Ex-GVSU president, WMU grads to help MSU find president


EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — A former president of Grand Valley State University will help Michigan State University find its next president.

Mark Murray, who is also the former president of Meijer, is one of 19 people selected to be part of MSU’s presidential search committee, the board announced Wednesday.

>>App users: Watch the committee announcement here.

Several graduates from Western Michigan University are also part of the 19-person panel, which includes 10 men, 9 women and five people of color. The committee is comprised of alumni, students, faculty and trustees.

  • Dianne Byrum – Trustee
  • Melanie Foster – Trustee
  • Dan Kelley – Trustee, WMU alumnus
  • Joel Ferguson – Trustee
  • Debra Bittner – President of the Clerical-Technical Union of MSU
  • Pero Gaglo Dagbovie –  Professor of history and associate dean of the graduate school
  • Prabu David – Dean of MSU’s  College of Communications Arts and Sciences
  • Mary Finn – Professor and director of MSU’s School of Criminal Justice
  • Thomas Glasmacher – Distinguished professor of the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Linda Hubbard – President, CEO of Carhartt, Inc., MSU alumna
  • Tomas Hult – Professor and director of the International Business Center in MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business
  • Leo Kempel – Dean of College of Engineering
  • Dr. Bonnie Knutzen – Professor of MSU’s School of Hospitality Business, MSU alumna
  • Dr. Wanda Lipscomb – Senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion at MSU
  • Mark Murray – Worked for MSU government, MSU alumni, former GVSU president, former president of Meijer, current Meijer board member
  • David L. Porteous – Laywer, former MSU board member, alumnus
  • Katherine Rifiotis – Associated Students of Michigan State University president, undergraduate student
  • Gregory Spray – licensed speech language pathologist, MSU graduate student, WMU graduate
  • Dr. Felicia Wu –  Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition

“It’s the collective goal of everyone here… We want to find the best leader we can for Michigan State University,” said Trustee Melanie Foster.

Ferguson’s name on the announcement raised some eyebrows. He didn’t attend Wednesday’s news conference, but his previous comment about there being “more things going at the university than just this (Larry) Nassar thing,” added to the outrage over how MSU has handled the sex abuse scandal involving its former sports doctor.

“Trustee Ferguson will not be the spokesperson for the search committee, so I’m hoping that his comments will be either none or at a minimum,” Trustee Dianne Byrum clarified.

Foster and Byrum said they weren’t approached by any Nassar survivors interested in becoming a member of the search committee. However, they said the impact of the scandal will play a vital role in how they move forward.

“We believe every member of the committee is sensitive to the voices of the survivors and that we all embrace the necessary change that is occurring today and will continue into the future here at Michigan State University,” said Byrum.

Foster said the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Office will hold training sessions with all committee members to raise awareness of campus issues and their significance in the search process.

Foster said MSU has tapped former University of Virginia President Dr. Teresa Sullivan as a consultant in the search. She’s being paid $1,000 a day for an 8-hour day, according to the trustees.

MSU is still looking for a company to help in its search. Foster said a national search firm will typically charge one-third of the first year’s salary for a president.

“It’s an investment in the future. We need to have a successful search. If you do not have a successful search I would submit that that is probably more costly than paying the money up front and having a search firm,” added Byrum.

MSU plans to continue listening sessions through October to gather feedback about what the community wants in a president.

Sullivan plans to hold some of the listening sessions and has already scheduled four campus visits, according to Foster.

Trustees hope to appoint a new president by June 2019.  That person will take over for former Michigan Governor John Engler, who has served as interim president since Lou Anna Simon stepped down in the wake of the Nassar sex assault scandal.  

Engler’s appointment generated ire among Nassar survivorsas well as students and faculty who asked to be part of the selection process, and 

Byrum and trustee Brian Mosallam asked for Engler to step down after he allegedly accused the first woman to step forward in the Nassar case, Kalamazoo native Rachel Denhollander, of taking “kickbacks” from attorneys, and offered another Nassar survivor a settlement without her attorney present.

Engler apologized to Denhollander, but refused to resign.

“There’s very few people that want to be held accountable and I think part of what I’m trying to do is say, ‘Look, you’ve got to be committed. Here, let’s roll up our sleeves and get this problem fixed.’ Talk is cheap, actions matter,” he told 24 Hour News 8’s Lynsey Mukomel in a one-on-one interview.

In June, Mosallam tried to allow a vote to fire Engler, but the board voted 6-2 against taking up the issue.



MSU Presidential Search

— 24 Hour News 8 reporter Lynsey Mukomel contributed to this story.

***CORRECTION: An earlier version if this story stated Mark Murray is president of Meijer, when he is the former president. We regret this error, which has since been corrected.***

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