Celebrating Spartans: MSU President Reflects on Global Impact Initiative

EAST LANSING, MI (WLNS) – There is no better advocate for the Global Impact Initiative than Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon.

With the backing of the MSU Board of Trustee’s this newly launched program will grow the university’s ability to perform cutting-edge research that will impact the world’s toughest problems.

On Monday Sheri Jones sat down with President Simon and talked to her about Michigan State’s worldwide impact and how it furthers the university’s land grant philosophy.

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon: “I mean if you think about Michigan State’s land grant heritage, its international foot print, that we anticipate tomorrow’s problems, tomorrow’s challenge and in order to do that we have to hire faculty today. And the Global Challenge Initiative was really designed to use the best thinking of our faculty. Nine plus proposals, sort those against what we know nationally and internationally are going to be the hot topic for the next 20 years. And then build a faculty compliment so that Michigan, Michigan State has those assets.”

Sheri Jones: “It’s interesting that we talk about our land grant base, our agricultural base and using that to partner with medicine, with molecular technology, that’s what I think is very exciting.”

President Simon: “Well it’s, when you get down to the level of a gene, where sort of, the manipulation of genes is the same for people, animals and plants and we always thought about one medicine, one health, as a strong part for Michigan State for the land grant spirit again.”

Sheri Jones: “And that’s why all this month we’re Celebrating Spartans. We’re going to look at the success stories. We always talk about athletics, but this is a nice opportunity for us to focus on research and what people have created and done and affected our world.”

President Simon: “It’s true and if you, there’s lots of things, the work that Steve Esquith has been doing in Mali on reconciliation, very small, few people, has a potential to make an enormous impact in that country. The work that we’re doing in Detroit, around food, food desserts, Mike Ham, not on your list. So the list goes on and on for people who are going to be watching your program, but part of it is trusting that the university worries about these things. And is worried about not just today and solving a budget problem, but how to make Michigan State stronger for the future so that for their grandchildren or their great grandchildren when these issues arise, Michigan State’s going to be right there.”

Sheri Jones: “Well thank you President Simon, it’s quite a legacy and we really appreciate your time with us today.”

President Simon: “It’s a great team, MSU, it just happens to have a football and a basketball team. We also have chemists and plant biologists and computer scientists and physicists and people who understand the literature and the history and the context of the world to help people make wiser decisions. And enrich themselves with Wharton Center and the arts and all those things, it’s all part of team MSU.”

Sheri Jones: “That’s right, that’s why we say Celebrating Spartans.”

President Simon: “Celebrating Spartans, Spartans Will, a winning team.”

Part 2 –

For the month of February 6 News is airing stories that celebrate Spartans.

Earlier Monday Sheri Jones had the opportunity to speak with Michigan State University president Lou Anna K. Simon to chat about how her school is making contributions on a global scale.

President Simon: “This ability to transfer knowledge not bound by geography, we learn something over here, we can move it anywhere in the world as rapidly as possible. That’s part of that connection we call a land grant value.”

Sheri Jones: ”Very progressive”

President Simon: “It‘s sort of what we were founded to do in the first place. It was to bring cutting edge knowledge in context to grow prosperity to deal with economic development, and quality of life. What we do now and this global initiative is a way of saying we need to keep leaning forward and looking around the curve. We have great people and an arch for their work and that’s what the global initiative does.”

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