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President's Perspective

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

            The fall was filled with exciting news at MSU. From the wrap-up of the enormously successful Campaign for MSU to the unveiling of the College of Human Medicine’s Secchia Center in Grand Rapids and the launch of MSU in Dubai, MSU was making headlines across Michigan and throughout the world.

            In October, MSU concluded the most successful capital campaign in the institution’s history. Donors—including many of you—committed more than $1.4 billion, helping us surpass our goal of $1.2 billion. In fact, we exceeded our goals in every category. We received $476.1 million in endowment gifts, compared to a goal of $450 million, and $346.6 million in planned gifts, shattering the goal of $250 million.

            In the university’s history prior to the campaign, MSU had received just over 100 gifts of $1 million or more. During the Campaign for MSU alone, over 200 gifts of $1 million or more were documented with a cumulative total of nearly $700 million. This speaks volumes for MSU’s reputation and the faith our friends and supporters have in the work we are doing to advance knowledge and transform lives.

            The response to this campaign was extraordinary. Michigan State alumni, friends, faculty, staff, and retirees clearly showed their commitment to the mission and values of this great institution. The generosity of our donors will help secure the future for the next generation of Spartans and position MSU to meet the global challenges of the 21st century.

            October also saw the final authorization from the MSU Board of Trustees to move forward on the construction of the Secchia Center, the future home of the MSU College of Human Medicine in Grand Rapids. This is an exciting project for MSU and the West Michigan community. The state-of-the-art facility, located in downtown Grand Rapids, will improve medical education, and ultimately patient care, throughout Michigan and will raise this region’s profile as a destination for world-class health care.

            The facility is named after one of MSU’s distinguished alums, Ambassador Peter Secchia, a long-time supporter of MSU and the former ambassador to Italy.

            We are creating something very special by bringing a world class university to bear on medical education in West Michigan and by using this opportunity to advance the power of genomic medicine. This venture will significantly increase our activity in research, both in Grand Rapids and East Lansing.

            In September, MSU announced a partnership with TECOM Investments in Dubai to open an educational site in Dubai International Academic City, effectively broadening our role in a region of the world of vital interest to us all and enhancing our efforts throughout the Middle East and beyond.

            Teaching and research throughout the world are important educational components for building our collective futures in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. Michigan State’s presence in Dubai is a reflection of our world-grant commitment to extend MSU’s knowledge and innovation around the globe and specifically to a region of strategic and cultural importance to Michigan and the United States.

            MSU in Dubai is planning initially to offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. It is anticipated each undergraduate program will admit about 40 students and each graduate program 20 students. Some positions will be filled by existing faculty from East Lansing and others will be filled by new hires from the region as vetted by the home MSU departments.

            MSU in Dubai is the latest project initiated by the International Academic City, established in 2006. By partnering with a highly-ranked U.S. academic research institution, Dubai International Academic City envisions MSU in Dubai as a center for new knowledge generation: a place that provides world-class higher education and research facilities for outreach to the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa. Classes will begin there as early as fall 2008.

            In addition to these exciting institutional developments, some distinguished MSU faculty members received national and international recognition this fall for their work.

            Adjunct physics professor, Albert Fert, along with a German colleague was named the recipient of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics, for his work on technology used to read information from computer hard drives. Fert has been an adjunct professor in MSU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy for 10 years.

            Two MSU professors, George Garrity, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, and Jack Preiss, University Distinguished Professor of biochemistry were two of this year’s 471 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows recognized for their efforts to advance their area of science. The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

            These are truly exciting times at MSU. We are expanding our reach and advancing our mission in significant ways throughout the world thanks to the hard work of our students and faculty, and the ongoing support of our alumni and friends. I am encouraged by the extraordinary efforts of everyone on Team MSU to help this institution continue to excel and make a difference in the lives of people all over the globe.

             Best wishes to you and yours for a very Happy New Year. We have much to be proud of and much to look forward to in 2008.


            Lou Anna K. Simon, Ph. D.

            President, Michigan State University