MSU Today with Russ White

40 Episodes

By: Russ White

MSU Today is a lively look at Michigan State University-related people, places, events and attitudes put into focus by Russ White. The show airs Saturdays at 5 P.M. and Sundays at 5 A.M. on 102.3 FM and AM 870 WKAR, and 8 P.M. on AM 760 WJR.

Fall semester is underway at MSU, “where people want to come and learn”
Last Thursday at 8:19 PM

A new semester and academic year are well underway as MSU welcomed more than 9,800 incoming students to campus, our largest and one of our most diverse incoming groups ever.

“We also had 1,400 transfer students coming in, which is also the largest. There are a lot of new individuals coming to the campus and I know people have reached out and made sure they felt welcome and they're hitting their stride. We're already actually a quarter of the way through the semester. They're already getting exposed to what college life is like. I think they're enjoying themselves at Mi...

Politics, Policy and the Economy subjects in the latest IPPSR State of the State conversation

On this month’s State of the State Podcast, Institute for Public Policy and Social Research Assistant Director Arnold Weinfeld, along with Institute Director, Dr. Matt Grossmann and Economist Dr. Charles Ballard discuss the current state of the economy including the impact of the continued rates hikes by the Federal Reserve on the economy and the upcoming election. 

The guest this month is Dr. Debra Horner, with the University of Michigan Ford School's Center for Local, State and Urban Policy where she serves as senior program manager on the Michigan Public Policy Survey program.  The program surveys loca...

“Championship resources” drive holistic mental and physical wellness in Spartan Athletics

In this new role, Henderson oversees student-facing areas associated with health, mental and physical wellness, and student athlete engagement. He oversees many of the areas that support student athletes beyond their sport-specific training. This means athletic training, academic support, career development, nutrition, and strength and conditioning with a holistic approach.

Henderson tells why he chose MSU to pursue his college football career. And he talks about his career path leading up to taking this new position at MSU. Henderson played for both John L. Smith and Mark Dantonio; he compares the two.

“I'm passionate about th...

Arts and culture institutions collaborating to imbue the arts into the fabric of MSU

WKAR Public Media is celebrating a century of service as AM 870 went on the air in August of 1922. Wharton Center for Performing Arts is celebrating 40 years of providing a wide array of world class arts and entertainment for mid-Michigan and beyond. And the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum opened its doors 10 years ago. The three leaders of these MSU institutions join the program today. Shawn Turner is the interim director of broadcasting at MSU and general manager of WKAR Public Media. Eric Olmscheid is executive director of Wharton Center, and Steven Bridges is interim director of the Broad...

Alumna, MSU students inspire each other to live “hope-rich” life of recovery and sobriety

She's also open about being sober and how her ongoing recovery has transformed her life from, as she says, a stark soul-sick place to one rich with friends and activities she loves to do like reading by the lake on a Michigan summer day, supporting working women in any way she can, and connecting with college students and young adults who have courageously found their way to recovery.

Susan was both Homecoming Grand Marshal and an MSU Commencement speaker in 2019. She has bachelor’s and master's degrees in advertising and public relations from MSU. She's also a pr...

MSU Police evolving to better engage with the campus and community

As the chief continues to reorganize the department, today we’re focusing on the Police Services Bureau. We have with us today Captain Sherief Fadly. He leads the Patrol Division inside the Police Services Bureau. And Captain Dan Munford oversees the Community Engagement Unit.

“The Community Engagement Unit is a team comprised of four sergeants and me,” says Munford. “We're spread out throughout the different neighborhoods on campus, and our goal is just to reach out and be a contact and liaison for our students, faculty and staff within the residential neighborhoods.”

“I'm entrusted by the VP to ru...

Catching up with Michigan State University’s 19th President Peter McPherson

McPherson’s wife Joanne, who as First Lady of Michigan State University founded Safe Place, the first shelter at a university to provide support for victims of domestic violence and stalking, died in June.

“She was so dedicated to Safe Place and so committed to having it work. Of course, now after all these decades really, it's worked very well. She always had an idea, like when we got here, Beaumont Tower’s bells weren't ringing, and they hadn't rung for about a year. She said, ‘What's this? The Beaumont Tower bells need to ring.’ In short time, the...

