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April 23, 2024

Apr. 23, 2024: Community Letter

Dear Spartan community,

One theme you will hear me speak a lot about is working together as one team. I experienced that growing up playing football and other sports, even if I spent more time injured than healthy. The camaraderie and encouragement that come with working as one team helped shape my university leadership, and I believe strongly in forging partnerships to power our forward momentum.

Celebrating graduations and accomplishments

Graduation day is one the best examples of what Spartans accomplish working as a team. Our graduates deserve enormous credit for all their hard work to get to this milestone. Consider the remarkable 272 undergraduates of the class of 2024 who earned the Board of Trustees’ 4.0GPA Award . It was a pleasure to join the trustees last week in congratulating these outstanding scholars.

Commencement is the culmination of a great community effort, including faculty who teach and mentor students, staff who provide guidance and support, and alums who offer their experience and encouragement.

I look forward to joining our university family to congratulate more than 9,500 graduates at our three commencement ceremonies Friday. Former Spartan Head Football Coach Mark Dantonio will accept an honorary doctor of education degree and speak at the undergraduate convocation. Alumna April Clobes, president and CEO of the MSU Federal Credit Union, will address master’s and educational specialist degree recipients and receive an honorary doctor of business. And Bolaji Balogun, CEO of Nigeria’s Chapel Hill Denham investment banking firm, will receive an honorary doctor of business and speak to our doctoral candidates.

I hope all our graduates gather with us for these meaningful ceremonies. For those students and family members who can’t attend, our commencement ceremonies will be livestreamed .

Just as launching the class of 2024 is a team effort, so too was welcoming so many prospective Spartans of the class of 2028 at our annual Admitted Student Day earlier this month. It was a thrill to host some 9,000 students and family members for the day’s kickoff at Breslin Center, facility tours and open houses across campus. We welcomed folks from 38 states and five other countries. Attendees’ responses were overwhelmingly positive, and I want to thank our Office of Admissions, our colleges and all those MSU students, faculty and staff members who pitched in to help welcome and orient ourguests.

I’ve met many current and prospective students by now and I’ve been struck by how many tell me they come from multigenerational Spartan families, whether from Michigan or beyond. That is a testament to the enduring passion Spartans have for this university.

Our next class of Spartans can choose from hundreds of world-class academic programs, and the new U.S. News & World Report graduate program rankings should be a great source of pride for all of us. Not only have our College of Education’s elementary and secondary education programs topped its national rankings for 30 straight years, but the college also now has five programs ranked No. 1. In fact, all nine of the college’s graduate programs are ranked in the top10!

And in the Broad College of Business, the graduate supply chain management program continues its No.1 ranking for the eighth straight year. Congratulations to our faculty and staff who are driving the excellence of those programs!

Excellent people deserve excellent facilities

There are so many more examples of Spartans working together as one team. I’m thinking, in particular, of our partnerships to build facilities equal to the task of supporting MSU’s excellence and people, who are the heart and soul of the university.

This month for example, I was pleased to join leaders and partners to celebrate the groundbreaking for an updated, state-of-the-art Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center and the expansion and upgrading of our Plant Science Greenhouses. Both facilities support our students, scientists and stakeholders, and will do so well into the future. We are grateful for funding from the state and the many forms of support we enjoy from stakeholders anddonors.

We are also excited about our new state-of-the-art Student Recreation and Wellness Center and our beautiful new multicultural center, both currently under construction. The new recreation facility, just south of Breslin Center, will replace the Intramural Recreational Sports West and contribute to students’ well-being and success. The multicultural center, rising just south of the Farm Lane bridge, will support the university’s welcoming, supportive environment as it fosters cultural and intellectual curiosity and understanding.

The Board of Trustees this month approved the construction of a new joint biomedical research building in Detroit in collaboration with our partners at Henry Ford Health. The new building will add capacity and synergy to our joint research of cancer, neuroscience, immunology and infectious diseases while we collectively direct focus on understanding health inequities and disparities and social determinants of health. This exciting project will lay a foundation for a National Cancer Institute cancer center designation.

Community engagement and support

I’m a big believer in leading global universities such as MSU in being vital, contributing parts of our community. And while I haven’t been here at MSU for very long, I’ve already seen how collaboration is the Spartan way to get things done. I’ve had the privilege of congratulating students recently at our annual Community Engaged Scholars Showcase and thanked those gathered for the Spartan Day of Service. Giving back is also the Spartan way, as I saw in action when Earvin “Magic” Johnson returned to campus for a Lansing Regional Chamber Economic Club event highlighting the Lansing Promise scholarship program.

I’m also a big believer in inclusivity as foundational to the success of any great research university aspiring to be exceptional. As president, I will work tirelessly to sustain a culture of support where everyone feels safe, welcome and valued. Recently, for example, we released a strengthened Anti-Discrimination Policy . University leaders are also actively assessing new federal Title IX regulations , which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.

Please know that our commitment to transparency and inclusion will remain steadfast as we evaluate the new Title IX regulations, and we will share regular updates and seek community input. In the meantime, our current policies and procedures remain in full effect. They exceed the minimum requirements of the current Title IX regulations and are tailored to meet the specific needs of our campus community.

Finally, my listening and learning tour of 48 MSU colleges and administrative units, a crucial component of my plan for my first 100 days as president, is at about its halfway point. I continue to be greatly impressed with the dedication and quality of our faculty, staff and leadership — truly a remarkable team. Together, we will continue to be strategic, bold and student-focused to strengthen the university’s position as one of the world’s great public research universities, advancing knowledge and transforming lives.

Thanks again to all who have so warmly welcomed Amy and me to Michigan State, and I invite everyone to join us in celebrating the class of 2024. GoGreen!


Kevin M. Guskiewicz signature

Kevin M. Guskiewicz, Ph.D.
(pronounced GUS-ka-wits)
Professor, Department of Kinesiology