Skip navigation
Return to Issue

News and Current Events

  • Author:
  • Published:
    Fall 2015


University’s “Empower Extraordinary” capital campaign has hit a $1 billion milestone. Through Aug. 31, nearly $1,012,005,798 has been committed toward a $1.5 billion campaign goal. The announcement comes less than one year after the campaign’s public launch was announced on Oct. 24, 2014. The last two fiscal years, 2013-14 and 2014-15, have been record setting for the university, with more than $238 million raised each year.

Individuals have made 57 percent of the campaign gifts. Among the campaign’s major goals are:  Adding 100 new endowed faculty chairs and construction of a medical research center in Grand Rapids, as well as a graduate pavilion at the Eli Broad College of Business on the East Lansing campus.

By Holly Whetstone, Communications and Brand Strategy
Michigan State University is tapping into the expertise of researchers through the development of Spartan Pure Maple Syrup. The MSU Department of Forestry used roughly 2,000 sugar maple trees covering 70 acres at the Fred Russ Forest in Decatur, Michigan, to create a product that’s available to the public. Ten additional acres have remained untapped so researchers can compare growth with that of tapped trees.

“This venture reconnects MSU, MSU AgBioResearch and the MSU Department of Forestry with the Michigan Maple Syrup Association,” said Greg Kowalewski, MSU resident forester. “The plan is to inventory, grade and value all of the trees being tapped on the 70 acres.”

One of the oldest agricultural crops, maple syrup is produced solely in the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada. A goal of the project is to expand maple syrup production and show landowners the value of tapping their trees rather than selling them as timber.

Spartan Pure Maple Syrup is an all-natural product with no additives or preservatives. It is available in several sizes: half-gallon jugs for $37.89, quarts for $20.98, pints for $13.66, half pints for $7.78 and 3.4-ounce containers for $3.50. Proceeds from sales will support the project, as well as Department of Forestry explorations of sustainable forest management options.

The product is currently for sale at the MSU Surplus Store. Other on- and off-campus locations will carry Spartan Pure Maple Syrup soon.

By Tom Oswald, Communications and Brand Strategy
Michigan State University will be providing a new source of electricity for the campus through the use of a solar-power generating system.The project calls for the installation of solar arrays on five campus parking lots. Eventually the solar arrays are expected to generate up to 10 megawatts of power for the campus.In addition, the project will allow MSU to purchase power at a fixed price for the next 25 years. It has the potential to save the university up to $10 million in electrical costs.The university in April announced it will also reduce emissions at its T.B. Simon Power Plant when it stops burning coal by the end of 2016.

By Geri Kelley, College of Human Medicine

A new Michigan State University study, aimed at identifying early signs of Alzheimer’s disease among Latinos and Hispanics, could help delay or even prevent its onset thanks to a $5.67 million, 5-year grant from the National Institute on Aging.

“Current thinking is it takes decades for Alzheimer’s disease to develop, so we are turning the clock back,” said Hector M. González, the principal investigator of the Study of Latinos – Investigation of Neurocognitive Aging. “The goal is to find signs in your 50s or 60s. We want to know why some people do (develop Alzheimer’s) and some don’t in the hope that we can ultimately prevent or at least push back disease onset.”

González, who is also an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the College of Human Medicine, and his team of scientists, will gather health data from nearly 7,000 middle-aged and older adults in the Bronx, Chicago, Miami and San Diego. The research will include diverse Hispanics and Latinos between the ages of 50 and 80 years old who may show signs of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) which is thought to be an early form of Alzheimer’s disease.

A major goal is to differentiate mild cognitive impairment from normal aging. Not all MCI converts to Alzheimer’s disease, González said, and knowing what makes the difference may be the key to unlocking new answers to an important public health problem.