Video: The President Who'll Lead MSU's Post-Crisis Recovery Introduces Himself

May 28, 2019, 6:13 PM

Update: The university posts this meet-the-new-guy video featuring Samuel Stanley Jr., a New York City area campus president who starts Aug. 1 as Michigan State's first non-interim leader since January 2018.

Original article, Tuesday morning:

Michigan State University begins a significant turn on its road to recovery from the Larry Nassar era, a shaky 16-month journey so far.

The board of trustees this morning welcomed Samuel Stanley Jr., a Harvard-educated doctor, as their choice for MSU's 21st president. 

“Dr. Stanley is an empowering, compassionate and thoughtful leader," said trustee Dianne Byrum, adding that he'll "work tirelessly alongside our students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and broader Spartan community to meet the challenges we face."

Samuel Stanley Jr. was a biomedical researcher before becoming a higher education administrator. (Photo: Stony Brook University)

His name had been an unleaked secret until Detroit News coverage late Monday night by Kim Kozlowski and Charles E. Ramirez, who write:

Stanley, a Seattle native, has been running Stony Brook University on suburban Long Island [New York] for the past decade, where he has helped run a national laboratory and increase the number of faculty. . . .

During his tenure at Stonybrook, Stanley led its largest annual fundraising haul in its history, according to the school's website. He championed the hiring of more professors, increasing the faculty by 240 positions over five years.

Prabu David, dean of communications and a search committee member, salutes the newcomer on Twitter as "an authentic leader who can heal the past, confront the present and shape the future."

The university Stanley joins Aug. 1 has nearly twice as many students (50,300) as the one he's leaving (26,200).  

Stanley, who attended the East Lansing campus announcement, is the first permanent leader since Lou Anna Simon resigned in disgrace in January 2018. Her interim successor, ex-Gov. John Engler, quit 51 weeks later amid a backlash over his comments about Nassar's sexual assault survivors. (Professor Satish Udpa, executive vice president for administration, has been acting president.)

The appointment gives MSU "a chance to be closer to the end" of its leadership crisis and serious image setback, Metro Detroit communications adviser Matt Friedman tells the Detroit Free Press.

The president's office is on the top floor of Hannah Administration Building. (Photo: MSU)

Student leaders call for a decisive break from the recent past. "Our campus is transitioning from a turbulent few years and will require bold and empathetic leadership," the undergraduate government association says in a statement.

Two students were on a search committee made up of 10 women and eight men, all of who signed a two-page confidentiality pledge. A national firm, Storbeck/Pimentel Associates, suggested and screened potential candidates.

The university's eight publicly elected trustees will vote at a 10 a.m. opening meeting to confirm Stanley's choice formally.

An unknown number of finalists were interviewed this month, according to a timeline.

Search committee co-chairs Byrum and Melanie Foster acknowledge the critical transition about to begin. "We all share the same high hopes for this institution, and finding the right leader to move us forward is paramount," they post. "This is a pivotal time for Michigan State University."

-- Alan Stamm

Related coverage today:

It's Time for 'Bold and Empathetic Leadership,' MSU Students Tell Incoming President

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Potd_img_7763_626 Grounded on Lincoln Street on Detroit's west side.

By: Allan Lengel