Dear Melville:
In 1993, a man and his wife moved into the Alice B. Cowles House. Eleven years later, the longest serving president since John Hannah is leaving behind an extraordinary legacy.
As I’m sure you’re aware, you are MSU’s 19th president. Here is a list of your top eleven contributions to MSU:
One (English). First and foremost, you are known around the globe for your expansion of the study abroad and international program. Learning and experiencing other languages and cultures is an opportunity you did not emphasize lightly during your administration. Therefore, the rest of his accomplishments will be introduced using languages from around the world, many of which students have been able to hear and speak thanks to the study abroad program.
Dos (Spanish). You desired to promote the undergraduate program in such a way that he personally joined the faculty in teaching a freshmen seminar course on foreign policy, your specialty.
Drie (Swiss). Beyond just classroom education, you recognized the importance of MSU’s unique Living-and-Learning programs by increasing the number of students in each program and expanding the number of programs offered, such as the new Nelson Mendela living program starting in the fall of 2006.
Quattro (Italian). For the nationally celebrated science programs at the university, you persuaded the National Science Foundation to continue its funding for MSU’s world-renown cyclotron, a part of the reconfiguration process of our National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.
Wŭ (Chinese). You understood the financial burden on those students attending law school after receiving an undergraduate degree at MSU. You, with the combined efforts of the Detroit College of Law, formed the JD/MBA which allows students to receive a law degree in less than traditional program timing.
Sechs (German). The Honors College was expanded from just about 1000 students to now more than 2500 students because of your efforts to attract more and better-qualified students each academic school year.
Sept (French). You are responsible for the construction and renovation of over ten buildings on campus. These include Beaumont Tower, the Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building, the Koo International Academic Center and the Smith Student-Athlete Academic Support Center.
Pal (Korean). Along with East Lansing officials, residents, MSU administrators and students, you established the Alcohol Action Team in 1998 to explore solutions for the problem of excessive drinking on and around campus. Since the beginning of the program, excessive drinking rates have dropped dramatically. Studies show a steady increase in the number of students practicing abstinence toward alcohol, about a 1% increase each year.
Kenda (Swahili). Initiated in late 1994, you have created (and subsequently extended three times) the MSU Tuition Guarantee. This promises incoming students a rise of tuition no greater than the projected rate of inflation during the four years each student is in attendance here, provided that the state continues to provide inflation-adjusted funding to MSU.
Mâhtohto (Cheyenne). You led a committee in establishing MSU’s 2020 Vision Plan. Already in effect, this physical make-over of campus will not only utilize MSU’s campus space more effectively, but will also provide a better and well-equipped environment for academic and personal growth for each student at State.
Labing-isa (Tagalog). Ultimately, it was due to your arrival that MSU, as we know it today, finally updated its core values from those since the institution was first established. (MSU was originally founded as the Michigan Agricultural College, hence the mysterious M.A.C. Avenue off of Grand River Avenue). The new “Guiding Principles” are a combination of six goals MSU has strove for under McPherson and will continue to strive for after his departure.
As MSU’s current provost, Lou Anna K. Simon, moves into the Cowles House and assumes the position of university president, it is difficult to ignore the impact you have had on MSU during your presidency. You have single-handedly changed and established more programs on and around campus than any other president before you. Yet your presidency was not without controversy. Your ties to the Bush Administration as a friend of Vice Presicent Cheney, time spent in Iraq and reluctance to join the Workers Rights Consortium have left some students dissatisfied with you and are ready for a change of pace. However, no matter anyone’s opinion of you, your accomplishments cannot be doubted. Bon voyage!

Terribly A. Preciative

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