Michigan State University will finally have a new president after an 18-member search committee proposed the name of biomedical researcher Samuel L. Stanley Jr.
The Board of Trustees unanimously approved Stanley’s appointment on Tuesday at a special meeting, bringing a nearly one-year search process for the university’s 21st president to a close.
Stanley, a Harvard alumnus and a professor in the Departments of Medicine and Molecular Microbiology at Washington University in St. Louis, has been serving as the president of Stony Brook University since 2009.
“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,” Dianne Byrum, chairwoman of the MSU Board of Trustees, said.
Last January, the president post at MSU fell vacant after former president Lou Anna Simon tendered her resignation over Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse scandal that rattled the nation. Nassar was sentenced to 40-175 years in prison over three-child pornography and 10 sexual assault charges.
The university paid $500 million to settle the lawsuit with 332 victims of sexual abuse. Out of the $500 million, the university payed $425 million to the Qualified Survivor Fund and set aside the remaining $75 million in a litigation fund.
In November, a court issued a warrant against Simon, charging her with two misdemeanor and two felony counts of lying to police over the way the school handled the complaint against the disgraced physician, and for concealing information regarding the investigation launched against Nassar in 2014. Simon told the police she didn’t know that the physician under investigation was Nassar.
Moving ahead, Stanley will be tasked with improving declining enrollment numbers at the university, which fell by 3,000 in the fall of 2018 as a result of poor media coverage linked to the Nassar scandal.
An enrollment report released by the university in October revealed that the number of new applications fell by 3.6 percent in 2017 and by 8.3 percent in 2018. Before 2017, the university had seen a steady increase in new enrollments over a period of seven years.
“I know the Spartan community has been profoundly troubled by the events of the past years that have shaken confidence in the institution,” Stanley said. “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.”