Trustees select Simon as MSU's 20th president

Contact: Terry Denbow, University Relations, (517) 355-2262,

Jun 08, 2004

Lou Anna K. SimonEAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State University Board of Trustees today unanimously appointed Provost Lou Anna K. Simon as the university's 20th president. Simon will begin a three-year contract on Jan. 1, 2005.

Also, effective immediately, Simon will assume the title of president designate, and will retain her title of provost in order to facilitate a smooth transition during the remainder of President Peter McPherson's presidency.

McPherson announced in May that he would step down Jan. 1 after 11 years at MSU's helm.

Simon currently serves as MSU provost and vice president for academic affairs.At the time of her appointment as provost in 1993, she was among the youngest to hold such a position in the Association of American Universities (AAU) and is one of only 12 women holding the position of chief academic officer among the 62 leading research institutions that compose the organization.

Simon and McPherson, who served in their respective roles for 11 years, are the longest-serving president-provost team in the Big Ten.

"Dr. Simon is the right person for this milestone in the history of our wonderful university," said David Porteous, chairperson of the MSU Board of Trustees. "She has the caliber; she has the vision and the qualities that will guide Michigan State."

In addition to serving as provost, Simon has a distinguished history with MSU. After earning her doctorate in administration and higher education from MSU in 1974, she became a member of the MSU faculty and assistant director of the Office of Institutional Research (now the Office of Planning and Budgets). From there, she moved into a variety of administrative roles, including assistant provost for general academic administration during the '80s and associate provost in the early '90s. She also serves as provost of the MSU College of Law.

"As we move forward from today, you have our collective pledge that we will do all that we can for MSU so that three years from now, as we look back on this decision, we know that this was the right decision for Michigan State," said Simon.

"I accept this new role with great confidence and enthusiasm for the tasks ahead."

Since 1999, Simon has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), an academic consortium of 12 major teaching and research universities in the Midwest, including the 11 institutions that compose the Big Ten, along with the University of Chicago. She was elected chairperson of the CIC in 2000, a position she currently holds.

"This is an important point in our history, a time of transition and change, both intellectually and fiscally," she said. "It is also a time of unusual opportunity and possibility. I am honored by the confidence that the board has placed in me and I will work tirelessly and passionately to keep MSU on the path of excellence."

Simon has taught graduate seminars in the College of Education on evaluation, planning and budgeting. She is a committed advocate and participant in the Academic Governance of the institution that provides for major, fundamental faculty and student participation in deliberations of departments, schools, colleges, and at the all-university level.

With her extensive administrative experience, active involvement in development activities, and her leadership and participation in a variety of innovative initiatives across the mission, Simon has been responsible for the full range of academic and academic support programs at MSU. She is regarded nationally as a powerful advocate of a research-active, student-centered university that is an engaged partner with society, in the land-grant tradition.

Her publications, in texts such as "Serving Children and Families through Community-University Partnerships" and "Universities and Communities: Remaking Professional and Interprofessional Education for the Next Century," demonstrate Simon's continuing commitment to the promotion of university outreach ventures, especially those related to serving youth and families.

Most recently, she co-edited with Maureen Kenny, Karen Kiley-Brabeck and Richard Lerner the book "Learning to Serve: Promoting Civil Society Through Service Learning," published in 2002 by Kluwer Academic Publishers.

In addition to earning a doctorate degree from MSU, Simon also holds a master's degree in student personnel and counseling, and a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics, both from Indiana State University.

McPherson said he was pleased the board had chosen a "confident, experienced person who can do the job."

"There is great momentum here," he said. "So many people on this campus have worked hard to achieve so many things. With Lou Anna Simon as the next president, we can ensure that this momentum not only continues, but grows."

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