Denise Ilitch

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Denise Ilitch
Member of the Board of Regents of the University of Michigan
Assumed office
January 1, 2009
Preceded by Rebecca McGowan
Personal details
Born November 1955 (age 62)
Detroit, Michigan, US
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jim Lites (divorced)
Parents Mike Ilitch and Marian Ilitch
Residence Bingham Farms, Michigan
Alma mater University of Michigan
University of Detroit
Profession Businessperson

Denise Ilitch (born November 1955) is a Detroit-area businessperson, lawyer, and member of the Board of Regents of the University of Michigan. Ilitch was rumored to be a Democratic Party candidate for Governor of Michigan in 2010, after having met with the White House in early January to discuss a potential run,[1] though she later declined to run.[2]

Background and business experience[edit]

Denise Ilitch is a second-generation Macedonian American, the daughter of Mike Ilitch and Marian Ilitch. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1977, and her juris doctorate from the University of Detroit in 1980. After receiving her law degree, Ilitch was the vice-president of Little Caesar Enterprises from 1981 to 1992, during which time the business moved to downtown Detroit from Farmington Hills, sparking other investment in Detroit.[3] She was later president of Ilitch Holdings, a privately held business that manages the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Little Caesars, the Fox Theatre, and other Detroit-area businesses. She is the owner and publisher of Ambassador magazine, and the owner of Denise Ilitch Designs. Ilitch is also "Of Counsel" at the law firm Clark Hill, where she advises clients in the areas of business practice, corporate law, and government policy. In May 2009, she was named as co-chair of Detroit mayor-elect Dave Bing's transition team.[4]

Community involvement[edit]

Ilitch serves on the boards of many business and community organizations in the Detroit area. She is a past member of the board of directors for the Detroit Branch NAACP, the ACLU of Michigan advisory committee, the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the board of directors of the Detroit Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Ilitch founded the Ilitch Charities for Children, and established the Denise Ilitch Scholarship at Walsh College for women to complete advanced degrees.[citation needed]

University of Michigan Board of Regents[edit]

On November 5, 2008, Ilitch was elected statewide to an eight-year term on the Board of Regents of the University of Michigan. She made controlling university tuition costs a centerpiece of her campaign.[5] Ilitch was one of only two members of the Board of Regents to vote against a tuition hike in July 2009.[6]

2010 gubernatorial election[edit]

After John Cherry dropped out of the campaign for governor of Michigan in January 2010, Ilitch met with senior advisors at the White House, including the President. Ilitch also met with the Democratic Governors Association while in Washington D.C.[7][8] She has not announced a run for governor, or filed paperwork to form a gubernatorial campaign committee to date.


External links[edit]