May 26, 2021: May MSU update

Dear Spartans and Friends,

Attending graduation ceremonies is always a fulfilling way to close the academic year. It was with much pride I joined trustees, distinguished guests and deans to congratulate Michigan State University’s 9,000-plus graduates in person and virtually earlier this month. 

Spartan graduates always impress. For the spring semester, 133 earned Board of Trustees Awards for achieving a 4.0 GPA at the close of their last semester before graduation. And in a semester in which all but one Spartan team competed, MSU’s student-athletes posted the highest cumulative GPA in athletic department history — 3.3051. Impressively, 118 of them earned perfect 4.0 GPAs for the semester. 

Michigan State’s commitment to the success of all our students, reflected in our innovative student support programs, earned the university the First-gen Forward Cohort designation from the Center for First-generation Student Success.

To our spring 2021 graduates across all our colleges and degree levels, I once again offer my warmest congratulations on your achievements and very best wishes for what comes next. You are forever Spartan alumni.

Fall planning
We all are encouraged by Michigan’s progress in emerging from the pandemic. As vaccination efforts help bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control, we are planning for a more typical fall semester of on-campus living, learning and activities. And after a year of missing many of these traditions, we are very excited about the plans to have a full and robust Spartan Stadium and offer a traditional football experience once again.

We also are working on safely transitioning more employees back to work on campus while observing the state’s health rules.

We all play a vital role in contributing to our community vaccination numbers. I’ve said many times that getting a vaccination is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself, your family, friends and fellow Spartans.

Vaccination opportunities are offered here in East Lansing at the MSU Pavilion and the MSU Health Care Pharmacy. If you live in another community, please search out ways to schedule a vaccination wherever you are. Many commercial locations offer vaccinations, and the state of Michigan has a website to search for availability.

Thank you for all you are doing to reinvigorate our beautiful campus. To students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors, we look forward to seeing you soon. And a reminder, the best way to keep up with the latest information is to consult MSU’s Together We Will website.

Financial update
This month we welcomed our new senior vice president and chief financial officer, Lisa Frace, who joins us after a national search and approval by the Board of Trustees. 

Lisa has more than 15 years of higher education finance experience at tier-one research universities, leading the transformation of business practices and processes emphasizing modernization and aligning resources to university priorities. A national higher education finance leader, she serves on the boards of the National Association of College and University Business Officers and its western region. She also is a champion for professional development in the field, specifically focusing on diverse viewpoints and voices.

I look forward to working with Lisa as she oversees MSU’s financial progress, including developing a comprehensive and long-range financial plan.

After more than a year of revenue losses and new costs imposed by the pandemic, we are watching the state’s annual appropriations process closely to ensure any formula applied to state support is equitable. The Legislature’s goal is to send a budget to the governor’s desk by July 1.

Remembering Eli Broad
MSU and many other institutions and communities lost a friend and benefactor with the passing of alumnus Eli Broad on April 30. He was a visionary business leader and a bold philanthropist whose influence will be felt for generations. I’m glad I could acknowledge Eli’s Spartan will at graduation ceremonies for the Eli Broad College of Business and other MSU colleges. His investments in MSU make a difference now and for decades to come.

Final thoughts
To all of you who have given so much to this university, I’ll close as I did for the newest additions to our vast alumni family: Go forth confidently, joyfully and, as always, Go Green!


Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. (he/him)