From the President - Spring 2020
Working for a Safe, Welcoming MSU
The first anniversary of my being named MSU’s 21st president is approaching, as I write this column. Among the many highlights are my visits with alumni on campus and across the country. I’m grateful for their consistently warm welcome.
In my first days as president of Michigan State University, I was asked what keeps me up at night. It is always the safety of our community, and I think most thoughtful leaders would say the same.
Scarcely had my first semester passed when this imperative reached a scale few would have imagined. The novel coronavirus quickly reordered our priorities and routines, and I am immeasurably proud of how the Spartan community has responded.
Thanks to extraordinary efforts by faculty, the support of staff and the flexibility of students, spring semester courses were moved online. Research has been affected; employees have worked remotely or under more challenging conditions; and the competitions, performances, conferences and other activities we looked forward to have been canceled or postponed. For the class of 2020, whose undergraduate years were marked by painful reckonings on the part of this institution, postponement of its well-deserved commencement was heartbreaking. As our graduates enter a world that itself has changed, this band of Spartans deserves particular acknowledgment.
While most students returned to their permanent residences, MSU is still home to many, including international students who can’t yet return to their families. Campus staff members have been working diligently to see to housing, dining and academic needs, as we do our best to make students who’ve remained on campus feel comfortable and welcome.
Alumni gatherings, too, have been affected. Among the highlights of my first months as president were my visits with many of you. I am grateful to have been so warmly welcomed into the Spartan family.
I hope to extend such warmth soon from new quarters. With the reopening of a renovated Cowles House in March, I moved from 1855 Place — one of MSU’s newest housing options — to its most historic, dating back to 1857. Cowles House has long been a center of campus hospitality, hosting more than 150 university events annually. I look forward to welcoming guests there once more.
In this issue, you’ll meet several Spartans who reflect the highest standards in the hospitality and entertainment industries, here in Michigan, across the country and around the world. You’ll also meet a new resident at Lansing’s Potter Park Zoo, a black rhinoceros, born Dec. 24. I’m proud that MSU veterinarians and students helped play a part in the preservation of this endangered species.
Whether we’re caring for others or our fellow creatures, accommodating students unable to return home or planning future alumni gatherings, I like to think Spartans have a natural gift for hospitality. I know these are challenging times, but I hope this place on the banks of the Red Cedar will always feel like home to you and that we will be able to see one another soon. Stay safe and Go Green!
Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.