Civic leader Michael Brennan and scholar Charles Tilly are the featured speakers at UM-Dearborn's Dec. 16 graduation ceremony

December 7, 2007



DEARBORN / Dec. 7, 2007---Michael Brennan, president and CEO of United Way for Southeastern Michigan, and Charles Tilly, the Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science at Columbia University, will be the featured speakers at commencement ceremonies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn on Sunday, Dec. 16.

Brennan will speak at the morning ceremony, which begins at 10:30 a.m., for graduates of the campus's School of Management and College of Engineering and Computer Science. Tilly will speak at the afternoon ceremony, which begins at 2:30 p.m., for graduates of the School of Education and College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters. Both ceremonies will be held in the Fieldhouse on the UM-Dearborn campus.

Brennan joined the metropolitan Detroit-area United Way in January 2004 (when the organization was known as United Way Community Services), and has led the organization through a period of unprecedented change. Under Brennan's leadership, United Way Community Services and United Way of Oakland County joined forces in 2005 to form United Way for Southeastern Michigan (UWSEM).

In addition, the organization has adopted an “Agenda for Change,” an aggressive plan to equip metro Detroiters with the tools and resources necessary to help themselves, according to the group’s Web site, focusing on educational preparedness, financial stability and basic needs. One of the most prominent activities of the United Way is the annual Torch Drive fundraising campaign, and in 2004, Brennan helped the group meet its annual campaign goal for the first time in several years.

Despite the challenging economic environment in southeastern Michigan, the group exceeded its goal of $61 million in the 2006 campaign. The 2007 Torch Drive is still under way. Those funds support a diverse array of programs “that empower neighborhoods, protect and nurture children and youth, strengthen families, and promote health and wellness,” according to the organization’s Web site.

Before joining UWSEM, Brennan was executive vice president of the United Way of America, the national organization serving 1,350 United Ways nationwide. Previously, he served at the Heart of West Michigan United Way in Grand Rapids, including seven years as president, and at the Greater Kalamazoo United Way, where he managed fundraising efforts.

A graduate of Michigan State University, Brennan began his United Way career as a fundraiser in Detroit. He serves in a variety of leadership roles in the community, including membership on the board of New Detroit.

Tilly’s research focuses on large-scale social change and its relationship to contentious politics, especially in Europe since 1500. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Ordre des Palmes Académiques, he has received numerous international prizes and honorary degrees.

Tilly authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited 50 published books and monographs. He also has published 600 to 700 scholarly articles, reviews, essays, comments, chapters in edited collections, and prefaces.

His most recent books include Why? (Princeton University Press, 2006), the Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis (co-edited and co-authored with Robert Goodin, Oxford University Press, 2006), Contentious Politics (co-authored with Sidney Tarrow, Paradigm Publishers, 2006), and Regimes and Repertoires (University of Chicago Press, 2006).

Tilly earned a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude at Harvard University in 1950 and a Ph.D. in sociology at Harvard in 1958.




CONTACT: Terry Gallagher
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