Advance Notice: Briefs

Whitmer appoints Sandy Pierce to fill seat on troubled MSU Board of Trustees

By: - January 3, 2023 3:36 pm

Michigan State University | Susan J. Demas

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed Sandy Pierce to the Michigan State University Board of Trustees last month after a tumultuous few years of controversies among the university’s board and top leaders. 

Whitmer said she chose Pierce to succeed Republican Pat O’Keefe, who resigned in November, because Pierce “leads with her values and has decades of experience to back it up.”

Pierce, who is the senior executive vice president of Huntington National Bank, previously chaired the Henry Ford Health System board and was appointed by Republican former Gov. Rick Snyder in 2016 to the Building the 21st Century Economy Commission.

“The students, staff, faculty and alumni of Michigan State University deserve leadership who will put them first and do the right thing no matter what,” said Whitmer.  

Pierce is joining the Board after a number of high-level MSU leaders have either recently stepped down or were pushed out. O’Keefe left the board in November over how the university lacked transparency around sexual abuse and the mishandling the of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

The university has had three interim presidents since 2018, when President Lou Anna Simon resigned during the sentencing for Nassar, a former MSU sports doctor who sexually abused hundreds of female athletes. The university also forced former Broad College of Business Dean Sanjay Gupta to resign last year after failing to report an instance of sexual misconduct. 

Pierce’s term expires Jan. 1, 2029. 

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to serve the students, staff and alumni at MSU and am eager to work with my partners on the Board of Trustees,” said Pierce. “I’ve dedicated my career to economic development in the state of Michigan and its world class institutions. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to continue to help advance the school’s mission and provide relevant guidance on its strategic goals and objectives. Access to a good education is the bedrock of our success and is a part of securing the future for this great state.”


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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered 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.