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Wayne State University

Dear colleagues,

After a thorough national search, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Mike Poterala to the role of vice president and general counsel for Wayne State University. His appointment is effective November 1, 2022.

Mike joins us from the University of Maryland, where he has served as vice president for legal affairs and general counsel since 2015 and has chaired the Big Ten Academic Alliance general counsel group since 2018. Prior to his time at the University of Maryland, he held senior legal and administrative positions at North Carolina State University and Michigan State University. While at N.C. State, Mike helped form an LLC that has generated over $55 million in new revenue since 2012 to support research and graduate programs. At Michigan State, Mike broadened his experience, assuming positions as AVP for research and graduate studies and executive director of MSU Technologies. Mike's experience and accomplishments in his higher education roles demonstrate his talent and versatility — and, more importantly, the collaborative spirit and respect for governance that are so important to success at Wayne State.

Mike began his legal career in private practice in the Detroit area, where he worked on a range of legal matters representing different institutions and individuals, and he even served for a time as the Michigan general counsel for the Motion Picture Association of America. He is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he obtained his juris doctor and bachelor of science degrees in finance, both with honors. He takes great pride in supporting the success of students, faculty and staff, and in providing rewarding work experiences and professional development opportunities for attorneys and staff. 

His wife, Heidi Bulich, will join the faculty of the Mike Ilitch School of Business as an associate professor (teaching). They are the parents of Johanna Poterala, M.D., who lives with her husband, Michael Schneider, in Madison, Wisconsin; and Andrew Poterala, who lives in Chicago.

Mike is a proud Detroiter, and we are happy to welcome him home and to Wayne State University. Please join me in welcoming Mike as Wayne State's newly appointed vice president and general counsel. I am confident his leadership will be of great benefit to Wayne State's future in higher education.

I wish to offer my sincerest thanks to Laura Johnston, who has stepped up to fill the interim position and has led the division with exceptional skill. She brought to the role 24 years of experience in Wayne State's Office of General Counsel, where she has specialized in intellectual property and research support. The university is deeply indebted to Laura for her leadership, legal expertise and dedication to the mission of Wayne State, and I want to express personally how grateful I am for Laura's plentiful contributions, which have ensured that this time of transition is as seamless as possible. 

M. Roy Wilson

M. Roy Wilson


We will create and advance knowledge, prepare a diverse student body to thrive, and positively impact local and global communities.

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