MSU board approves naming of Lyman Briggs College

Contact: Elizabeth Simmons, Lyman Briggs, (517) 353-6486,; or Tom Oswald, University Relations, (517) 432-0920,

Jun 15, 2007

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University’s Lyman Briggs School of Science is now the Lyman Briggs College.

With the name change, approved by the MSU Board of Trustees at today's meeting, Lyman Briggs becomes MSU’s 17th college.

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, Lyman Briggs is a residential, undergraduate academic unit devoted to studying natural sciences in their historical, philosophical, literary and social contexts. The entire unit, including student residences, teaching laboratories and faculty offices, is housed in Holmes Hall.

“Given the renewed university emphasis on residential academic communities, including the recent founding of a new Residential College in Arts and Humanities, we felt it was time to restore Lyman Briggs to college status,” said Lyman Briggs Dean Elizabeth Simmons. “This is an exciting time for Lyman Briggs. We appreciate the support of the provost, the Lyman Briggs alumni and the entire MSU academic community.”

Founded as a college in 1967, Lyman Briggs’ status was changed to that of school in 1981 due to university-wide financial pressures. At that time it also became a unit within MSU’s College of Natural Science.

“Restoring Lyman Briggs to college status allows the university to advance residential colleges in the natural sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities and establishes a more uniform administrative structure and process across the three colleges,” said MSU Provost Kim Wilcox. “It also advances the strategic imperatives of Boldness by Design, particularly those related to the student experience, diversity and stewardship.”

Simmons said one of the major advantages of re-attaining college status will be an increase in opportunities to work more closely with other MSU colleges.

“As a college, Lyman Briggs will be better able to partner with its peers in recruiting talented students from across the country, in fostering more interdisciplinary curricula and programs and in supporting faculty professional development,” she said.

Since 2004, Lyman Briggs has been increasing its enrollment, which now stands at approximately 1,750, to offer more students the opportunity to benefit from its writing-intensive interactive curriculum, inquiry-based labs and individualized faculty mentoring.

“As part of our expansion, the university has helped Lyman Briggs renovate and extend its teaching laboratories and add office space,” Simmons said. “Generous grants from the Gerstacker and Strosacker foundations helped fund $1.75 million of the biology and chemistry lab renovation costs.”

Since its founding, Lyman Briggs has graduated a Marshall Scholar, a Truman Scholar, five Goldwater Scholars, two Udall Scholars, one Phi Kappa Phi and a recipient of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security scholarship.

MSU’s other residential colleges are:

  • The new Residential College in Arts and Humanities which will combine interdisciplinary study, personalized attention and multiple learning opportunities. Students will create their own individualized programs that include literature, history, ethics, the visual and performing arts and the study of languages and cultures. The college will open its doors this fall.
  • James Madison College, an undergraduate liberal arts college of public affairs, was established in 1967. Since then, the college has graduated five Rhodes Scholars, eight Truman Scholars, four Marshall Scholars, seven Fulbright Scholars and four National Science Foundation Fellows. It enrolls approximately 1,000 students.

For additional information on Lyman Briggs College, visit the Web at