Cynthia H. Wilbanks as Vice President for Government Relations directs the University’s Government Relations programs at the local, state and federal levels. Her responsibilities include planning and developing the institution’s response to proposed legislation; developing and maintaining effective relationships with governmental agencies and officials; and analyzing and assessing legislative, administrative and regulatory activities as they pertain to University programs, activities and operations. She also supervises the activities of the State Outreach office.
In February 2002, Wilbanks was appointed Interim Vice President of Development.
Wilbanks has broad experience in government service as district director for U.S. Congressman Carl D. Pursell in 1979-92, Washtenaw County field representative for Pursell in 1977-79, and staff assistant for U.S. Congressman Marvin Esch in 1973-76. She also was a candidate for U.S. Congress from Michigan’s 13th District in 1994.
She was president of Michigan’s Children, a statewide child advocacy organization in 1993-95, prior to joining the U-M in 1995.
She is a member of and holds leadership positions in a number of community and civic organizations, including serving on the boards of directors of the Bank of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Glacier Hills Retirement Center, Riverside Arts Center Foundation, and Nonprofit Enterprise at Work (NEW Center). The Governor has appointed her to serve on the Michigan Higher Education Assistance Authority with a term expiring in May 2006. She also served three consecutive years as the University of Michigan United Way Campaign Chair.
In 2002, Wilbanks was named one of the 100 most influential women in Metro Detroit by Crain’s Detroit Business and was recipient of the Spirit Award for outstanding community service in Washtenaw County from Spectrum Prevention Services. In May 2002, she received the Women of Distinction Award from the Girl Scouts of the Huron Valley Council. Wilbanks was named an Outstanding Young Woman of America in 1981 and also received the Director’s Award for Outstanding Service from the Michigan Technology Council.
Prior to her appointment to vice president in September 1998, Wilbanks served as associate vice president for University Relations where she was responsible for state government relations and overseeing the Lansing Service Center and Office of Community Relations.
Wilbanks earned a B.A. in Political Science and a Secondary Teaching Certificate from the University of Michigan.