Ceremonies scheduled for Sunday, April 29

March 29, 2012

DEARBORN / March 29, 2012---David Brandon, director of intercollegiate athletics at University of Michigan, and Chacona W. Johnson, president and CEO of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, will be the keynote speakers at University of Michigan-Dearborn’s commencement ceremonies on Sunday, April 29.


Brandon will speak at the morning ceremony, beginning at 10 a.m., for graduates of the University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science and College of Business. Johnson will speak at the afternoon ceremony, beginning at 3 p.m., for graduates of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters and School of Education.


Student speakers include Phillip C. Dean, a human resources and management student from Taylor, Mich., during the morning ceremony and Sabrina Ali, a social studies student from Canton, Mich., during the afternoon ceremony.


Also during the ceremonies, seven students will receive Chancellor’s Medallions for outstanding academic achievement: Kristen Hill, College of Business, from Taylor, Mich.; Kaitlyn Mallett, College of Engineering and Computer Science, from Ypsilanti, Mich.; Blair Chamberlin, School of Education, from Rochester Hills, Mich.; Alexandria Freemain, School of Education, from Livonia, Mich.; Jessica Reed, College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters, from Canton, Mich.; Megan Torti, College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters, from Grosse Ile, Mich.; and Amy Bondy, College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters, from Canton, Mich.


Brandon began his tenure as director of intercollegiate athletics at University of Michigan in March 2010. A U-M alumnus, Brandon played football under Bo Schembechler and was a member of three Big Ten Championship teams.


Prior to joining the athletic department, Brandon served as chairman and chief executive officer of Ann Arbor-based Domino’s Pizza, Inc. for 11 years, leading the company to the largest IPO of a restaurant company in history. He continues to serve as non-executive chairman at Domino’s. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Herman Miller, DTE Energy and Kaydon Corporation. Prior to his role with Domino’s, Brandon served as chairman, president and CEO of Valassis Communications, Inc.


In 2007, Brandon received the “Distinguished Alumni Service Award” from the U-M Alumni Association. The following year, he received the “Bennie Oosterbaan Award” for service, dedication and leadership from the Bob Ufer Quarterback Club. Later in 2008, the American Football Coaches Association honored Brandon as national “CEO Coach of the Year.”


In 1998, Brandon was elected to the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents and served one eight-year term. Currently, Brandon serves numerous not-for-profit organizations in a variety of capacities, including the Purple Rose Theatre Company, the Gerald R. Ford Foundation, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and the David A. Brandon Foundation.


Brandon earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from University of Michigan in 1974. He has honorary doctorate degrees from Walsh College, Schoolcraft College, Lawrence Technological University, Cleary College, Albion College, Davenport University and Central Michigan University, where he served as a trustee from 1994-98.


Johnson is president and CEO of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. Johnson was appointed as CEO in October of 2009, and since that time, has organized a professional team that has engaged foundations, corporations, organizations and individuals in providing financial resources for value-added programs and activities for the benefit of the Detroit Public Schools.


Prior to her current role, Johnson had a 23-year career with University of Michigan. At the time of her retirement, she was serving as associate vice president for development, where she was a part of the University’s fundraising management team undertaking a $2.5 billion campaign. From 1997 to 2003, Johnson served as chief of staff to the president and associate vice president for development at University of Michigan. In her role as chief of staff, Johnson advised the president on a wide range of internal and external issues. Previously, Johnson served as area director for the first Campaign for Michigan, regional director for major gifts, senior associate director of major gifts and director of principal gifts.


Johnson has received awards from the Detroit Metro Girl Scout Council, Metropolitan Detroit Teen Conference and the Brotherhood Award from Bethel A.M.E. Church. She was selected as one of the 2009 Women to Watch by Crain’s Detroit Business Magazine, a 2010 Women of Excellence by the Michigan Chronicle and recognized for her community service by 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit. Her current volunteer activities include board memberships with Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.


Johnson earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Augustine’s College in Raleigh, N.C., and her master’s degree in public administration from Ohio State University.


Founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Company, University of Michigan-Dearborn is a metropolitan university serving southeastern Michigan, committed to excellence rooted in strong academics, innovative research and programming and civic engagement. The University has nearly 8,900 students pursuing more than 100 bachelor's, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business and education.  A top-ranked university with a faculty devoted to teaching, and students committed to achievement, UM-Dearborn has been shaped by its history of partnering with local leaders and communities, and is committed to finding solutions for the challenges that face the region.



Beth Marmarelli