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President's Message

  • Author:
    President Lou Anna K. Simon
  • Published:
    Summer 2017




Whenever I have the opportunity to travel internationally for MSU, I return with an even deeper appreciation for the value of Michigan State’s global influence and impact.


MSU’s global engagement roots are deep. As an early leader in scientific agriculture, we enrolled our first international student in the 1870s. Over the years, we promoted international understanding and grew our global presence in research, scholarship, and service, adding international scholars to the faculty, opening the International Center, and forming the office of International Programs (now International Studies and Programs)—the first such office at a major U.S. university.


Today, Michigan State is recognized as a top-100 global research university, a top-10 provider of Peace Corps volunteers, and a top institution for study abroad and international student enrollment.


Last year MSU enrolled more than 7,000 international students from more than 130 countries. And each year nearly 3,000 of our students study in locations spanning 70 countries and every continent—including Antarctica.


In addition to providing life-changing opportunities for students, the importance of our international awareness and our ethos of civic engagement extends further.


It’s clear today that many of society’s greatest challenges are worldwide in scope, transcending both geographic barriers and national boundaries. These problems are environmental, technological, financial, social, and political. They often knot together complex human and natural systems and require collaborative, interdisciplinary solutions to address them.


Michigan State’s land-grant method of engaging our partners in knowledge discovery and application is as valuable to those living half a world away as it is for those in our own backyard. It’s part of what I call the World-Grant approach to the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century, and no place is better suited for it than Michigan State.


Our long-term experience and lasting commitments tell us that the stronger our international engagement, the more refined are our abilities to generate new scholarship and research, and the better equipped we are to meet both local and global challenges. Wegive society greater collective capacity, achieved by thinking and working together.  


The needs of the world demand more people with broad cultural understanding and competencies and the capacity to solve problems collaboratively. It’s a world that needs Spartans.