Broad Museum interim director seeks to embed arts and culture across campus

“On November 10 the museum will turn 10 years old. When the museum opened and was founded in 2012, there was a great outpouring and show of support and excitement," says Bridges. "That’s continued through the years, and we’ve softened some of the hard angles, if you will, of the museum to bring in a better diversity of audiences and build a sense of inclusivity. The museum is on this campus in service to MSU and to the broader mid-Michigan region that we serve. We offer a wide range of exhibitions, and we promote faculty and student engagement with the museum...

Remembering Dr. E. James Potchen, a giant in MSU history

I had the pleasure and privilege of talking with Dr. Potchen in the summer of 2007 in his beautiful Radiology Healing Gardens. He was an early and enthusiastic supporter of the MSU/WJR partnership. This is an encore presentation of that conversation.


“My job as I see it is the development of human capital,” he says. “I’m trying to enhance other people’s opportunity to lead a useful life. If you add value to others, revenue will flow.


“Management is the art and science of getting the job done, but leadership is the art and...

President Stanley looking forward to a “safe, focused and productive” year at MSU

There’s a buzz in the air as fall semester gets underway.

“I'm incredibly excited. And I think if we were to measure my resting heart rate right now, we'd find that it's higher than it normally is because this is an exciting time for us. And as we start the new year, we're anticipating perhaps our largest entering class ever in the first-year class, and we have one of our largest transfer student numbers as well. We're excited that people want to come to MSU and that they're very interested in learning and living here. To all...

Inflation, recession, and expanding broadband services to all Michiganders are subjects in the latest State of the State podcast

The guest this month is Johannes Bauer, Director of the Quello Center at Michigan State University discussing the new MOON-Light project.

Spearheaded by MSU and funded by a $10.5 million federal Broadband Infrastructure Program grant through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the Michigan Open Optical Network – Leveraging Innovation to Get High-Speed Technology (MOON-Light) will lead to equal and open access to broadband services to all Michiganders and can be leveraged to deliver education, healthcare, and employment services. 

MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sun...

New executive director engaging Wharton Center’s audience of the future

“When the opportunity came around to consider this position, it was a no brainer for me,” says Olmscheid. “It was a great opportunity. I think Michigan is a beautiful state. My home state is Minnesota and it’s similar. Michigan is uniquely different in its own way. There are so many parallels to Minnesota and Michigan that I loved. But more importantly, what attracted me is Wharton Center’s commitment to excellence and its commitment to the work that it's done over the last 40 years here in the Lansing community. And the connection to the university is unparalleled.”

What are s...

MSU institute promotes love for fitness and works to reduce professionalization of youth sports

Dan Gould has recently retired as director of the institute. He’s a professor of kinesiology and the emeritus Gwendolyn Norrell Professor of Youth Sport and Student Athlete Well Being. Karin Pfeiffer is also a professor of kinesiology and is assuming the role of director from Dan.

Gould talks about the institute being born out of the state legislature in 1978.

“The Institute for the Study of Youth Sports was started by the state legislature,” says Gould. “Our mission is to scientifically study sport for children and youth and then to disseminate that information to the larger s...

MSU’s first-ever W. M. Keck Foundation award will show life in a new light

The W. M. Keck Foundation has awarded Michigan State University’s Marcos Dantus and Elad Harel $1.3 million to start a new revolution in the way we use optical microscopes to understand the living world.

The philanthropic grant is one of six awarded nationally by the Keck Foundation in 2022 for science and engineering. This also marks the first time that scientists at MSU have claimed the award.

This also marks the first time that scientists at MSU have claimed the award. The Keck Foundation encourages creativity by rewarding transformative projects that other funding agencies might see as...

New MSU College of Education dean seeks to “anchor strengths and optimize opportunities”

Jackson describes his background and talks about what attracted him to MSU.

“Michigan State really is the prototype for what land grants were built on, and to be at the epicenter for the commitment to the roles and functions that a state should give to its citizens from a post-secondary education opportunity just seemed very opportune. I was also attracted to the hardworking spirit of Michigan State. It’s in the DNA. And MSU works hard on access to its excellence.”

Jackson describes some of the excellent and highly ranked programs and curricula in the Colleg...

