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President Stanley reflects on his first year leading Michigan State University

Michigan State University

Michigan State University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.’s one-year anniversary as president of MSU was on August 1. This conversation is an opportunity to look back on the past year and look ahead to the 2020-21 academic year.

“Wow, it’s been amazing,” says President Stanley. “The welcome and support I’ve had from the campus community and from so many different constituencies has been extraordinary. People have offered their ideas and their work to help me succeed and move Michigan State University forward.

“And I continue to be impressed by the concept of ‘Spartans Will.’ Our ability to get things done and be tenacious and resilient under the most difficult circumstances has really shone through in so many ways.”

Stanley says he was pleased and impressed how quickly and effectively the faculty was able to convert all of their course content to online instruction last March. And he details the many ways the campus will be different this fall, like students having the choice to study remotely or from East Lansing. And he describes the “principled leadership” he has called on to guide MSU through the pandemic.

Stanley shares his views on how MSU – and higher education – may look different after the pandemic has passed.

“The ability to work from home changes things. Our staff has been amazingly adaptive and productive working from home.” He sees online education evolving and getting better and expanding the reach of a Michigan State University education.

“Those are potential positive factors moving forward, but we’ve also been reminded throughout the pandemic how important the campus experience is. The desire of students to get back to campus reminds us how important the socialization component of MSU is. We have to make sure we preserve that component of MSU. A lot of the unique traditions we have at MSU and the pride of being a Spartan comes from having walked on the campus. Maintaining that is very important.”

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