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John DiBiaggio, Former MSU President, Dies

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Courtesy photo
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John DiBiaggio at MSU commencement ceremony, June 13, 1992

Former Michigan State University President John DiBiaggio has died. He was MSU’s 17th president, serving from 1985 to 1992.

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A press release from the university reports that he died on February 1st at the age of 87.

His career also included time as president at the University of Connecticut and Tufts University.

Current MSU President Samuel Stanley calls DiBiaggio “a true advocate for inclusion, service to others, and…equitable access to higher education.”

Melanie Foster was appointed to the MSU Board of Trustees while DiBiaggio was president. She describes him as “a tireless worker committed to enforcing ethics and gender equity in college athletics.”

A native Detroiter, DiBiaggio was the son of Italian immigrants and was the first in his family to attend college.

In 1990, he opposed allowing football coach George Perles to also lead the entire athletic department, an idea meant to keep Perles from leaving for the NFL. Trustees voted to promote Perles anyway on a 5-3 vote, and DiBiaggio would leave MSU for Tufts two years later.

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