Strategic communication veteran leading a “digital transformation” at WKAR Public Media

“Strategic communication is one of those terms that we hear thrown around a lot in the communication field. And what we're talking about with strategic communication really is the idea that we all communicate with each other daily, in organizations, interpersonally, with family and friends. And that communication is designed to relay a message between you and me right now to achieve some objective. When we talk about strategic communication, we're really talking about looking at a vision, objective, or goal for an organization and developing the communication that will help us achieve those objectives or those goals over ti...

Detroit Apple Developer Academy celebrates first graduating class

The academy in Detroit is the first in the United States, launched as part of Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative. The free program offers students an opportunity to become entrepreneurs and app developers by learning the fundamentals of coding, design, marketing, and project management — with an emphasis on inclusivity and making a positive impact in local communities.

HEAR the ceremony HERE:


(00:00) Sarah Gretter, PhD – Director of the Apple Developer Academy
(:55) – “Supa” Mario Crippen, Academy graduate
(3:48) - MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.
(6:57) – Raven Scott, Academy graduate

(7:45) - J...

MSU President Stanley reflects on a busy summer and potential record enrollment for the fall

You're in Detroit this week to congratulate the inaugural class of graduates of the Apple Developer Academy. Remind us of the academy's evolution and mission.

“The academy is a groundbreaking opportunity for individuals in Detroit and all of Michigan. And this is the first Apple Developer Academy in the United States. It's an opportunity for individuals 18 and above to learn how to code and develop apps for the Apple operating system. When students finish, they're well prepared to code for Apple apps and maybe even start their own companies.”

Back on campus, we're preparing for the...

Moderation and creative approach help MSU Sports Medicine keep athletes and the public moving

“Our overall goal at MSU Sports Medicine is to be a single location for patients and athletes alike to come when they're having pain, ailments, or even just looking for advice on how to get active and stay active,” says Nate Fitton, a team physician at the MSU Health Care Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center. “Our ultimate goal for all patients is to lead a fulfilling, active life. We see a wide variety of acute injuries, chronic injuries, as well as people just looking to get active and talk about nutrition, weightlifting regimens, and things like that. And so our mi...

Afrofuturism takes center stage at second annual MSU Juneteenth celebration

This year's keynote speaker is College of Arts and Letters English professor Julian Chambliss, who has a focus on popular culture, comics, and digital humanities, and his research explores race, identity, and power in urban spaces. His address is titled “Not Only Darkness: The Legacy and Future of Black Speculative Practice.” Chambliss' keynote will focus on Afrofuturism, what it is, and its impact on society today. His keynote will also examine the relationship between Afrofuturism and speculative practice, which refers to the exploration of new ideas and pathways that will ultimately lead to liberation.

What is Afrofuturism and...

MSU President Stanley reflects on “a very successful academic year“ as summer begins

Read President Stanley's May 2022 Spartan Community letter here.

MSU brought a very successful academic year to a close this month with graduation ceremonies honoring 6,917 undergraduate degree earners and 2,684 advanced degree recipients. What struck you and will stay with you about this spring’s ceremonies?

“It was wonderful to be in person. We had the opportunity because of low COVID transmission to be without masks for people who didn't want a mask, and so that was great. There was really a sense of being together that we haven't had in prior ceremonies. That made it very exci...

Title IX turns 50: Progress has been made with still more to do

“The scope of Title IX extends well beyond athletics,” says Dr. Ashely Baker, chief diversity officer for Spartan Athletics. “Title IX legislation was really focused broadly on access to education and access to opportunities for women, and sport has been a space where we've really been able to see that more tangibly than in other places. When you think about the root and the focus of what this initial legislation was about, it was looking at what was happening in education and employment and areas that weren't covered under the Civil Rights Act that women were wanting to have access...

WKAR leader taking her passion for community building to MSUFCU

“I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately as you can probably imagine because I truly have grown up here. I started at WKAR as a student in their student employment program and never looked back. I love WKAR and MSU. This whole community has just been a wonderful place to be. I learned everything I know through the staff at WKAR.”

What are some key accomplishments you're proud of the station has made under your leadership?

“It's probably our education services. We often say we're so much more than a TV and radio station even t...

Steve Smith's Michigan State University Commencement Address: Achievement or Fulfillment?

Good afternoon! Go Green!


President Stanley, Provost Woodruff, and the Board of Trustees: 


Thank you for inviting me back home.


