Lou Anna K. Simon, the 20th president of Michigan State University, leads the university’s work to advance the common good in Michigan and around the world. An MSU graduate, she began her career at Michigan State after earning her doctorate in 1974. From there, she moved into a variety of administrative roles, including assistant provost for general academic administration, associate provost, and provost and vice president for academic affairs. She was appointed president by the MSU Board of Trustees in January 2005.
As president, Simon has engaged Michigan State University in a strategic and transformative journey to adapt the principles of the land-grant tradition to 21st-century challenges. She has expanded MSU’s reach in the state and around the world by focusing the university’s strengths on solutions that enhance and protect quality of life: clean and affordable energy, access to education, safe and plentiful food, and health care. She outlined these commitments and the philosophy driving them in her monograph, Embracing the World Grant Ideal: Affirming the Morrill Act for a Twenty-first-century Global Society.
Simon’s key initiatives, particularly in economic development and international engagement, reflect her commitment to applying knowledge to benefit society and further the global common good. Simon is a member of the American Council on Education and the Council on Competitiveness, a nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization working to ensure U.S. prosperity. She serves as chair of the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board, a group of presidents and chancellors of several prominent U.S. universities that consults regularly with national agencies responsible for security, intelligence, and law enforcement. She also serves as chair of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division 1 executive committee, the association’s overarching governing panel.
Simon’s resolute commitment to advancing Michigan’s economic future has been a hallmark of her presidency. She serves on the board of directors of Business Leaders for Michigan and is chair of the Detroit Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. In the area of international engagement, Simon is a member of the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa.
Research at Michigan State University reflects Simon’s commitment to advancing knowledge and discovery to improve quality of life. Under her leadership, MSU has expanded its research in, among other areas, biofuels and green energy, medicine and medical technology, physics and rare isotopes, safe water, and agriculture to address world hunger. With the support of external funding now exceeding $500 million annually, Simon is helping ensure that Michigan State University makes a significant positive difference locally and globally.
Last updated 1.23.2014