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President’s Message

  • Author:
    Lou Anna K. Simon, PhD
  • Published:
    Spring 2014
One of the best parts of being president is having the opportunity to experience first-hand many aspects of Michigan State—and every day becoming aware of things that reaffirm the excellence that characterizes so many of our programs and the people associated with MSU.
I’m sure many of you watched the Rose Bowl, either in Pasadena or on television at home, and were thrilled at the excellence of our football team and its coaching staff led by Mark Dantonio. Those of us in attendance also enjoyed showing the world the achievements of our outstanding Spartan Marching Band, the cheer squads and the entire athletic department managed by Athletic Director Mark Hollis.
Upon returning to East Lansing, I was quickly reminded of another “Rose Bowl” of excellence on our campus, as I received word that Congress would approve a budget allocating $55 million for construction of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. 
FRIB is a microcosm of how MSU generates excellence. We leveraged our history and strengths—MSU has a 50-year history in nuclear physics and our National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory has led the field of rare isotope research, attracting the top students, faculty, and staff—to develop the idea for a new high-powered research tool. We sought funders for this $700 million tool, and found them in the federal government and the state of Michigan. We added our own intellectual and financial resources. We competed against a national laboratory to be home to FRIB—and we won. 
Now MSU is poised to be the center for rare isotope research and education for another generation. The congressional approval allows us to begin civil construction in earnest this year, with an eye toward a 2022 opening of the $730 million FRIB, which will provide scientists around the world with the very best tools for rare isotope research.
Of course, MSU has Rose Bowls of excellence all across the university. We have 29 programs ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the top 20 in the nation, including the No. 1 undergraduate program in supply chain management and No. 1 graduate programs in nuclear physics, industrial and organizational psychology, and elementary and secondary education. We’ve been listed as one of the top 100 universities in the world for 11 straight years by Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s well respected rankings, and other world rankings place us there as well.
What’s our secret? 
• A winning combination of individual effort and collaborative teamwork.
• A dedication to hard work that few can match.
• A relentless pursuit of excellence.
You will notice, of course, that this is really no “secret” formula for success. We continue to emphasize a culture of high performance, compelling each of us to collaborate and do our utmost to create better outcomes for our state, nation and world. You are a part of this effort, and your support has never been more important to the future success of Michigan State. 
Every day, across the campus and in my trips around the nation and world, I see MSU students, faculty, staff, and alumni compete and win their own personal “Rose Bowls” of excellence. I know you do too.
Spartans Will.
Lou Anna K. Simon, PhD
President, Michigan State University