The Michigan State University Board of Trustees has selected Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., as its next university president at a special meeting today. President-designee Stanley will officially begin his term as Michigan State’s 21st president on Aug. 1, 2019.
“Today, by a unanimous vote, the MSU Board of Trustees has elected Dr. Samuel Stanley as Michigan State’s 21st president,” said Dianne Byrum, chairperson, MSU Board of Trustees. “Dr. Stanley is an empowering, compassionate and thoughtful leader, who will work tirelessly alongside our students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and broader Spartan community to meet the challenges we face together and build our future.”
Last August, the trustees appointed an 18-member search committee, co-chaired by Byrum and Melanie Foster, MSU trustee. As part of a national search, the committee solicited input through 22 campus-wide input sessions and an online submission form where community members shared their ideas on the characteristics they desire for Michigan State’s next president. The committee used those comments as the basis for the Presidential Prospectus and the criteria by which the committee evaluated each candidate.
“MSU is one of the world’s leading research universities, and I am grateful to the Board of Trustees and the Presidential Search Committee that so ably represented the entire MSU community for giving me the opportunity to serve this great institution,” Stanley said. “MSU’s core strength is its amazing students, superb faculty, dedicated staff and proud alumni, and I cannot wait to get to campus to meet with you and learn from you. I know the Spartan community has been profoundly troubled by the events of the past years that have shaken confidence in the institution. We will meet these challenges together, and we will build on the important work that has already been done to create a campus culture of diversity, inclusion, equity, accountability and safety that supports all of our endeavors. I am so excited about MSU’s legacy as the pioneer land-grant university, its remarkable progress over this decade and its amazing potential for the future. I believe our best days are ahead, and I appreciate the chance to be a part of this extraordinary journey.”
President-designee Stanley has been the president of Stony Brook University since 2009 and has nearly 15 years of higher education leadership experience. After earning his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, he completed his resident-physician training at Massachusetts General Hospital. He then went to Washington University in St. Louis for a fellowship in infectious diseases, eventually becoming a professor in the Departments of Medicine and Molecular Microbiology and one of the nation’s highest recipients of NIH funding. He was appointed Vice Chancellor for Research at Washington University in 2006, serving in that position until he was appointed president at Stony Brook.
“Dr. Samuel Stanley is an outstanding physician and an accomplished leader in higher education. He is deeply committed to access and equity, and he has leveraged the premier Educational Opportunity Program to provide thousands of qualified students the chance to pursue their educational goals,” said Robert Jones, Chancellor at the University of Illinois. “It was a pleasure working with him during my four years in the SUNY system, and I look forward to collaborating again as he joins Michigan State University and the Big Ten.”
“Dr. Stanley’s entire career, as both a researcher and leader, embodies a commitment to all aspects of academic excellence and demonstrates his assurance that students are at the center of his mission,” said Foster. “We set out to find a proven leader with the energy, integrity and compassion needed to lead our university, and we found one.”
Dr. Stanley is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and recently completed terms on the NCAA Board of Directors and NCAA Board of Governors. He served for seven years as chair of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, which advises the United States government on issues related to the communication, dissemination and performance of sensitive biological research.
In addition to his extensive background in science and research, Dr. Stanley championed student achievement, access to higher education and advocating for more state and national funding for financial aid at Stony Brook. He also has been an international advocate for gender equity and ending sexual violence in his role as one of two U.S. university Impact Champions for the HeForShe UN Global Solidarity Movement for Gender Equality.
“The Board of Trustees would like to express gratitude to the members of the Presidential Search Committee who dedicated their valuable time, immense knowledge and thoughtful perspective. The committee members took the time to capture their thoughts on the process and the selection of Dr. Stanley, and we will be sharing that feedback on the presidential search website,” Byrum said. “We also want to thank the Spartan community who took time to share their thoughts at the many input sessions held across campus and through the online form. We truly have an invested community.”