Sept. 30, 2021: Spartan Community Letter

Dear Spartans and Friends,

This week is homecoming week at Michigan State University, with many ways to participate virtually or in person and express your Spartan pride. We are proud to welcome alumna Barbara Ross-Lee back to MSU as this year’s parade grand marshal. Dr. Ross-Lee was the first Black woman in the United States to lead a medical school as dean.

Because a thunderstorm washed out my first opportunity to join the homecoming parade in 2019 and the parade was canceled last year due to the pandemic, I’m hoping for fair weather on Friday. 

As we celebrate our Spartan family and heritage during this week’s homecoming, we are often reminded of the university’s drive for excellence and impact. I encourage you to enjoy this video.

We have much to be proud of, including new rankings testifying to MSU’s excellence. The 2022 Times Higher Education World University Rankings put MSU in the top 6% of global universities. And for the 11th consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks MSU’s undergraduate supply chain management program in the Eli Broad College of Business No. 1 in the country, among other high MSU program rankings.

Part of what makes MSU worthy of high rankings is the quality of our partnerships, which extend the university’s reach and strength. One we’ve talked about recently is our partnership with Henry Ford Health System, where we are reimagining how our two world-class institutions think about, innovate and deliver health care while advancing medical research and education.

We have great partners in the automotive industry, too, who hire many Spartan graduates and interns and fuel our work supporting the state’s mobility industry competitiveness. We’re working with Ford Motor Co. and others to apply our science to creating strong composite materials that will be lighter and more sustainable.

And with our University Research Corridor counterparts at the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, we lead the nation in preparing the next generation of mobility thinkers, creators and leaders. A new URC report found that our three universities lead the nation’s top university innovation clusters in preparing the greatest number of graduates for careers in the mobility industry. MSU Mobility includes more than 50 researchers working in leading areas such as digital, engineering and infrastructure challenges as well the critical human and systems impacts of such new technologies.

Students going into such exciting work will get to do much of their learning in our new STEM Teaching and Learning Facility, which officially opened earlier this month. With its innovative reuse of the Shaw Lane Power Plant and adoption of structural mass timber, the building is a transformative space for learning, too. Here, we see the future of teaching and learning unfolding, including through creative and interactive processes.

The arts and humanities are vital at MSU as well, and on Friday we will publicly unveil another stunning building on campus where the creative process thrives. The Billman Music Pavilion in the College of Music adds to the vibrancy of the university. The pavilion increases space at the college by more than 40%, with acoustically advanced spaces for practice, rehearsals and performances. 

As we look forward to Saturday’s homecoming game, we have a new athletic director at the helm of Spartan Athletics. Alan Haller is a former MSU football player and member of the track and field team who joined the athletics department in 2010 after 13 years with the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety. As assistant vice president and deputy athletic director most recently, he has brought a great deal to the department, including the perspective of the student-athlete. He is the right choice to move our programs forward.

I am deeply grateful to all who contributed to the university’s new strategic plan, which was released earlier this month. The strategic plan is one of the major accomplishments of our university community in my first two years at MSU.

It has been a busy time and, as I enter my third year as president, I thought I would share a summary of some of what we have done together. I also discussed recent developments on the MSU Today with Russ White podcast. 

I wish all Spartans a joyful homecoming. Go Green!

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