Reflection—2007–08 academic year

04-28-2008

As another academic year comes to a close, it is appropriate to take a moment to reflect on the past year and review what we have accomplished as Team MSU.

Fall semester marked the beginning of the Year of Arts and Culture. This created a platform to showcase the many ways the university advances arts and culture through teaching, research, and outreach. Highlights included the opening of the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, announcement of the creation of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Wharton Center for Performing Arts, anniversaries of the MSU Museum and Department of Theatre, the first full academic year since the School of Music became the College of Music, and numerous other signature events. These activities involved many academic programs, cut across multiple disciplines, enriched the student experience, aligned with local economic development efforts, and engaged the community.

In addition to arts and culture on campus, student academic achievement was celebrated throughout the year. A total of 28 bachelor degree recipients received the Board of Trustees GPA Award. All of the recipients earned perfect 4.0 grade point averages, a phenomenal accomplishment for our students. MSU also was proud to have Churchill, Udall, Hollings, and Goldwater scholarship recipients this year. These prestigious awards for undergraduate achievement exemplify the quality of student work at MSU.

As we embrace our land-grant heritage with a contemporary world-grant perspective, you’ll note that our presence is felt both at home and throughout the world. MSU is making a difference—treating diseases such as malaria, helping to solve serious food-shortage issues, creating viable biofuel options, and making strides to relieve the nation’s shortage in health care providers. Launching MSU Dubai will help us establish a world-class model for global engagement that is firmly rooted in our land-grant values and dedicated to advancing knowledge and transforming lives throughout the world.

Here at home, the hard work and determination of MSU’s student-athletes, coaches, and staff this past year have brought much joy to Spartan fans. We are extremely proud of how well our athletes juggle both team and academic commitments without compromising their performance in either area. Football welcomed new head coach Mark Dantonio who led MSU back to postseason play with participation in the Champs Bowl. Suzy Merchant joined women’s basketball as head coach, and she took the team to the championship game of the WNIT. Men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo celebrated his 300th win this season and led his team to the NCAA tournament for the eleventh straight year.

We culminate this academic year by awarding honorary degrees to Nelson Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president of South Africa; Steven Koonin, chief scientist for BP; Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway and former director general of the World Health Organization; and Peter Ravin, president of the Missouri Botanical Garden. These individuals serve as exemplars of commitment and service for the betterment of students and for the public good.

As we look back at all we have achieved, it is also important to look ahead to the coming transitions and opportunities. A graduating class of more than 8,580 will cross the stage during commencement ceremonies as their undergraduate and graduate degrees are conferred. According to the Earl of Beaconsfield, “The secret of success in life is for an individual to be ready for their opportunity when it comes.” I challenge these graduates to be bold and seize that opportunity and to wear their Spartan heritage proudly.

Finally, I want to take this time to wish everyone a healthy, safe and productive summer. Take pride in our collective accomplishments as Team MSU and best wishes as we move forward to create a brighter tomorrow.

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