About Ron Weiser

A dedicated public servant and successful businessman, Ambassador Ronald N. Weiser has served his country, state, and community for much of his adult life.

In 2001 Weiser was appointed by President Bush as Ambassador to the Slovak Republic. While at post Ambassador Weiser officially visited all 138 Slovak cities to help further the relationship between the Slovak people and America. In 2004, for his work in furthering the Slovak economic and political relationship with the United States, he received The White Double Cross from Slovak President Rudolph Schuster, the highest award given to non-Slovaks.  Also in 2004 he received the Cultural Pluralism Award from the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad for his work in the restoration of the Jewish cemetery in Zakopane, Poland, and one of Slovakia’s most cherished historical sites, the medieval Trencin Castle.  The University of Michigan Business School honored him in 2005 as the Outstanding Alumni with the David D. Alger Award, and in 2007 named him the Zell-Lurie Institute Entrepreneur of the Year.  In April 2005 he delivered the commencement address to the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Ambassador Weiser was honored with the “Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service”. The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, part of the Smithsonian, created this award to recognize individuals who “have served with distinction in public life”. He was also named the Chelsea, Michigan “Citizen of the Year” for 2007, and received the 2008 “Distinguished Citizen of the Year” award from the Great Sauk Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Before becoming a U.S. Ambassador, Weiser served on the Boards of Directors of numerous non-profit organizations.  Among them he has chaired or co-chaired the National Board of the Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning at the University of Michigan, the Detroit Institute of the Arts, United Negro College Fund of Washtenaw County, the Michigan Theater, Artrain USA, and was Treasurer and Finance Chair of The Henry Ford Museum.  Together with his wife, Eileen, Ambassador Weiser in 1984 created the McKinley Foundation, a public community foundation.  He currently serves as a Trustee or Director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, The Henry Ford, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and Silver Bay Realty Trust Corp. He is also a member of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business Zell/Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies Advisory Board and the University’s Food Allergy Center Advisory Board, The Ambassador and Mrs. Weiser currently serve as Campaign Deputy Chairs of the University’s $4 billion Victors for Michigan Campaign, and the Ambassador is also a member of the $1 billion Campaign for the University’s Health System.

Ambassador and Mrs. Weisers’ experiences in Slovakia inspired them to work closely with the faculty and leadership of The University of Michigan to establish “The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia” (WCEE) and the “Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies” (WCED). The WCEE was established to “support faculty and student research, teaching, collaboration, and public engagement in studying the institutions, cultures, and histories of these regions”. The WCED mission is to“study how democracies emerge and the conditions necessary for assuring and extending political, social, and economic freedoms”. The inaugural ceremonies were held in September of 2008.

In 1968 Ambassador Weiser founded McKinley Associates Inc., a national real estate investment company and served as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer until 2001. McKinley and its property management subsidiary own and/or manage real estate valued in excess of $4.6 billion. McKinley also invests in and manages investments in oil and gas, venture capital, and private equity. McKinley’s national headquarters is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan and it has properties located in 27 states.

Ambassador Weiser has chaired numerous political and judicial campaigns including four Michigan Supreme Court races and was Chairman of Team Michigan from 1997-2000.  He served as the Michigan Finance Chair of Bush for President in 1999 and 2000 and as a member of the National Executive Committee of Victory 2000.  He served during 2005-06 as the Michigan Republican State Finance Chair and was a National Co-Chair for Senator John McCain in 2007-2008.  In February, 2009, he was elected as Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.  During his tenure the Party experienced its largest Republican election sweep in more than 60 years which included winning all statewide offices, control of both chambers of the Legislature and the Supreme Court, and added 2 U.S. House seats. In February, 2011 he was appointed as Co-Chair of the RNC’s National Finance Transition Committee, and from April, 2011 to February, 2013 served as the RNC’s National Finance Chair.

He was born in South Bend, Indiana on July 7, 1945 and graduated with honors in 1966 from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He also did post-graduate work at the University’s Business and Law Schools. He and Eileen were married in 1983 and live in Ann Arbor with their son, Daniel, born October 1, 2000. The Weisers also have two married children, Elizabeth and Marc, and five grandchildren.

As a Michigan Regent, Ron will run the U of M like a business. Ron knows that universities, like businesses, cannot thrive when they are strangled with regulations and bureaucratic oversight. Ron also knows that not everyone can afford to attend school in Ann Arbor. He will work to cut costs so Michigan students can get the same quality education at U of M Flint and U of M Dearborn. He will also ensure that the Freedom to Work law is enforced on campus and he supports a fair admissions policy that does not discriminate – he will make sure that the laws passed by the people are respected by the University.