MSU board appoints Provost Teresa Woodruff as interim president

By: - October 31, 2022 12:10 pm

Michigan State University | Susan J. Demas

The Michigan State University Board of Trustees unanimously voted Monday to appoint Provost Teresa Woodruff as the university’s interim president after President Samuel Stanley announced his resignation earlier this month. 

Board of Trustees Chair Dianne Byrum said the board met with a variety of stakeholders and groups during their process to find an interim president.

“One name emerged overwhelmingly: Teresa Woodruff,” Byrum said. “This name emerged from both students, faculty, labor leaders and staff, community stakeholders, such as alumni, donors and agriculture groups.”

Interim MSU President Teresa Woodruff | MSU photo

In addition to serving as provost, Woodruff is an MSU Foundation Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, and the Department of Biomedical Engineering. In 2011, Woodruff was recognized by former President Barack Obama in an oval office ceremony and was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring.

In September, Woodruff ousted Sanjay Gupta, the dean of the Broad College of Business, over concerns of Gupta’s adherence to the University’s Title IX mandatory reporting policy. Stanley supported Woodruff’s decision. 

Stanley’s Oct. 13 announcement he would resign followed votes of no confidence in the university’s Board of Trustees from MSU’s Faculty Senate and the Associated Students of Michigan State University.

“I, like the Michigan State University Faculty Senate, and associated students at Michigan State University have lost confidence in the action of the current Board of Trustees, and I cannot in good conscience continue to serve this board as constituted,” Stanley said last month. 

In early September, it was reported members of the board had given Stanley the option to resign, or be fired.

Stanley was tapped to lead MSU in May 2019 after the the university was embroiled in controversy over their handling of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. Nassar is in prison after hundreds of girls and women came forward accusing him of sexual abuse during his time with MSU.

“While this is a heavy moment for our institution, I’m convinced and confident that together we will persevere and continue to not only uphold, but to advance, our shared mission,” Woodruff said. “We are in a series of abrupt and difficult transitions and I want to thank President Stanley for all he has accomplished on behalf of MSU during this unprecedented time of challenge.”

Byrum said the board will conduct a “competitive, robust” search for MSU’s next permanent president in “the very near term.” 

While details are currently limited, Byrum said the board will share the search process with the community and Woodruff is eligible to be considered to take on the role permanently. 

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.