Turn of the year


Final exams are over, students and faculty have rejoined their families or are traveling, and we pause, briefly, to take stock of 2010 and consider what lies ahead in the new year.

Michigan State’s immediate prospects are exciting-among them a much-heralded matchup against Alabama’s Crimson Tide and former Spartan coach Nick Saban in the Capital One Bowl Jan. 1 in Orlando. Coach Mark Dantonio deserves the accolades attached to numerous “coach of the year” designations and nominations this season. He has brought the program success while reflecting Spartan values, including determination and character.

In similar fashion Team MSU rose to the occasion in 2010, challenged by financial constraints and ceaseless calls to do more with less while keeping the institutional body and soul together. Our faculty and staff stepped up by accepting pay freezes and a new health care package that will go far toward reining in costs. Now we’re beginning a new initiative to review our energy options in an inclusive process that seeks input from students and other members of the campus community.

Our colleges and operating units are reshaping themselves to better deliver world-class education and services, as faculty members strive to push the frontiers of knowledge and broaden the university’s financial base through grant-funded research.

Great universities, like great teams, persevere through adversity and emerge strengthened. This institution has been through a lot in the last year or two, and there is still more to do, with continued uncertainty in particular about how the state’s economic condition will affect us. But our determination to manifest our values in how we anticipate and handle what comes our way reflects MSU’s can-do land-grant ethic and Spartan spirit.

The turn of the calendar marks a natural time to step back, reflect, and then resolve to push forward with determination and optimism. So let’s seize the moment and reflect on the things that really matter. These are appropriate times, and this is a perfect season, to sort our priorities and to engage our families, communities, and the world in efforts that truly make a difference.

Hear President Simon reflect on these topics on Spartan Podcast. Read MSU student Megan Gebhart’s “52 Cups of Coffee” blog interview with President Simon.


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