A time of transition and reflection

12-31-2004

A new year is always a time of transition and reflection, and that’s especially true this year for me personally and for MSU.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly 35 years since I first set foot on this campus as a prospective graduate student back in 1970. Both Michigan State and I have come a long way during that time. It’s been a unique opportunity and privilege for me to have been a part of this great university and the many things it’s accomplished during that time.

And as I prepare to embark on the next part of that journey, as president of Michigan State University, I find myself thinking about some of the differences between the new responsibilities I’ll have and those I had as provost for the past 12 years. A university president is really the one who sets the course for the institution, figuring out the general balance and determining in a strategic sense where we want to go and what we want to do. A provost is certainly able to offer input on that institutional vision, but the primary function is more to translate those broad brush strokes into concrete terms and goals for the rest of the university. The provost really is more involved in the day-to-day operations here on campus, while there’s a certain expectation that the president will represent the institution and translate what we do here for the community and our stakeholders beyond the boundaries of campus.

While that’s a change that will require somewhat more than me simply moving to another office some 40 steps down the hall, I’m really looking forward to the promise that comes with this new role and the possibilities for us to explore the new territory that lies ahead.

All of us who are part of the MSU community will be making that journey together. Happy New Year to you all.

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