Chancellor James C. Renick had met author Ralph Ellison, boxer Muhammad Ali, playwright LeRoi Jones and U.S. President Bill Clinton, among others. But, even with his prominent connections, the former chancellor chose to showcase a different part of his life: In his Administration Building office, there was a photo of a small, white-frame house. It’s the Midwest home he grew up in.
“I keep it on my desk to remind myself where I come from,” Renick said in a 1999 interview. Renick, who passed away at age 72 in 2021, served UM-Dearborn from 1993 through 1999.
Renick strongly believed in remembrance and recognition — for example, Renick made his mother’s maiden name, Carmichael, his middle name after his grandmother passed away as a tribute.
Following Renick’s example of remembrance and recognition, Chancellor Domenico Grasso requested naming the campus' University Center to honor the fourth chancellor — and the inclusive strides, campus growth and community partnerships Renick made as a campus leader — at the July 21 Board of Regents meeting. The Regents gave unanimous approval.
The James C. Renick University Center — one of the most frequented buildings on campus where students, faculty and staff socialize — is a testament to Renick’s legacy and a reminder of the impact he’s had on shaping the campus. Built in 1980 and renovated in 2002, the 75,729 square foot building is primarily used for student services and events.