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March 4, 2024

Mar. 4, 2024: Community Letter

Dear Spartan community,

Today, I eagerly begin my work as the 22nd president of Michigan State University, starting with offering students a warm welcome back after what I hope was a relaxing spring break and an opportunity to recharge. I look forward to meeting many of you on campus in the coming weeks and congratulating our newest graduates at commencement ceremonies in just two short months!

Higher education is my passion, and I share the deep commitment of MSU’s world-class faculty, curious students, dedicated staff, visionary administrators and devoted trustees to advancing knowledge and transforming lives through the reach of our passionately public university. I am confident that together, we can build an even stronger partnership with our many stakeholders in every corner of the state and around the globe.

I have spent much of the past six months learning about you, and decided after that exploration that I wanted it to be about us. My wife Amy and I felt a connection to the MSU community from the moment we touched down in early November for a visit to East Lansing. There is a deep love for this place, coupled still with a need for healing. I am eager to help move us forward with you by my side. There is so much innovative teaching, groundbreaking research and overall compassionate care occurring on our campus daily, and I look forward to working with Spartans near and far to help write the next chapter of Michigan State’s inspiring story.

Through servant leadership, I aim to build on MSU’s celebrated history as a proud land-grant university that is embracing an aspiration to be bold and contemporary in preparing the next generation of leaders across Michigan, the nation and the world. I am committed to moving us into the future with purpose, humility and vision. My hope is that, together, we will build a culture of collaboration and always aim to be strategic, evidence-based, bold and people-focused. And that we will all treat each other with respect, civility and dignity. As MSU’s strategic plans underscore, our people are the beating heart of the institution. Hearing directly from Spartans, as I already have, will be a critical component of my leadership as we work together to meet our challenges and seize opportunities.

With the timing of last week’s Miller & Chevalier report and last night’s special Board of Trustees meeting, I also want to assure all of you that I am prepared for this moment in time. Many of the activities described in the report are concerning, but I am assured that the Board is committed to following the good governance principles and practices they signed with me in December. That is what our university deserves, and what our community expects moving forward. As I said earlier, and it’s worth repeating, every member of our campus should be treated with dignity and respect.

Thus, I will begin my tenure with a university community listening and learning tour, with plans to visit all our colleges and major administrative units. With your help, I will seek to identify a “true north” that will lead us to provide the very best education and workplace culture for Spartans and bold service to the public in the land-grant tradition. Students, you will often see me around campus on a walk or jog. Please join me so I can learn about you and your aspirations, and you can help me learn more about our campus landscape.

As I engage our wonderfully vibrant and diverse community, I invite you to join me in charting the way forward by considering the following questions:

  1. What will it take for MSU to maintain and strengthen its position among the top-tier research institutions in the nation?
  2. How will it contribute to the great scientific, medical and social challenges of our time?
  3. And how will MSU continue to prepare students for careers and jobs that don’t yet exist?

These questions will help us identify MSU’s true north to map the journey in front of us. This is an exciting prospect, and I look forward to advancing MSU’s important role — and fundamental responsibility — as a global public research university serving the people of Michigan and the world.

It is great to be here among so many dedicated and caring Spartans. I look forward to seeing you around campus, and if you see me, please say hi. Go Green!


Kevin M. Guskiewicz signature

Kevin M. Guskiewicz, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Kinesiology