The board of trustees for East Lansing’s Michigan State University today selected Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. as president. He will officially begin his term as the school’s 21st president on Aug. 1.
“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,” says Dianne Byrum, chairwoman of the board.
Stanley has been president of Stony Brook University in New York since 2009 and has nearly 15 years of higher education leadership experience. He earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed his resident-physician training at Massachusetts General Hospital. He then went to Washington University in Missouri 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 National Institutes of Health funding. He was vice chancellor for research at Washington University from 2006 until being appointed president at Stony Brook.
“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,” says Stanley. “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.”
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 U.S. government on issues related to the communication, dissemination, and performance of sensitive biological research.
“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,” says Melanie Foster, trustee. “We set out to find a proven leader with the energy, integrity, and compassion needed to lead our university, and we found one.”
Stanley championed student achievement, access to higher education, and advocating for more state and national funding for financial aid at Stony Brook. He has also 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 trustees appointed an 18-member search committee last August co-chaired by Byrum and Foster. As part of a national search, the committee solicited input through 22 campus-wide sessions and an online submission form, through which community members shared desired characteristics for the next president. The committee used the comments as the basis for the Presidential Prospectus and criteria by which the committee evaluated each candidate.