Merri Jo Bales was named vice president and strategic director of University Communications in November 2018. In this role, Bales directs a strategic, coordinated and proactive approach to communications and public relations, overseeing the work of two teams, Marketing, Public Relations and Digital Strategy and Media and Public Information.
Bales recently completed a 27-year career with Consumers Energy where she ultimately was responsible for establishing, expanding and aligning the strategy function and for executive communication. Prior to joining Consumers Energy, she was executive director of the Michigan Sesquicentennial, the commemoration of Michigan's 150th anniversary of statehood.
During her career, Bales has gained extensive experience in public relations, internal communication, media relations and crisis communication, as well as strategic planning and major program development.
A 1977 graduate of MSU's College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Bales is among the college's Distinguished Alumni and has served on the executive board for the MSU International Alumni Association and the ComArtSci alumni board.
Vice President and Strategic Director of University Communications
408 West Circle Drive, Room 402
Nakia Barr is secretary of the MSU Board of Trustees. Barr joined the MSU Office of General Counsel in 2014, where she focuses on commercial transactions, governance and government relations. She also is an adjunct professor in the MSU College of Law, teaching contract drafting. As secretary of the board, Barr's duties include administrative responsibilities for board meetings, university ordinances, policies and courtesies. Prior to joining MSU, Barr worked as a real estate attorney in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. She also was a municipal attorney in New Jersey, including serving as chief municipal prosecutor for the City of Trenton.
Barr is a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park and Harvard Law School. She is active in numerous community organizations, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated; Jack and Jill of America; Links, Incorporated; and 100 Women Who Care.
Secretary of the Board of Trustees
426 Auditorium Road, Room 450
Norman J. Beauchamp Jr. is executive vice president for health sciences, overseeing the Colleges of Human Medicine, Nursing and Osteopathic Medicine as well as clinical practices. Previously, he served as dean of the College of Human Medicine.
Before joining MSU, Beauchamp served as professor and chair of the Department of Radiology at the University of Washington, a role he assumed in 2002, as well as professor of neurological surgery and industrial and systems engineering at UW.
Beauchamp's research emphasis has been in developing MRI-based advanced imaging techniques to extend the treatment window in acute stroke and using imaging to identify risk predictors of stroke and dementia.
An alumnus of the MSU College of Human Medicine, Beauchamp is a national leader in the radiology community and is currently serving as chair of the International Outreach Committee for the American Roentgen Ray Society and on the board of directors of the Society of Chairs of Academic Radiology Departments. He has served as the chair of the Radiology Research Alliance, the chair of the Coalition for Bioimaging Research and chair of the American College of Radiology Education Committee.
Executive Vice President for Health Sciences
15 Michigan St. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Bill Beekman was named vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics in July 2018 after being appointed to the interim position in February 2018. Beekman oversees MSU's 25 varsity sports teams in addition to the care of more than 700 Spartan student-athletes. The position provides leadership in the areas of sports management, game operations, financial administration, personnel, fundraising, corporate interaction, facility management, marketing and communications.
An MSU alumnus, Beekman has served the university since 1995, assuming his most recent prior role as vice president and secretary of the Board of Trustees in 2008. Previously, he served as executive director of MSU Alumni Association, senior consultant to the provost and the vice president for finance and operations and assistant dean for planning and finance in the College of Human Medicine.
Beekman led MSU's negotiations with the McLaren Health System to develop a hospital adjacent to campus and, with several colleagues, negotiated the expansion of the College of Human Medicine to Grand Rapids. He has taught health policy and health finance in the College of Human Medicine and the College of Law.
Beekman earned an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, a law degree from Wayne State University Law School and bachelor of arts in justice, morality and constitutional democracy from MSU's James Madison College.
Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics
550 S. Harrison, Suite 404a
Jabbar R. Bennett is MSU’s vice president and chief diversity officer. Bennett works to advance MSU’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategic priorities along with staff in the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, and partnerships among senior executives, deans, faculty, staff, students and alumni. Bennett is also a professor of medicine in the College of Human Medicine.
