It’s a great time to be a Spartan


I had the privilege of helping recognize some 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students at last week’s fall commencement ceremony, an event in the life of a university that seems as routine as the change of seasons.

But in the life of a scholar, graduation is far from routine. It’s a major milestone, a rite of passage certifying a graduate’s readiness to compete in the world.

MSU commencement also is significant to Michigan and to the world. While today’s universities are expected to focus resources on technology transfer that moves their research into the marketplace, I like to remind people that graduation represents MSU’s greatest knowledge and talent transfer.

With each graduating class, all the knowledge, passion, talent, and tenacity—as well as tech innovation—Michigan State nurtures in its students is sent into the world to advance the common good. So each graduating class is indeed cause for celebration.

Spartans have much to celebrate this season:

  • A Rhodes Scholar
  • A debate team pairing ranked among the top three in the nation
  • Seven Fulbright awards for doctoral degree international research
  • A top ranking in career satisfaction for MBA graduates of the Broad College of Business (Forbes)
  • A comfortable spot among the most influential universities in the world, according to a new Wikipedia-mining algorithm (MIT Technology Review)
  • A top-ranked men’s basketball team and national champion contender football team

It truly is a great time to be a Spartan. But it’s not time to rest. In fact, it’s more important than ever to accelerate our momentum across MSU’s triple-faceted mission of education, research, and outreach.

We enter 2016 more determined than ever to tackle the world’s great challenges and to respond to the social issues of our time that make their way to our doorstep. While we can’t solve humanity’s imperfect nature, we can make our campus a place where issues such as racism, sexual assault, bullying, and economic mobility are rationally examined and addressed within the sphere of our influence. This is consistent with our core values, the values that make MSU a great and enduring institution: quality, inclusiveness, and connectivity.

I want to close the year by thanking Spartans everywhere—alumni, students, faculty, and staff—who represent the values of Michigan State University in their daily work and lives. I hope you take time in this busy season to enjoy time with family and friends, and I invite you to take a look at some of the year’s inspiring Spartan moments in the video below.

I wish you the best for the holidays and the New Year.

Spartans Will.

























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