Michigan State University’s board of trustees unanimously voted to name Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. the 21st president of MSU during a special meeting on Tuesday morning. His term begins Aug. 1.
Stanley has been president of Stony Brook University in New York since 2009.
The appointment comes after more than a year of instability in the university’s presidency. In January 2018, Lou Anna Simon resigned after serving 13 years as MSU’s president. Her departure came hours after Larry Nassar, a former MSU sports doctor, was sentenced to a 40- to 175-year prison term for sexual abuse. Simon is charged with two felony and two misdemeanor counts. She is accused of lying to investigators about when she knew of Nassar’s sex crimes. Her preliminary hearing started in February and will continue in June.
Former Michigan Gov. John Engler then served as interim president of MSU. In January, his tumultuous term as the school’s interim president came to an end following heavy backlash to comments he made to the Detroit News regarding survivors of Nassar’s abuse.
Stanley earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences at the University of Chicago and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1980.
Stanley subsequently spent many years researching infectious diseases. According to Stony Brook University:
A highly distinguished biomedical researcher, Dr. Stanley was one of the nation’s highest recipients of support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his research focusing on enhanced defense against emerging infectious diseases. He is an expert in the biological mechanisms that cells employ when responding to infectious agents such as parasites, bacteria and viruses — a process commonly called the inflammatory response.
Prior to joining Stony Brook University as president, Stanley was vice chancellor for research at Washington University.
Stanley is married to Ellen Li, a biomedical researcher and gastroenterologist. They have four children.
MSU’s Executive Vice President for Administration Satish Udpa has been serving as MSU’s acting president.
Stanley will be MSU’s 21st president.