Prior to joining MSU in December 2020, Bennett served as the inaugural associate provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer at Northwestern University. Previously, he worked as associate dean of the Graduate School and associate dean for diversity in the Division of Biology and Medicine at Brown University. Bennett also has held administrative appointments at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. He has served on the faculty at Harvard, Brown and Northwestern.
Bennett received a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in Spanish from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and a doctoral degree in biomedical sciences from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. He completed postdoctoral research training at Harvard Medical School and is an alumnus of the Harvard University Administrative Fellows Program and Massachusetts Education Policy Fellowship Program.
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer
426 Auditorium Rd, Rm 444
Dan Bollman is vice president for strategic infrastructure planning and facilities. A registered professional engineer with decades of experience in design- and construction-related activities, Bollman previously was director of Engineering and Architectural Services, where he was responsible for all estimating, design and construction activities on campus related to construction of new facilities, renovations, maintenance and repair, infrastructure and landscape.
After graduating from Michigan State University with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, Bollman spent five years managing the construction of major projects with the United States Naval Civil Engineer Corps. He then returned to MSU to work in various capacities within Engineering and Architectural Services before becoming director.
Bollman holds a master's degree in resource development, is a LEED-accredited professional and a certified educational facilities professional. He is active in the Construction Owners Association of America, Association of Physical Plant Administrators and the National Society of Professional Engineers.
Vice President for Strategic Infrastructure Planning and Facilities
1147 Chestnut Road, Room 101
Infrastructure Planning and Facilities Building
Sharon E. Butler is the associate vice president for human resources at Michigan State University. In her role at MSU, she serves in the senior leadership position in the Office of Human Resources and is responsible for not only the day-to-day operations but also the development of a long-term strategic vision and plan for the department. Butler is responsible for strategically leading campus human resources efforts, including collaboration with vice presidents, deans, directors, department heads, faculty and staff.
Butler has spent nearly four decades pursing her passion for working with the most important part of any organization: its people. She brings her expertise and experience to all aspects of human resources, including labor and employee relations, talent management, total rewards and human resources information technology. She also provided human resources services to a wide range of clients during a decade as an entrepreneur and consultant.
After graduating from Indiana State University, Butler, a native of Gary, Indiana, began her teaching career with Detroit Public Schools as a speech and hearing therapist. Her extensive career as a human resources professional began with General Motors in Detroit. After her tenure with GM, she held leadership positions in several industries, including manufacturing, banking, the nonprofit public sector and higher education.
Associate Vice President for Human Resources
1407 South Harrison Road, Room 250
David Byelich is vice president for planning and budgets. The Office of Planning and Budgets coordinates budget preparation, capital, space planning, institutional research and integrated strategic planning across academic and nonacademic units. It also provides information and analytical support to the provost and the executive vice president for administration.
Byelich received a bachelor's degree in political science from MSU and also completed graduate work in the department. His career began in the James Madison College and Department of Residence Halls. He later joined the university budget office as an analyst. In 1995, he was named director of the Office of Planning and Budgets, reporting to both the provost and the vice president for finance and operations. In 2001, he was appointed assistant vice president and director of the Office of Planning and Budgets.
Vice President for Planning and Budgets
426 Auditorium Road, Room 330
Lisa A. Frace was named senior vice president and chief financial officer in May 2021. In this role, Frace oversees financial management for the university and is responsible for managing financial progress including developing long-range financial plans. She brings more than 15 years of higher education leadership experience, having served as senior associate vice chancellor and chief finance and budget officer for the University of California, Davis and as associate vice president, budget and planning and chief budgeting officer for Arizona State University. Prior to joining higher education, Frace had more than 20 years of experience in several private sector industries, with a background in strategic planning, financial management, and treasury. During her career, Frace has led the re-imagining of financial processes, budgets, and integration of resource allocation with strategic vision.
