Former Trustee to Receive Honorary Degree

Mary Lincoln Campbell

Mary Lincoln Campbell of Ann Arbor will be awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Northern Michigan University, which she served as a member of the NMU Board of Trustees from 1997-2004. She retired in 2017 from a nearly three-decade career as managing director and co-founder of EDF Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in early-stage health care and technology companies.

Lincoln Campbell will be honored at NMU's May 6 commencement.

“Northern has such a storied and rich body of alumni and friends from which to choose recipients of honorary degrees, that it is indeed a privilege to be singled out to receive an honorary degree myself,” Lincoln Campbell said. “I treasure the power of continuous learning, whether it is derived from formal institutions such as this fine university or from the everyday interactions that afford us the luxury of learning from one another. I fear the blockades thrown in front of that day-to-day process by the need many of us have to feel ‘I am right!' rather than ‘I understand why you hold a different opinion.'”

Lincoln Campbell said she encourages NMU graduating students and others to develop skills in critical thinking and civil dialogue, along with media literacy to more effectively weigh the accuracy and validity of the information that bombards them each day. She added that the ability to set aside electronic media to communicate more frequently face to face could be pivotal.

“Today's graduates face a broken world that calls on each of us to be a bit of healer. Navigating skills include discernment, courage, wisdom, tolerance, patience and perseverance. As a business person, I would suggest giving oneself a graduation present: spend time with friends and family to create a five-year life plan with an intention to review and revise it on a specified day each year.”

Before co-founding EDF Ventures, Lincoln Campbell's professional roles included: director of development properties and assistant to the vice president in charge of commercial lending at Percy Wilson Mortgage & Finance Corporation in Chicago; loan officer and credit manager at National Bank of Detroit; and President of Michigan Capital and Service Inc. She holds a bachelor's degree in English and an MBA from the University of Michigan and a master of special education degree from Fairfield University.  

In retirement, Lincoln Campbell serves her alma mater—U of M's Ross School of Business—as adviser to both the Wolverine Venture Fund, which she co-founded, and the Zell Lurie Institute. She also enjoys duplicate bridge, book clubs, medium-distance running and Pilates.

NMU's commencement will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the Superior Dome. The ceremony will be broadcast regionally on WNMU-TV13 and streamed online at 

Prepared By

Kristi Evans
News Director

Categories: Around NMU