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Michigan State University

Spartans Journey Together

Headshot of Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee

Spartans Journey Together

This year’s Homecoming theme, Spartans Journey Together, highlights and recognizes Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee as the 2021 Grand Marshal.

The MSU Alumni Office is excited to announce that we will be celebrating Homecoming 2021, Sept. 27-Oct. 2. 


MSU welcomes Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee, class of 1973, as this year's Homecoming grand marshal. Ross-Lee was the first African-American female dean of a U.S. medical school and the first osteopathic physician to hold a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship.


As Spartans, we journey together. We journey campus by exchanging ideas, extending helping hands and cheering each other on every step of the way. We journey beyond East Lansing to combine our knowledge, skills and passions in pursuit of a brighter world. And when times are the toughest, we know the only way to journey is to journey together.

The novel coronavirus tested our togetherness. Essential workers, both on and off campus, kept their communities up and running. Spartans banded together in countless ways — from research to scholarship development to community support. We were tested and — despite it all — we journeyed together.


Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee embarked on her Spartan journey in 1969 when she entered the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. Since then, her work has taken countless forms over the years including her family practice, teaching as a professor and various other positions held in the medical community. In 1993, she was elected the first African American woman dean of a medical school at Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Ross-Lee then went on to join the New York Institute of Technology and retired as the vice president of Health Science and Medical Affairs. She also served as director of the American Osteopathic Association Health Policy Fellowship program.

“Health is one of those things that impacts everyone, everywhere. Not one person is exempt.”

-Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee

In addition, Ross-Lee served as a commissioned officer, United States Naval Reserves Medical Corps, from 1982 to 1994, achieving the rank of captain. In 2000, Ross-Lee was awarded an MSU Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2012, the Institute of Medicine appointed her to its Consensus Committee on the Governance and Financing of Graduate Medical Education.

Dr. Ross-Lee’s contributions have enriched the Spartan journey, laying a path that is bolder and brighter for those who follow.

For an engaging conversation about her career journey, join us virtually for ‘An Evening with Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee’. Register for free here.


Author: Felicia Grigsby, '17, '20

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