She has been in higher education association, serving on the board, in a variety of professional development leadership roles, and as an instructor with the Western Association of College and University Business Officers. She also recently served on the board of the National Association of College and University Business Officers. Frace received the association’s Rising Star Award in 2017.
Frace received a bachelor’s degree in health planning and administration and a master’s degree in business administration with concentrations in marketing and finance from Pennsylvania State University. She also attended the executive program in the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia.
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
426 Auditorium Road, Room 412
Vennie Gore is senior vice president for residential and hospitality services and auxiliary enterprises. In this role, Gore administers a residence hall system with a capacity for 17,500 students; apartments with housing for 2,500 students, faculty and staff; and a culinary services program serving more than 50,000 meals daily. Additional auxiliary operations include the MSU Union, MSU Bakers, University Concessions, Sparty's coffee house and convenience stores, Starbucks coffee shops, Spartan Signature Catering, Food Stores, Spartan Linen Services, University Conference Services, the Jack Breslin Student Events Center, Forest Akers Golf Courses, the MSU Tennis Center, Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, Cowles House presidential residence and the MSU Alumni Chapel.
Before joining MSU in 2007, Gore was associate director for housing and food services at the University of Washington. With the exception of two years as the assistant director of housing at the University of Wisconsin, Gore served in various leadership roles at the University of Washington since 1985.
A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Gore had previously served as a resident director at the University of Illinois and received his master's degree in college student personnel from Indiana University. He also has served as a member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Student Segmentation Advisory Board and currently serves on the board of directors for the Capital Area United Way.
Senior Vice President for Residential and Hospitality Services and Auxiliary Enterprises
550 S. Harrison Road, Room 3010D
Emily Gerkin Guerrant is vice president for media and public information. In this role, Guerrant oversees daily media relations related to issues and administration, manages crisis communications and works with the University Communications team to advance strategic communications efforts.
Prior to joining MSU, Guerrant was the senior vice president of marketing and communications at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the state's marketing arm. She managed the strategic direction for all marketing campaigns, including the successful Pure Michigan tourism campaign and the more recent PlanetM campaign to position Michigan as a global leader in mobility and autonomous vehicle development. Guerrant also led strategic media communications projects for the state's economic development arm, focusing messaging around Michigan's comeback economy and successes since the end of the recession.
Prior to MEDC, Emily spent 10 years at two statewide public relations agencies where she focused on issues management and advocacy communications. She started her career as a press secretary to state lawmakers and the Speaker of the House in the Michigan Legislature.
Guerrant earned her bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Central Michigan University and a master's degree in public relations from Michigan State University.
Vice President and University Spokesperson
408 West Circle Drive, Room 401
Marti Heil re-joined MSU as vice president for university advancement in October 2018.
Heil's distinguished career in fundraising began at Michigan State, where she spent nearly three decades working her way up in advancement before serving as interim vice president of development. During her tenure, she increased the development staff, wrote strategic plans for multiple campaigns, developed unit goals with different colleges and units and worked with deans, directors and executive leadership.
In 2009, she joined the Indiana University Foundation as senior vice president for development and was responsible for increasing $1 million donors by 30 percent and establishing a principal gifts program for donors who give $5 million or more. She then moved southeast to Virginia Commonwealth University in June 2013, where she served as vice president for development and alumni, responsible for all fundraising and alumni relations efforts, before retiring in 2017.
Heil's return to University Advancement at MSU coincided with completion of the successful Empower Extraordinary capital campaign, which raised more than $1.83 billion. Her experience and familiarity with Michigan State are valuable assets as the university works to shape its next major fundraising endeavors.
Heil is a 1976 graduate of MSU's College of Communication Arts and Sciences, with a degree in advertising.
