Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents recently appointed the first Black woman, Eunice Jeffries, as its board chair.
Photo courtesy of Eastern Michigan University
Eunice Jeffries is a name to remember.
Jeffries has a lengthy, distinguished career in public service, was recently appointed chair of the Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Board of Regents. As board chair, she will lead a diverse group of Regents with broad experience in business, higher education, law, medicine and public health, entrepreneurship, and state government, according to an EMU press release. The group includes four EMU alumni and, notably, four members who are Black.
Jeffries, the first Black woman to chair the EMU Board of Regents, was elected to a two-year term as chair Thursday, December 10 during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting, the release added. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder appointed Jeffries to the EMU Board in December of 2016 for a term expiring December 31, 2024.
Regent Michael Hawks, an Ypsilanti native, EMU alumnus, and a highly respected Lansing lobbyist with deep insight into state politics, was elected as vice chair, also for a two-year term.
Jeffries received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and Business Administration from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee and received her Master of Business Administration from Northwood University in Midland. She presently serves as director of government and community relations at Oakland Community College.
Hawks was appointed to the Board by Governor Rick Snyder in February 2011. He was reappointed for a second term expiring Dec. 31, 2026.
He currently serves as CEO of Governmental Consultant Services Inc. (GCSI) in Lansing. GCSI is a bi-partisan multi-client lobbying firm with diverse and prestigious portfolio that includes many Fortune 500 companies, multi-national corporations, trade associations, municipalities, non-profits, authorities as well as many other entities in multiple sectors.
Jeffries and Hawks will work with a governing board that brings a wide variety of perspectives and professional experience to its oversight of EMU. The other five EMU regents include three veteran board members and two new appointees.
Dennis Beagen has a distinguished history at Eastern, combining a variety of academic, administrative and service roles as an advocate for EMU students. Beagen was appointed to the board by Governor Snyder in December of 2014 for a term expiring December 2022. He was previously appointed by Governor Snyder to the Michigan Gaming Control Board in 2012 – an appointment he held for two years before being named to the EMU Board.
He was born and raised in Detroit. Upon graduation from high school in 1963, he enrolled at EMU, and received his undergraduate degree from EMU in three years while majoring in speech-communication with a minor in business management. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from EMU, he was admitted to graduate school at the University of Michigan while serving as a graduate teaching assistant at EMU.
After more than 45 years of service, Beagen was granted emeritus faculty/administrative status from the Department of Communication, Media, and Theatre Arts.
Michelle Crumm is known throughout the state for her acumen, entrepreneurial talent, and leadership in numerous business and public service settings. She was appointed to the Board by Governor Snyder in December of 2014 for a term expiring December 2022.
Crumm earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Purdue University and her Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Michigan.
Early on, Crumm served as an accountant at an automotive supplier and auditor at Plante and Morgan, later obtaining her license as a Certified Public Accountant. Following this, Crumm spent nearly five years at Kellogg Company.
While working at Kellogg Company, Crumm became the co-founder and chief business officer of Adaptive Materials, Inc. During her 12 years leading Adaptive Materials, Adaptive Materials was recognized for its dynamic growth with Ann Arbor SPARK FastTrack, Inc. 5,000, and Inc. 100 Energy Company awards.
In this position, Crumm’s leadership was proven instrumental in helping the fuel cell company transition from start-up to second stage. Making Adaptive Materials a fast growing, advanced manufacturing company and into a successful fuel cell manufacturing company. Adaptive Materials, Inc. was later acquired by defense industry giant Ultra Electronics in 2011. Since then, Crumm has participated in many other start-ups as an investor and currently has ownership over many local companies.
Crumm has been widely recognized for her leadership. She was named “Executive of the Year” from Ann Arbor.com, “Most Influential Women” by Crain’s Detroit Business, and one of Enterprising Women’s “Women of the Year.” Ernst and Young also awarded her the prestigious title “Entrepreneur of the Year”.
Alexander Simpson, an EMU alumnus and notable lawyer with strong public service, was appointed to the Board in 2016 by Snyder for a term expiring December 31, 2024
Simpson received his Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University in 2007. At EMU, he was a member of the Delta Nu chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., presented at the Undergraduate Symposium, was a member of the Community Creed Task Force, served as a New Student Orientation Assistant, was a writer for the Eastern Echo, helped start the Student Conflict Resolution Center, won Homecoming King and met his wife, Danielle.
After graduation from EMU, he matriculated on and received his Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan, School of Social Work in 2008, and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from Indiana University, Maurer School of Law in 2011. While in law school, he co-founded the Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality. He received a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management in 2017.
Currently he works as an attorney for Microsoft.
Two new Regents adding further expertise to Board
Nathan K. Ford, of Detroit, was appointed to the Board this past December by Governor Gretchen Whitmer for a term expiring December 31, 2028. Ford is the associate vice president and director of public engagement for HNTB Corporation. He is a member of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) Michigan Board and vice president of the Morehouse College Alumni Association Detroit Chapter. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Morehouse College.
Dr. Jessie Kimbrough Marshall, of Grosse Pointe Farms, was appointed by Governor Whitmer for a term to expire December 31, 2028. She currently volunteers at community mobile clinics with COVID-19 testing and flu vaccinations in several counties in Michigan. Marshall previously served as the medical director for the Washtenaw County Health Department and as a practicing clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan Medical School.
She earned her Bachelor of Science from Eastern Michigan University, Doctor of Medicine from Wayne State University School of Medicine, and Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.
The EMU Board of Regents has one vacancy, created by the resignation of Rich Baird in January. Governor Whitmer is expected to appoint a replacement this winter.
More information about the Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents, including committee assignments and meetings schedule, can be found on the Board of Regents website.