To the administration, faculty, 
and staff — 

to the proud families and friends who traveled here to celebrate 
your loved ones — 


to my forever dorm-mates from Wonders Hall —


and to each and every one of you in the resilient, inspiring Class of 2022: I am so proud to be your fellow Michigan State alum. Congratulations!


I am deeply...

MSU Advancement leader connects alumni and donors to their passions

Do you have any experience with either MSU or the state of Michigan?

“Growing up on the north shores of Lake Superior, I would drive through the great state of Michigan many times on the way to my grandmother's house in Sarnia, Ontario on the other side of the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron. And my first college football game was in Spartan Stadium in 1992. My dad was a huge Spartans fan. He brought the whole family down, and I was just shell shocked on what a great experience it was to see all the people an...

MSU Facility for Rare Isotope Beams opens its doors to discovery

Michigan State University’s Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), a user facility for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, opened its doors to discovery with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on 2 May. U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm and MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., cut the ribbon to officially mark the start of FRIB’s scientific mission.

HEAR the speakers’ comments HERE:


·      FRIB Lab Director Thomas Glasmacher (:00)

·      MSU President Stanley (2:25)

·      Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (6:40)

·      MSU Board of Trustees Chair Dianne Byrum (17:20)

· ...

Michigan State University to grow its electric vehicle fleet by nearly 370

Michigan State University is furthering its investment in a greener future, announcing a commitment to converting 369 internal combustion engine vehicles in its fleet to fully electric vehicles over the next decade.

MSU also is investing in two DC fast chargers for public use through the PowerMIFleet program; the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s ChargeUp Michigan program; and Capital Area Transportation Authority. The chargers will be available for public use at the Capital Area Multimodal Gateway on Harrison Road this fall.

The addition of new electric vehicles on MSU’s campus adds to t...

Detroit native brings hope and expertise treating headaches and facial pain to MSU Health Care

Charleston describes his background and what attracted him to MSU. He talks about how a person knows whether they have a headache or facial pain they can treat themselves or whether they need to schedule a headache specialty visit. He talks about stigmas surrounding headaches and discusses current research underway and treatments on the horizon that may aid in treating headaches and facial pain.

Conversation highlights:

(:43) – “I’m from Detroit Michigan, and I decided I wanted to be a neurosurgeon when I wrote my fifth-grade career research paper.”

(2:12) – “Michigan State University is a great instit...

Spartans graduate, prepare to make the world a better place

Classes are wrapping up, final exams are next week and Michigan State University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. is eagerly anticipating graduation ceremonies for some 9,000 soon-to-be Spartan alumni. 


He talks about feeling like a proud father to all the graduates preparing to go out and make the world a better place. And President Stanley congratulates the 179 students who have maintained 4.0 grade point averages in their time at MSU and have now been named Board of Trustees Scholars.


“As we prepare to say goodbye to most students for the summer, we’re...

MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities has been maximizing ability and opportunity for 50 years

RCPD is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

“We've been working busily over the past five decades to help people maximize ability and opportunity,” says Hudson. “We began back in the 1971/72 academic year with a simple goal of helping people with disabilities realize the power of education to change their lives and to promote careers and lives of distinction. Our resource center is intent on maximizing ability and opportunity and helping students as they arrive at the university realize their challenge is simply that - a challenge - and not a blockade to where they want to go with educat...

Retiring advancement leader has been “making magic” and growing MSU’s “margin of excellence” for decades

Heil has a career spanning 45 years across three universities raising critical funds, tirelessly promoting the value of philanthropy and expanding alumni engagement efforts.

She came out of retirement in October of 2018, returning to MSU, where she has now spent more than 33 years in advancement. Marti was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan and is a 1976 graduate of MSU's College of Communication Arts and Sciences with a bachelor's degree in advertising.

“It has been my absolute pleasure and honor to serve Michigan State University and a privilege to do what I have done for 45 years. And it...

Returning the Favor

Russ King, ’70, saw his first college football game at MSU and has been attracted to the campus ever since. “I just absolutely loved the environment and the physical surroundings. I just felt like I was in a paradise—even in the winter, because it can be very beautiful then, too,” he says.

“Michigan State really fit my personality because it focused on people who maybe would never have a chance to go to school. And they personify that by going back to the community. We can apply our knowledge and help people who are living there right now.”


