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Crain's Detroit Business
By Tracy Mishler
June 4, 2007
Richard Bernstein knows what it's like to fight an uphill battle.
And as a member of the board of Wayne State University in Detroit, Bernstein said he serves to fight for those fighting for an education.
“Wayne is the one school that really focuses on providing opportunities to those that might not be able to get a college education,” Bernstein said, a member of the board since 2003. “I love what this institution stands for and represents. For me, as a blind person, Wayne represents the notion to fight for the underdog.”
Bernstein said though he attended other universities to become a trial attorney, he stands by the research, technologies and academics that come from Wayne State.
Currently, the university is in conflict with Michigan State University over bringing an osteopathic medical school into The Detroit Medical Center. The MSU board of trustees voted May 18 to locate satellite campuses in Detroit at the DMC and Macomb County at Macomb Community College.
Bernstein, with a term expiring in 2010, said the Michigan State decision could have a detrimental effect on the Wayne State medical school and the region.
“You're dealing with a situation that bringing another medical school in doesn't create a bigger hospital,” he said. “It means the two schools will have to fight for positions,” he said.
Bernstein said aside from the medical school struggles, he'd like to see Wayne State move more into Macomb County.
He said Wayne State is committed to having a great presence in Macomb County.
Bernstein also said the university's capital campaign is going well.
Currently, Wayne's campaign has raised $355 million of a $500 million goal.
Bernstein said he's sees the university growing bigger and stronger.
“Wayne State is one of the primary economic engines for the city of Detroit,” he said. “If you look at the economy, so many people in Southeast Michigan are being laid off and the state is going through a tremendous economic transformation and shift.
“Wayne for Southeast Michigan is going to provide the retooling and training for workers who have been displaced. Wayne can provide that niche because of its location, low tuition costs and academics. We're essential for the future of Michigan.”
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