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Search committee members

The presidential search committee represents the full spectrum of our Spartan family, from faculty and staff to students and alums to university and community leaders. This group was selected following inclusive conversations with university community members in which we sought representation from a wide and diverse group of stakeholders. In total, there are 29 committee members, each of whom brings a unique background and experiences.


The search committee will play a vital role in determining the attributes desired for the next MSU president and will draw on community feedback to help shape the presidential prospectus and position description. The committee also will screen and interview applicants and then recommend its top candidates to the board. Final authority to elect a president of the university rests with the Board of Trustees.


Committee chair and vice chair


Dennis Denno, MSU trustee and committee chair


Brianna Scott, MSU trustee and committee vice chair


Committee members


  • Kate Birdsall, associate professor and director of the Cube in the College of Arts and Letters, president of the Union of Non-Tenure Track Faculty
  • Sid Bogan, chief of security and safety, Detroit Water and Sewerage Department
  • Kendra Cheruvelil, dean and professor, Lyman Briggs College, and co-director of the Data-Intensive Landscape Limnology Laboratory
  • Jim Cotter, MSU alum and former executive director of admissions and recruitment emeritus
  • Joe Cramer, Executive Director, Michigan Bean Commission, and MSU alum
  • Dennis Denno, MSU trustee
  • Lupe Dominguez, office assistant, College of Music, and executive board member, Chicano/Latino Faculty, Staff, Specialist and Graduate Student Association
  • Luis Alonzo Garcia, director and principal investigator of Migrant Student Services and senior specialist
  • Emily Hoyumpa, president, Associated Students of Michigan State University
  • Tom Izzo, men’s basketball head coach
  • Jerlando Jackson, dean and MSU Foundation Professor of Education, College of Education
  • Hannah Jeffery, president, Council of Graduate Students
  • Dan Kelly, MSU trustee
  • Karen Kelly-Blake, chairperson of the Faculty Senate and University Steering Committee, associate professor, College of Human Medicine, and associate director of academic programming, Center for Bioethics and Social Justice
  • Leo Kempel, dean and Dennis P. Nyquist Endowed Professor of Electromagnetics, College of Engineering
  • Renee Knake Jefferson, MSU trustee
  • Christopher Long, dean, College of Arts and Letters and the Honors College, MSU Foundation Professor
  • Cynthia Neeley, State representative, 70th House District
  • Dave Porteous, attorney, McCurdy, Wotila and Porteous, PC, and chairperson emeritus of the MSU Board of Trustees
  • Brianna Scott, MSU trustee
  • Wenona Singel, associate professor and director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center, College of Law
  • Leigh Small, dean and professor, College of Nursing
  • Steve St. Andre, chairperson and founder, Shift Digital, and MSU alum
  • Shawn Starr, stock handler and president, AFSCME Local 1585
  • Marty Vanderploeg, nonexecutive chairperson, Workiva Inc., MSU alum
  • Lorraine Weatherspoon, professor and associate chair and director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Sean Welsh, executive vice president/regional president, PNC Bank, and MSU alum
  • Melissa Woo, executive vice president for administration and chief information officer
  • Haitau Yang, incoming treasurer, Council of Racial and Ethnic Students and Council of Progressive Students; student adviser, Hmong American Student Association; and senior adviser, Asian Pacific American Student Organization




To protect the integrity of the process, members of the presidential search committee are bound by an agreement to confidentiality and a code of ethics. In light of this, all media inquiries should be directed to the chair and vice chair of the committee at, or to Emily Guerrant, vice president and MSU spokesperson, at (517) 353-7077 or


Search firm


The Board of Trustees selected executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to assist in the presidential search process. MSU also engaged this leading firm to help select the MSU vice president for civil rights and Title IX education and compliance as well as other executive positions in MSU colleges. Over the past 40 years, Isaacson, Miller has conducted more than 3,700 higher education searches with an overall record of strong placements for women and people of color.