September 2023 roundup

Research presentation: Art in the Boardroom 

Trustees received a presentation highlighting Arts MSU, the university’s arts initiative and the unifying presence for the arts on campus, from Vice Provost for University Arts and Collections Judith Stoddart. MSU is lauded for its transformative impact on higher education, but this moment marks the most substantial commitment the university has made to uplifting how the arts have transformed the university.  

Also, during the meeting, the board and administration shared a new plan that highlights remarkable works created by faculty and students on MSU’s campus. The plan will rotate presentations of art in the boardroom with the first honoring the legacy of former university president Clifton Wharton Jr., and his spouse, Dolores Wharton — two fierce advocates for the arts on campus and collectors of faculty works. 

Contact: Morgan Butts, University Arts and Collections: (517) 353-2440 or 


Dr. Mary Dee Sist DVM Scholarship Fund 

The board approved establishing the MaryDee Sist DVM Scholarship Fund. The $100,000 fund provides financial support for students in the College of Veterinary Medicine. 

MaryDee Sist received her doctorate from college in 1973. Sist was a member of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory’s endocrinology laboratory for 15 years and served as an independent consultant at the laboratory for two additional years. Sist also was a long-standing member of the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine community and earned both her B.S. and DVM at MSU. Serving the Greater Lansing community for more than 45 years, Sist was the owner and veterinarian at Animal Care Clinic in Williamston, Michigan since 1992. 

Contact: Eric Langdon, senior director of Development: 517-353-7891 or 


Board of Trustees bylaws 

The board approved changes to its bylaws, marking the first significant updates since January 2003. The revisions included updated officer positions and responsibilities; the inclusion of several current policies as new new bylaws provisions, with amendments for clarity (for example, updated titles for student liaisons to align with the current governance structure); and amending the selection process for the chair and vice chair. Starting Jan. 1, 2025, board members will select the chair and vice chair based on seniority, with each serving one-year terms. 

Contact: Dan Olsen, Senior Communications Manager, University Communications: (517) 355-3853 or


Restructuring of Board of Trustees policy manual, adoption of specified actions related to Board of Trustees policies and adoption of a standard template 

The board approved renumbering the current Board of Trustees policy manual and incorporated provisions from the Board of Trustees bylaws, last update dates back to February 1984. As detailed in this resolution, the board also authorized the chief of staff to update numbering and naming references for policies and make technical amendments to policy titles or substance. Additionally, the board approved the adoption of a standard policy template for use effective immediately in revising or developing Board of Trustees policies. The board directed the chief of staff to collaborate with university stakeholders to ensure prompt communication and implementation of the revised policy structure following the resolution’s passage. 

Contact: Dan Olsen, Senior Communications Manager, University Communications: (517) 355-3853 or  


Amendment to Ordinance 18.00 (Firearms or Weapons) 

The board approved an amendment to the university’s Firearms and Weapons Ordinance to ensure consistency and clarity in gun safety measures for all who are part of, or visiting, MSU campuses and property.  

The board’s amendment fortifies existing gun safety measures by allowing only certified law enforcement officers and those with an approved educational or research purpose to possess a firearm on university grounds. The ordinance revisions add an exception for individuals fully qualified to carry a concealed weapon, under Michigan law, while they are operating a motor vehicle on a road owned by the university, so long as they remain in their vehicle. 

Contact: Dan Olsen, Senior Communications Manager, University Communications: (517) 355-3853 or 


Faculty appointments with tenure 

  • Crystal VanKooten, Associate Professor, Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Cultures, effective Aug. 16.  
  • Chad Cotti, Chairperson and Professor, Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, effective Aug. 1.  
  • Kui Xie, Red Cedar Professor, Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education, effective July 1.  
  • Lucas Pozzo-Miller, Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Human Development, effective Dec. 1.  
  • Charles Hong, Chairperson and Professor, Department of Medicine, effective Sept. 8.  
  • Mary Davis-Ajami, Associate Dean and Professor, College of Nursing, effective Sept. 9, 2023.  
  • Kakan Dey, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, effective Jan. 1.  
  • Guanqun Cao, Associate Professor, Department of Statistics and Probability, effective Aug. 16.  

Administrative appointments 

  • Neil Romanosky, Librarian III and Dean, MSU Libraries, effective Sept. 11.  
  • Glenn Chambers Jr., Associate Dean, Honors College, for a change in title to Interim Dean, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, effective Aug. 7.  

The next Board of Trustees public meeting will be Oct. 27, 2023.