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April 28, 2022

Podcast: Spartans graduate, prepare to make the world a better place

President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. elaborates on topics he discusses in his April 2022 Spartan Community Letter.

Classes are wrapping up, final exams are next week and Michigan State University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. is eagerly anticipating graduation ceremonies for some 9,000 soon-to-be Spartan alumni. 
He talks about feeling like a proud father to all the graduates preparing to go out and make the world a better place. And President Stanley congratulates the 179 students who have maintained 4.0 grade point averages in their time at MSU and have now been named Board of Trustees Scholars.
“As we prepare to say goodbye to most students for the summer, we’re already welcoming new ones for the fall. More than 7,000 prospective students and family members joined us this month to visit colleges and attend the Green and White football game and a Breslin Center pep rally during Admitted Student Day. Admitted students visited from 37 states and 11 countries — as far as India.”
Last week we celebrated Earth Day, following a month of events reminding us how MSU has made strong commitments and progress in sustainability through cutting-edge research, experiential learning, community engagement and improved operations. 
“Our strategic plan commits us to climate neutrality by 2050 and several more near-term goals through our four-pillar sustainability framework of campus, curriculum, community and culture. Last week we also hosted Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and other special visitors for a roundtable event focused on public/private partnerships supporting Michigan’s leadership in electric vehicles and advanced mobility and MSU’s great work in this field.”
Stanley talks about key leadership changes at MSU.
Kim Tobin will become our next vice president for advancement on May 1. Pero G. Dagbovie, who served as an associate dean in the Graduate School and is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of History, was confirmed as associate provost for graduate and postdoctoral studies and dean of the Graduate School. After ably serving the College of Human Medicine as interim dean, Dr. Aron Sousa’s appointment as dean was also confirmed by the Board this month. The Board also endorsed the selection of  Christina K. Brogdon for vice president of human resources and chief human resources officer. Starting June 1, she will be a key player in the university’s efforts to attract, retain and develop the best people possible to help us pursue the university’s mission.
“With the appointment of Kim Tobin, this month we say goodbye to Vice President for Advancement Marti Heil, retiring after a 45-year career of accomplishment across three universities. I also want to acknowledge the pending retirement of University Physician David Weismantel May 16. Dr. Weismantel has served MSU with great dedication in a variety of capacities for the past 23 years, including the last challenging couple of years through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m thrilled to congratulate a highly accomplished faculty member in our College of Engineering who retires after 57 years and eight months as MSU’s longest-serving faculty member. Professor Martin Hawley was appointed as an assistant professor of chemical engineering in 1964 and was a Spartan even before that, earning his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from MSU.
“Dr. Hawley has served in numerous key capacities over his tenure, and the college estimates Professor Hawley has educated at least 80% of MSU chemical engineering students. Last year, an alumnus endowed a chair in the college in his honor. Thank you, Professor Hawley!
“Congratulations are also in order for Vashti Sawtelle, associate professor of physics in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. She is among three professors named 2022 Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year by the Michigan Association of State Universities, which represents Michigan’s 15 public universities. Dr. Sawtelle is noted for her scholarly focus on inclusivity in teaching of physics and is a wonderful example of MSU faculty members’ engagement in the success of all of our students.”
President Stanley says great educational programs deserve great facilities. Last week, MSU celebrated the groundbreaking for the School of Packaging’s building expansion after a fundraising campaign that raised more than $10 million. This project, with a new endowed professorship, will help the school maintain its leadership in packaging education.
Also last week, the university broke ground for its Service Road recreation turf fields, which is our first construction project applying proceeds of the student recreational facility fee. This new facility, which will be ready in the fall, will serve more than 8,500 intramural sport participants, more than 550 club sport participants, plus youth camps, tournaments and other uses, supporting MSU’s priority of student health and well-being.
And on May 2, years of planning, construction and testing will be capped with the opening of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams on our campus. Through FRIB, MSU will build its position as a destination for scientists from around the world, a training ground for the next generation of researchers and a valuable asset for the region’s economy. I’m excited to see how FRIB contributes to new scientific discoveries as well as practical applications that improve people’s lives.
“April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and we are in the final stages of collecting responses to the Know More Campus Survey, which was emailed to campus community members on March 16. If you received the survey link and haven’t taken the survey, I strongly urge you to do so to assist those planning MSU’s programs of prevention and response.” 
MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.

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