Vice President for University Advancement
535 Chestnut Road, Room 300
Marlon C. Lynch is the vice president for public safety and chief of police for Michigan State University. Lynch leads the university’s Department of Police and Public Safety, including community engagement and support, emergency management, parking and traffic engineering. His emphasis is on community policing and enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
Prior to this role, Lynch served as the inaugural chief safety officer for the University of Utah Department of Public Safety. His career progression includes more than 25 years of law enforcement experience in municipal and campus environments.
He received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from MSU and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Boston University. Lynch is also a graduate of the 216th session of the FBI National Academy and the 256th class of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.
Lynch serves as a commissioner for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and is a past president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.
Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police
1120 Red Cedar
Police and Public Safety
Brian Quinn is the vice president for legal affairs and general counsel. Before joining the Office of the General Counsel, where he practices litigation, Quinn was a partner at the Honigman law firm in Lansing, Michigan, where he had a diverse litigation practice. Previously, he served as a law clerk for Justice Michael F. Cavanagh of the Michigan Supreme Court. Quinn received his law degree summa cum laude from MSU College of Law and his bachelor of science degree from Wayne State University.
Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel
426 Auditorium Road, Room 494
As vice president for marketing, PR and digital strategy, Heather Swain is responsible for MSU's branding, marketing, strategic public relations, digital and insights and analytics functions. She has worked in higher education for more than two decades and in senior leadership positions for more than 15 years.
Swain oversaw development of the university's Spartans Will campaign, and under her leadership MSU's communications work has been recognized with numerous awards, including Tellys, Emmys and Addys, as well as top recognition from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Swain received the American Marketing Association Higher Education Marketer of the Year Award in 2016.
Prior to joining MSU in 2006 as assistant vice president for university relations, Swain spent six years as the senior communications officer at Ball State University where she led a major rebranding tied to the institution's strategic planning and governmental relations efforts. Swain also spent five years at Indiana University Bloomington in a variety of communications roles, culminating in the position of associate director for university-wide marketing in which she worked with IU campuses across the state.
Swain has served as co-chair of the American Marketing Association Symposium for Higher Education and a member of the CASE Commission on Communications and the Public Affairs Committee of the Association of American Universities. She is a board member for Futurity, a multimedia consortium of more than 60 leading research universities from the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia, and The Conversation, an independent, nonprofit publisher of commentary and analysis authored by academics and edited by journalists for the general public.
Swain received her bachelor's degree in English from the College of William and Mary and completed the postgraduate Educational Management program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education.
Vice President for Marketing, Public Relations and Digital Strategy
408 West Circle Drive, Room 405
Kathleen Wilbur is MSU's senior vice president for government relations, previously serving as executive vice president for government, communications and advancement beginning in March 2018. Before coming to MSU, Wilbur served as a vice president and interim president at Central Michigan University. She has also served on the MSU Board of Trustees and is the only woman to have directed three departments for the State of Michigan.
Before her MSU appointment, Wilbur was vice president for government and external relations at CMU. She also served as interim president and as vice president for development and external relations, joining CMU in 2002.
Prior to that she was director of the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services, director of the Michigan Department of Commerce, deputy director of the Michigan Department of Commerce and director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulation.
Wilbur earlier was chief of staff to State Senator William Sederburg, who chaired the Senate Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, among other assignments.
She was elected to the MSU Board of Trustees in 1984 and served through 1990. Her peer reviewed journal publications and conference presentations focus on the role of institution trustees in higher education.
A 2007 inductee into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame, Wilbur earned a doctorate in higher education administration, a master's degree in higher education administration and a bachelor's degree in journalism from MSU.
Senior Vice President for Government Relations
426 Auditorium Road, Room 484
Melissa Woo is the executive vice president for administration, providing leadership for Campus Sustainability, Human Resources, Information Technology, Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, Land Management and University Services. Additionally, Woo serves as MSU’s chief information officer and as president of the MSU Foundation.
