11, 2006
    Box   2 F   1
    Presidential Updates, #1-25, 2001-2002
    Box   2 F   2
    Presidential Updates #26-50, 2003-2005
    Box   2 F   3
    Presidential Updates #51-79, 2005-2009
    Box   2 F   4
    Racism (includes Nooses, 2007) on Campus, Articles, 2002-2007
    Box   2 F   5
    Research, Resources, and Academic Excellence, 2000-2002
    Box   2 F   6
    Resignation, Letter, Related Articles, February 20, 2009
    Box   2 F   7
    Salary (Raises), 2006-2008
    Box   2 F   8
    School Massacres, Articles: Virginia Technological University; Northern Illinois University, April 16, 2007; February 14, 2008
    Box   2 F   9
    State of the University Addresses, 2002-2003
    Box   2 F   10
    Strategic Plan for Achieving Diversity, 2001
    Box   2 F   11
    Strategic Visions, Goals, Statement, Booklet, 2000/1-2004
    Box   2 F   12
    Survey/Evaluation of Rao, 2007
    Box   2 F   13
    Rao, Monica. Material World, Exhibit Catalog, 2005