For the first time in 34 years, the MSU Board of Trustees has gone beyond the banks of the Red Cedar to select a new president.
The last two Michigan State University presidents were Spartans and did not work out very well.
Dr. Lou Anna Simon is facing criminal charges in the Larry Nassar case and interim president John Engler was forced to resign.
The campus community told the MSU board to find a non-Spartan this time and the board did.
Board chair Dianne Byrum made the announcement, “let me introduce to you the 21st president of Michigan State University, Dr. Samuel L. Stanley, Jr.”
A medical doctor, Stanely moves to East Lansing after a ten-year stint as head of Stony Brook University on Long Island.
Two of the last nine presidents where in-house candidates.
Former Michigan governor and MSU grad Jim Blanchard says it was time for a fresh set of eyes. “I think we’ve probably been too inbred here in the leadership.”
The “elephant in the room” continues to be Larry Nassar, convicted of sexually abusing hundreds of female victims.
After the board voted eight-to-noting to hire the new outsider, he hit the Nassar issue head on.
“It was a terrible tragedy,” said Stanley. “As a physician, it was a gross and inexcusable betrayal of trust.”
He pledged to meet with the survivors to hear their stories and to learn from their experience.
But he advised everyone, “I don’t have the ability to change the culture by myself. It requires all of us working together.”
Over the years the board has played politics and created great controversies.
But the new president demonstrates some political acumen as he shakes his head while refusing to answer this reporter’s question.
Skubick: “Where are you on the political spectrum: Trump Republican, liberal Democrat?”
Stanley: “I think when I’m president I’ll represent all of the constituencies at MSU. I’ve worked with Republicans and Democrats and I’ve stayed away, maybe that’s why I lasted ten years, from making political statements.”
He moves onto the MSU campus August 1 and a top priority is to begin meeting with Nassar survivors.