The Spartan Podcast


21516sp.jpg Hear the Conversation 29:02 – 13.2 mb mp3

by Kathleen Alexander

Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon joins Russ White for her regular conversation on all things MSU. She begins this summer update with her reflections on the tragedy in Orlando and the passing of legendary Spartan hockey coach and athletic director Ron Mason.

President Simon continues the talk by sharing how Michigan State University and its University Research Corridor partner universities support Detroit’s resurgence with hundreds of millions of dollars annually in research, education and outreach services.

“There are just a lot of projects, almost 400 projects that are underway, along with the sustaining elements of MSU Extension being there,” she says.

The URC, composed of MSU, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, added $958 million in economic activity into the city in 2015. That amounts to $1,400 per Detroit resident, according to the report prepared by Public Sector Consultants of Lansing. The report was released at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference on June 2nd.

“It’s a very impactful report, but one that I think will be a benchmark when we do it ten years from now to chronicle our role in the resurgence of Detroit, which is good for all of us,” she adds.

President Simon also talks about her interaction with futurist Brian David Johnson at the Mackinac Policy Conference, which includes Johnson’s comments on his bullish view of the liberal arts and the ability to at least understand coding. President Simon hopes to inspire Spartans to adapt their learning to the growing technology industry also calling coding the language of the future.

“I think universities, in their own way, are very actively engaged in creating tools, ideas, solutions, that can be used for the future, and help to shape that future,” she says.

President Simon updates listeners on MSU’s role, activity and longtime commitment in Flint while touching on the messages emphasized by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha during her appearance at the conference.

“Mona has been the person who is the face of moving on, and not seeing this as an engineering problem where we fix a pipe, but seeing it as an opportunity to fix a community,” she explains.

President Simon closes the conversation talking about the MSU/Detroit Center for Urban Food Systems, which will facilitate best practices for food and non-food plant production together with a variety of related community support activities. As well as, the thriving Semester in Detroit internship program for MSU students.

“We’re always trying to think about ways that we can be better tomorrow than we are today,” she concludes.

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