Eunice Jeffries Elected Chair of EMU Board of Regents

Eunice Jeffries
Eunice Jeffries // Photo courtesy of Eastern Michigan University

Eunice Jeffries, who has enjoyed a career in public service, has been appointed chair of the Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents. As board chair, she will lead and brings experience in business, higher education, law, medicine, state government, and others. The group includes four EMU alumni and four African Americans.

Jeffries, the first African American woman to chair the board, was elected to a two-year term. Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Jeffries to the board in 2016 for a term ending in 2024.

Jeffries received her bachelor’s in accounting and business administration from Fisk University in Nashville. She also received her Master of Business Administration from Northwood University in Midland. She currently she serves as director of government and community relations at Oakland Community College.

Regent Michael Hawks, EMU alumnus and Lansing lobbyist, was elected for a two-year term as vice chair. Hawks was appointed to the board by Snyder in 2011 and was reappointed for a second term ending in 2026.

While at EMU, Hawks earned his bachelor’s in business and then earned a master’s in higher education administration from Michigan State University. He was a football player in high school and received a full athletic scholarship from EMU.

After completing his higher education, he served as chief of staff for the majority floor leader in the Michigan House of Representative and also served on the staff of the speaker of the house. He currently serves as CEO of Governmental Consultant Services, a bi-partisan multi-client lobbying firm. Its portfolio includes many Fortune 500 companies, multi-national corporations, trade associations, municipalities, nonprofits, and others. He has also been involved with many charitable and community organizations over the years.

Jeffries and Hawks will work with a governing board that brings a variety of perspectives and professional experience to its oversight of the university. The other five EMU regents include three veteran board members and two new appointees.

Dennis Beagen was appointed to the board in 2014 for a term ending in 2022. He was previously appointed by Snyder to the Michigan Gaming Control Board in 2012, an appointment he held for two years before being named to the EMU board.

Beagen majored in speech-communication with a minor in business management at EMU. After, he was admitted to graduate school at the University of Michigan while serving as gradate teaching assistant at EMU. He later received his doctorate from Wayne State University.

Beagen has been appointed to many programs throughout the years including director of the EMU Forsenic program, administrative head of the department of communication, media, and theater arts, and also to special assignment and task forces at EMU.

After more than 45 years of service, Beagen was granted emeritus faculty/administrative status from the deptartment of communication, media, and theater arts.

Michelle Crumm, known in business and public service settings, was appointed to the board in 2014 for a term ending in 2022. Crumm earned her bachelor’s in accounting from Purdue University and Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan.

Crumm served as an accountant at an automotive supplier and auditor at Plante and Morgan. She then spent five years at Kellogg Co., where she became the co-founder and chief business officer of adaptive materials. In this role, Crumm’s leadership helped the fuel cell company transition from start-up to second stage. She has participated in many other startups as an investor and currently has ownership in many local companies. Crumm has also served on the board of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan and is the former chair of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation.

Currently, Crumm serves as founder and CEO of Present Value executive coaching company.

Alexander Simpson, an EMU alumnus and lawyer who participates in public service, was appointed to the board in 2016 for a term ending in 2024.

Simpson received his bachelor’s in social work from EMU and then received his master’s from the University of Michigan, along with his Doctor of Jurisprudence from Indiana University, Maurer School of Law. He also received his Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management. At EMU, he helped start the Student Conflict Resolution Center and co-founded the Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality.

Simpson began his legal career at Bodman, a law firm that has been in Michigan since 1929. The firm provides counsel to companies and businesses. He has worked as an associate attorney in the firm’s enterprise procurement, business, and intellectual property practice groups.

Simpson currently works as an attorney for Microsoft.

Nathan K. Ford was appointed to the board this past December by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for a term ending in 2028. He is the associate vice president and director of public engagement for HNTB Corp. He is a member of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials Michigan Board and vice president of the Morehouse College Alumni Association Detroit Chapter. He received his bachelor’s in business from Morehouse College.

Dr. Jessie Kimbrough Marshall was appointed by Whitmer for a term ending in 2028. She volunteers at community mobile clinics that offer COVID-19 testing and flu vaccinations in several counties in Michigan. She 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.

Kimbrough Marshall earned her bachelor’s degree from EMU, Doctor of Medicine from WSU School of Medicine, and Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

The EMU board has one vacancy, created by the resignation of Rich Baird in January. Whitmer is expected to appoint a replacement this winter.

Founded in 1849, Eastern Michigan University is the second oldest pubic university in Michigan. It serves more than 16,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral, and certificate degrees.

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