Lou Anna K. Simon's "State of the University" speech sounded much like the "State of the State," and even the "State of the Union."
"We want to be the go-to partner internationally," Simon said during her Thursday address. From here on out, she wants MSU at the core of the global economy.
"We are in a global context, and that's not going to change," she said in a News10 interview after the speech.
Simon says all MSU students should be studying abroad or researching internationally-- as well should teachers. Simon predicts combining globalization with research will cement MSU's future as a top university.
"Opening the China [MSU] office is an example," said Simon. "It's one of those very small but symbolic approaches."
She also spoke of affirmative action, promising not to compromise MSU's inclusion responsibilities after the passing of Proposal 2. She said it's going to take creativity and hard work to find legal ways to still have inclusion.
But what Simon didn't directly address were issues like tuition and the dire straits the state's finances are in. Issues like those were the elephants in the room after the speech, and knowing how directly the University affects the surrounding communities made them difficult to ignore. But Lansing superintendent Dr. E Sharon Banks says Simon is addressing these issues, whether she spoke about them Thursday or not.
"Simon is a futurist," Banks said. "She's always talking about global."
Forward thinking and globalization: the overriding themes of Simon's speech. But, as she indicates, only time will tell where Michigan State-- and the state of Michigan-- will go.