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Michigan State selects UNC chancellor as next president

Michigan State selects UNC chancellor as next president

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State named the chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as its next president Friday morning, ending a search that began in October 2022 after the previous president quit amid tension with the school’s governing board.

Kevin Guskiewicz, who has served as chancellor at UNC-Chapel Hill for the past four years, was approved by the board of trustees in a unanimous vote Friday morning. He will become Michigan State’s 22nd president and the fifth person to lead the university since former president Anna Lou Simon resigned in 2018 in the wake of Larry Nassar’s sexual assault of athletes, including at the university.

The university has remained embroiled in controversy since then. A Michigan State hearing officer determined in October that former football coach Mel Tucker, who was fired in September, sexually harassed and exploited rape survivor and activist Brenda Tracy.

Women who were assaulted by Nassar sued the university in July, accusing school officials of making “secret decisions” in refusing to release more than 6,000 documents from an investigation into how he was allowed to get away with his behavior.

Divisions within the board of trustees, which contributed to President Samuel Stanley Jr.’s resignation last October after less than three years in the position, have not improved. An effort to oust board chair Rema Vassar failed in October after another trustee accused her, among other things, of bullying colleagues.

Guskiewicz was a 28-year member of the UNC-Chapel Hill community who first joined as faculty and later served as dean of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences. A neuroscientist and concussion researcher, he was named the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Exercise and Sport Science at the university in 2009.

“I am aware that Michigan State University has faced more than its share of challenges in recent years,” Guskiewicz told the board Friday after the vote. “Yet I see a strong university with an inspiring historical foundation that can reach new levels of excellence through its powerful commitment to student success, knowledge discovery and land-grant service. I commit to working alongside all of you to identify what I like to call a true north.”

Guskiewicz will take over for interim president Teresa Woodruff on March 4.

Michigan State men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo was on the search committee. He said Guskiewicz is a “tremendous choice” with a “shared goal of making our university the best in the world.”

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