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President's Perspective

  • Author:
    Lou Anna K. Simon
  • Published:
    Fall 2008

            It is once again time to welcome new and returning students to campus to begin a new academic year at Michigan State University. It is hard to believe that just over three months ago we sent more than 8,500 new Spartan graduates off to begin the next chapter in their lives and here we are already opening the residence halls and beginning classes once again.

            It was a busy summer at Michigan State—in East Lansing and in communities throughout the world. The work of our scientists, researchers, and students did not stop when classes ended. Many had the opportunity to spend extended time in the field or lab during this time. The stories featured throughout this issue specifically highlight some of the extraordinary research being done by MSU undergraduate students.

            One field of research in which Michigan State University is internationally recognized is nuclear science. In June, we announced that MSU is competing for a half-billion dollar U.S. Department of Energy-funded Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). The application was prepared and submitted in mid-July by the staff of the MSU-based National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, which is already considered the nation’s premier rare isotope beam facility. If the FRIB is built in Michigan, it is estimated that the economic benefit to the state will exceed $1 billion over the first decade and will cause the state to earn additional jobs, income, and state tax revenues for decades to come.

            All of the state’s members of Congress are working on behalf of MSU, and academic leaders around the nation and Michigan business and labor leaders are also supporting our bid for this important facility. Building the FRIB is essential for maintaining U.S. leadership in basic nuclear science, and placing it at a university is the best way to protect U.S. competitiveness by ensuring this nation attracts top students into science and produces a steady stream of rigorously trained research scientists. I encourage you to visit if you are interested in more information or if you would like to find out how you can help bring the FRIB to MSU.

            The development of alternative fuels is also critical to Michigan’s – and America’s – competitiveness.  The bioeconomy holds tremendous promise for Michigan’s economic and environmental future and Michigan State researchers and scientists are leading the charge in some key areas in this emerging field, specifically in the development of cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel fuel. The research being done at MSU is playing a vital role in helping to shape a green future in renewable resources for the state and the nation.

            As one of the top 100 research universities in the world, Michigan State University builds powerful partnerships in communities from Michigan to Malawi in order to help develop sustainable solutions that address the world’s pressing problems. Giving undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in research projects in fields such as nuclear science, alternative energy, political science, and many others enhances the value of an MSU degree and gives our students a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.


            Lou Anna K. Simon, Ph.D.

            President, Michigan State University