Throughout her career, and since joining MSU in 2019 as senior vice president for information technology and chief information officer, Woo has proven herself as a skilled administrator and strong collaborator with academic units to optimize institutional effectiveness and align administrative services with the university’s mission.
Woo previously served as senior vice president for information technology and enterprise chief information officer for Stony Brook University and has held IT leadership roles at the University of Oregon, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, where she earned her doctorate in biophysics. She received her bachelor’s degree in biophysics from the University of California, Berkeley.
In 2019, Woo was the recipient of the inaugural EDUCAUSE DEI Leadership Award for her actions leading to improved diversity, equity and inclusion in the higher education IT community. She also received the 2012 EDUCAUSE Rising Star Award, recognizing her as an emerging leader in higher education IT.
Woo currently serves as chair of the Merit Network board of directors, authors articles and is a frequent conference presenter.
Executive Vice President for Administration and Chief Information Officer
426 Auditorium Road, Room 412
Hannah Administration Building
Teresa K. Woodruff is MSU’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. As the chief academic officer for MSU, Woodruff provides leadership for matters that affect academic programs, research and outreach involving faculty, students and staff. She oversees the quality of instruction and research at the university through collaborative work with deans, departmental chairs and other vice presidents, addressing issues such as effective planning, good management and program reviews. Woodruff also is MSU Foundation Professor of obstetrics gynecology, reproductive biology and biomedical engineering.
Prior to joining MSU as provost in August 2020, Woodruff served as the dean and associate provost for graduate education in the Graduate School at Northwestern University.
Woodruff is an expert in ovarian biology and reproductive science, coining the term “oncofertility” to describe the merging of two fields: oncology and fertility. Oncofertility is now globally recognized as a medical discipline. In addition, she is an advocate for women in science and led efforts to change federal policy to mandate the use of females in fundamental National Institutes of Health research. She is past president of the Endocrine Society and current editor-in-chief of Endocrinology.
Woodruff earned a doctorate in biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology from Northwestern University and holds a Bachelor of Science in zoology and chemistry from Olivet Nazarene University.
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
426 Auditorium Road, Suite 430
Philip Zecher is MSU's first chief investment officer. A former hedge fund manager with a doctorate in physics from MSU, Zecher oversees all of the university's long-term investments, including its endowment.
From 2010 to 2014, Zecher served on the MSU Foundation board of directors and from 2011 to 2014 on the Board of Trustee's investment advisory subcommittee. He also has served as senior adviser to the president for investments and as an executive-in-residence and professor of finance in the Eli Broad College of Business.
Zecher earned his PhD in nuclear physics from MSU in 1996 and worked with Deloitte Consulting in New York, focusing on technology solutions for financial risk measurement. In 1999, he and a fellow alumnus started Investor Analytics, a risk assessment firm focusing on hedge fund risks. He later served as a partner and chief risk officer of EQA Partners, a Connecticut-based hedge fund.
Chief Investment Officer
Office of Investment
426 Auditorium Road, Room 412
Michael Zeig was named chief of staff in the Office of the President in September 2018. Zeig joined MSU in 2012 and before his current appointment held positions in the Office of Planning and Budgets and president's office. Prior to joining MSU, Zeig worked at Central Michigan University and in the administration of Governor Jennifer M. Granholm in the education policy and external affairs divisions. As part of his scholarly work, he has been published nationally in journals including Innovative Higher Education and Change as well as other publications such as Trusteeship and Inside Higher Ed. He has taught legal issues in higher education as an adjunct professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at CMU.
Zeig has a bachelor's degree in political science from CMU and master's and doctoral degrees in higher education administration from MSU. During his doctoral program, Zeig received numerous fellowships and awards, including the Erickson Research Fellowship, Erickson Memorial Fellowship, James A. Wilson Fellowship and Margaret F. Lorimer Fellowship.
Chief of Staff to the President
426 Auditorium Road, Room 450
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