The first of seven children and the first in her family to go to college, Denise Ilitch is a University of Michigan graduate from Bingham Farms. She received her B.A. degree in 1977 and her J.D. degree from the University of Detroit in 1980.  A tireless advocate for education, women, and children, Ilitch has dedicated her time on the University of Michigan board advocating for affordable, accessible education for all.

Denise Ilitch has been an integral part of Detroit’s business and philanthropic communities for 30 years as a dedicated business leader, devoted community servant, and supporter of many charitable causes. She is president of Ilitch Enterprises, LLC, and co-owner of 220 Restaurant Hospitality and previously served as President of Ilitch Holdings, Inc., a privately held business that manages such entities as Little Caesar Enterprises, The Detroit Red Wings, The Detroit Tigers, and Olympia entertainment. 

Seeing the need for greater diversity in our education and business worlds, Ms. Ilitch has endowed a scholarship at Walsh College in 2010 to make sure that more women get advanced degrees, and a LEAD diversity scholarship at the University of Michigan in 2015.

She now serves as a trustee of the Skillman Foundation and has also served as a Board Member of Major League Baseball and as an Alternate Governor for the National Hockey League. She currently serves as an ACLU advisory committee member and has served on the Board of Directors of the Detroit Branch NAACP. As a panelist on Michigan Matters, a talk show revolving around Michigan politics, Denise Ilitch is a strong voice for the students and people of Michigan. As a regent, Denise has served as chair of the board, vice chair of the board, chair of the personnel committee, and on the health affairs committee and finance committee.

Among her numerous awards and commendations are the B’nai B’rith International Great American Traditions Award, the Clara Barton Award from the American Red Cross, Alumnus of the Year 2007 from University of Detroit Mercy Law School, and is a recent honoree at Michigan Children’s Heroes Night for her lifetime of service to women and children. Denise Ilitch's passion for affordable, accessible, quality education comes not only from her own experience as a first generation student, but also her children. Ms. Ilitch is the proud mother of two, one of whom graduated as a Wolverine.