Boldness in a time of challenge


Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of joining the chair and vice chair of our Board of Trustees and university officers at the Michigan State University Awards Convocation 2007. This event honors faculty and staff who have distinguished themselves through their path-breaking research, tireless outreach, and innovative teaching.

So it was partially in their honor—to keep the day and the event focused on them—that I decided to give a short and less formal version of the annual State of the University Address. But it was also because I wanted to talk directly and frankly with the members of Team MSU, to engage you in reconnecting with our values and our core mission, considering our challenges, and embracing our vision.

This is a critical time for MSU, a critical time for higher education in this country. Harsh winds are blowing on us, and it’s not just the Michigan weather. These winds are tearing at the covenant—the trust—between university, state, and people. If we are not careful, these winds encourage a tendency to look inward and stay within comfortable walls, rather than step forward to address society’s problems.

But we have strong roots, and we are determined. We care enough about the people of Michigan—the people of the world—to make a difference in their lives. Trust and covenant is what MSU is about.

Yesterday I outlined some specific steps we will take toward strengthening that covenant and this university as we pursue our vision of land-grant to world-grant. Within the context of Boldness by Design, we will achieve our aspirations, not simply to make ourselves more successful, but to make our state and our world better.

You can listen to my remarks from yesterday or read the full formal version of the State of the University Address that will be shared with our stakeholders in the weeks to come.


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