School News

Entering New Worlds with Fanshen Cox at the Inaugural Mitchell Lecture

By Nicholle Cardinal

The Ross School of Business welcomed Fanshen Cox, an award-winning actor, educator, writer, and producer, as the first speaker for its inaugural Mitchell Lecture Series.

The Mitchell Lecture Series, presented by the Mitchell Program for Business Ethics and Communications at Michigan Ross, showcases thought leaders from the film, television, and media industries who can exemplify the importance of ethics and diverse voices in business practices. 

Cox gave a presentation titled “Inclusion in the Entertainment Industry: Entering New Worlds with Truth, Justice & Love.” In her presentation, Cox shared her experiences in education and the entertainment industry, her observations on the construction of race, and the steps that can be taken to initiate individual and systemic change.

A large focus of Cox’s talk was her journey to co-authoring the Inclusion Rider, a provision in an actor or filmmaker’s contract that asks for a certain level of diversity in casting and hiring for production staff. She urged listeners to apply the concept to their own work and hiring processes throughout the world of business.

The presentation concluded with a moderated discussion between Cox and David Mayer, the John H. Mitchell Professor of Business Ethics and professor of management and organizations.

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Celebrating donor-funded scholarships at Michigan Ross

Donors and Scholars Celebration

Prior to the Mitchell Lecture this year, more than 100 donors, scholars, and staff gathered in the Davidson Winter Garden in the business school for the Donors and Scholars Celebration to recognize the impact that donor-funded scholarships have on Michigan Ross students.

“Scholarships at Michigan Ross make a world-class business education possible for aspiring business leaders regardless of their financial circumstances,” said Interim Dean Francine Lafontaine. “We are incredibly grateful to the generous donors who make this possible.”

Giving by the Patricia W. Mitchell Trusts to Ross and U-M

In 2019, Patricia W. Mitchell Trusts provided a $5 million endowment to the University of Michigan to establish the Mitchell Program and to honor the legacy of Columbia Pictures Television Founder John H. Mitchell, LSA ’39, and his wife Patricia Mitchell. 

The Mitchell Program is a multi-faceted gift that supports the Mitchell Lecture Series and a named professorship, the John H. Mitchell Professor of Business Ethics at Michigan Ross. The Mitchell Program also supports students in both Michigan Ross and LSA through the John H. and Patricia W. Mitchell Internship and Scholarship Funds. 

In 2020, an additional $2.5 million was gifted to augment the John H. and Patricia W. Mitchell Scholarship Fund. The scholarship and internship funds are used to sponsor students in the entertainment industry, as well as Michigan Ross students who are especially dedicated to ethical business practices.

About Fanshen Cox

Fanshen Cox, BA '92

Cox is the president of her own media company, TruJuLo Productions, which aims to uplift non-dominant narratives in the pursuit of truth, justice, and love. She is also EVP of impact and development at Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Pearl Street Films, and co-host of the Webby-nominated podcast, Sista Brunch. Cox received a BA in Spanish with a minor in education from U-M in 1992. She also holds an MA in TESOL from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an MFA in TV, film, and theater from California State University, Los Angeles. 

Throughout her illustrious career in the entertainment industry, Cox traveled around the country for seven years performing her one-woman show, One Drop of Love, in which she examined the construction of race in the United States and the ways that it impacts relationships. Her experiences as a culturally mixed woman in Hollywood and in the entertainment industry are partially what led her to co-author the Inclusion Rider.

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