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MSU Board of Trustees unanimously approve Samuel L. Stanley Jr. as president of university

May 28, 2019
MSU president designee Samuel L. Stanley Jr. enters the boardroom during the MSU Board of Trustees meeting at the Hannah Administration Building on May 28, 2019.
MSU president designee Samuel L. Stanley Jr. enters the boardroom during the MSU Board of Trustees meeting at the Hannah Administration Building on May 28, 2019. —
Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

The Michigan State Board of Trustees unanimously voted to approve Samuel L. Stanley Jr. — Stony Brook University president for almost 10 years — as MSU’s next president at a special board meeting this morning. Stanley will officially begin his term as president on August 1, 2019.

“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,” Dianne Byrum, chair of the Board of Trustees and co-chair of the presidential search committee, said in a university press release.

The presidential search committee held more than 22 campus input sessions to receive the university community’s input on the desired qualities and characteristics of MSU’s next president, compiled notes from these sessions to evaluate candidates and conducted interviews with candidates leading up to the presidential announcement.

It was decided in the fall of 2018 that the presidential search would be closed to the public in order to “draw the strongest pool of candidates.”

Several members of the university community — including Reclaim MSU, survivors of Larry Nassar's sexual abuse and the James Madison College Student Senate — expressed concern with the search being closed.

Byrum said the search committee tried to make the process as transparent as possible.

MSU sent out its final public update on the presidential search Feb. 7. In this update, Trustees Byrum and Melanie Foster said the committee had assembled a diverse pool of candidates for consideration.

Stanley has had around 15 years of higher education leadership experience. He was vice chancellor for research at Washington University and president of Stony Brook University.

He has a medical degree from Harvard Medical School, completed his resident-physician training at Massachusetts General Hospital, did a fellowship in infectious diseases and was a professor in the Departments of Medicine and Molecular Microbiology at Washington University and is one of the nation’s highest recipients of NIH funding, the press release said.

At Stony Brook University, Stanley advocated for more funding for financial aid. He has also been an advocate for gender equality and for sexual assault survivors. He is one of the U.S. university Impact Champions for UN Women’s HeForShe initiative.  

“Universities are a key venue for discussing, instilling, and ensuring gender equality,” Stanley said in a HuffPost article he wrote in 2016. “Our goals at Stony Brook include redressing gender imbalances from matriculation to graduation; using the University’s Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities to build global understanding of the role for men in achieving gender equality; and, integrating gender equality into the academic and social experience.”

Stanley also spoke at the UN Women’s HeforShe Summit in 2017.

“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,” Foster said in the press release. “We set out to find a proven leader with the energy, integrity and compassion needed to lead our university and we found it.”

Stanley is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public Land Grant Universities. He completed terms on the NCAA Board of Directors and NCAA Board of Governors and served as chair of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity — which advises the government on issues related to sensitive biological research — for seven years.

Stanley said he is grateful for the opportunity to be MSU’s next president.

“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,” Stanely said in the release. “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.”

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