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Lobbyist for Mich. public universities to retire July 1

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Lansing — After more than a decade, the chief lobbyist for Michigan’s 15 public universities is stepping down.

A higher education administrator working on public policy issues nationally will replace him, officials announced Wednesday.

Mike Boulus, CEO of the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan, will retire July 1 after 14 years.

His successor will be Dan Hurley, associate vice president for government relations and state policy with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C.

Glen Mroz, president of Michigan Technological University, said Boulus’ departure will be a loss. He has tremendous institutional knowledge of the Legislature and of the state’s public universities, he said. But the loss will be offset by Hurley.

“He has a broad perspective of what’s going on in a lot of other states,” said Mroz, chair of the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan, which serves as a forum for leaders of the state’s public universities. “Bringing that back to Michigan to help inform the discussion about higher education is going to be great.”

Hurley has run the state government relations and policy agenda for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, which represents presidents at 420 public universities. His work involved research and analysis of a variety of issues affecting higher education, such as financing, financial aid, student success, governance and institutional best practices.

A native of Northville, Hurley served as director of university relations and administrative services at the Presidents Council prior to his post at the association. He has also served as an administrative assistant to the president at Ferris State University.

Hurley earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Grand Valley State University, a master’s degree in career and technical education from Ferris State University and a Ph.D. in public administration from Western Michigan University.

He said he expects the most significant issue he will face is state funding, which impacts tuition increases and student debt.

“I do think that there is some bright light coming from the state,” Hurley said. “There’s a strong governor who has made higher education a priority in the last few years; there’s a very impressive business advocacy coalition, Business Leaders of Michigan, and the 15 public state universities have a national reputation for quality.

“I am proud of that. We should never lose sight of that the quality of the state universities, and they should be maintained.”

Boulus, who expects to find other work, will serve as a special adviser to the Presidents Council until the end of the year.