Consistent, authentic, transparent communication key to building genuine trust with community for MSU Police and Public Safety

We're joined by Inspector Chris Rozman, who's public information officer and Dana Whyte, who's a new communications manager at MSU Police and Public Safety.

“We have officially launched our community engagement unit,” says Lynch. “What that means is we have officers who are now assigned full time to community engagement. So, when they work, they are spending times with our students in residence halls, with our students at the Union, with fraternities and sororities at their events, and with registered student organizations and others. Their areas of responsibility are primarily based in residential and education housing services and th...

Protecting, promoting and growing the inclusive MSU brand

“I really like brands,” says Austin. “When you look at the Michigan State brand, it's not just a local brand. It's regional, it's national, and it's international. Sparty the mascot is very well known; I felt like the equity in the brand is here. There are always things that we can do to further the equity in the brand. But the brand, the school, the academic programs, and MSU’s reputation itself drew me to come here.”

What is university licensing? And what does it mean at Michigan State?

“University licensing really is three prongs. We're here t...

Share your ideas and experiences to build the future of MSU

The hope is that this effort will allow all Spartans, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members to shape future physical investments in support of our teaching, research, and outreach mission. Guided by the university's strategic plan, this planning process provides an opportunity to advance equity, bolster community health, and enhance support systems for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors through the physical environment of MSU's land and facilities.

The resulting framework plan will provide the university with a roadmap to guide MSU's future campus composition for the next generation. Barbara Kranz is assistant provost for Institutional...

DEI at MSU: Providing opportunity and support for all Spartans to reach their full potential

MSU Strategic Plan 2030 identifies goals within six key themes: student success; staff and faculty success; discovery, creativity, and innovation for excellence and global impact; sustainable health; stewardship and sustainability; and diversity, equity and inclusion. On this edition of MSU Today, we'll be focusing on the diversity, equity and inclusion theme of the plan with its executive sponsor, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Jabbar Bennett.

“I’m really pleased you’ll be talking with our very distinguished CDO Jabbar Bennett today about DEI and its role in the strategic plan,” says Michigan State University President Samuel L. Stanley...

Duo helping expansive MSU STEAM curriculum community evolve, innovate, and grow

In September of 2021, MSU cut the ribbon on its state-of-the art and now multiple award-winning STEM Teaching and Learning Facility. Stephen and Julie talk about MSU's evolving STEM curriculum and about some of the things that go on inside the STEM building.

The goal for the position for a STEM dean at MSU initially wasn’t thought of to be for two people.

“So, if you read the job ad for the position, it's a very complex position,” Libarkin says. “Stephen and I were talking about it, and we both said that alone, neither one of us co...

Sustainable mass timber industry evolving at MSU with potential to enhance Michigan’s economy

“It was nice to be included,” says Lupien. “I recognized a lot of names on there and some folks whose work I've been following for years.

“Mass Timber is an umbrella term for a variety of engineered wood building construction materials. And typically, these are panelized materials and they're really large. Imagine a big beam made of layers of 2x4s laminated together in the shape of a steel I-beam so that you could use that instead of a steel I-beam in a large building. Or imagine a large panel, like a wall or a floor that's made of...

Alumni, faculty, and staff come together on Give Green Day to invest in MSU’s future

The sixth annual Give Green Day was on March 15th. This year, more than $1.34 million was raised from over 7,000 gifts for causes including alumni club scholarships, the MSU Center for Survivors Survivor Emergency Fund, and several college-based funds supporting Spartan students of today and tomorrow. That's an increase over last year's $1.2 million raised.

“It really is impressive how people came together. The number of people who are contributing continues to grow every year,” Stanley says. “I'm impressed by our incredible alumni. I'm also impressed by our faculty and staff who gave during this time. Obviously, they give so muc...

MSU African American and African Studies “unicorns” drive Black futures beyond survival into wellness

AAAS at MSU was initially founded as a PhD granting program in 2002. On July 1, 2019, AAAS became a department. In Spring 2020, MSU appointed Brown the inaugural chair.

“We insist that Black studies uncovers and creates technologies of living for Black people and Black futures,” says Brown. “And when we say Black people, we mean all Black people. And when we say Black futures, we mean beyond survival into wellness. We are continuing to build and expand with the addition of new faculty hires and new courses.”

Brown says that students can major in African American and African...