Executive Officer Biographies
Vice President and Strategic Director of University Communications
408 West Circle Drive, Room 402
Merri Jo Bales
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.
Secretary of the Board of Trustees
426 Auditorium Road, Room 450
Nakia White Barr
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.
Executive Vice President for Health Sciences
15 Michigan St. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Norman J. Beauchamp Jr.
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.
Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics
550 S. Harrison, Suite 404a
William R. Beekman
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 for Strategic Infrastructure Planning and Facilities
1147 Chestnut Road, Room 101
Infrastructure Planning and Facilities Building
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.
Associate Vice President for Human Resources
1407 South Harrison Road, Room 250
Sharon E. Butler
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.
Vice President for Planning and Budgets
426 Auditorium Road, Room 330
David S. Byelich
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 Auxiliary Enterprises
550 S. Harrison Road, Room 3010D
Vennie Gore is vice president for 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.
Vice President and University Spokesperson
408 West Circle Drive, Room 401
Emily Gerkin Guerrant
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 for Finance and Treasurer
426 Auditorium Road, Room 412
Mark P. Haas
Mark Haas was named vice president for finance and treasurer in January 2013. Since joining MSU in 2010, he has served as assistant vice president for business and chief financial officer and as associate vice president for business and chief financial officer.
Haas has more than three decades of government, financial, investment and managerial experience, along with a broad and deep knowledge of all aspects of financial operations. He came to MSU from the State of Michigan, where he served as chief deputy treasurer from 2007 to 2010. In that role, Haas served as principal adviser to the state treasurer, overseeing 2,200 employees and a budget of $1.9 billion. Haas also served the state in a number of capacities within the Department of Treasury, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Labor and the Department of Management and Budget. Haas also served on MSU’s Investment Advisory Board prior to joining the university.
Haas received a bachelor of science in business administration and a master of arts in economics from Central Michigan University. He did graduate studies in economics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and at MSU and completed the postgraduate State and Local Government program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Vice President for University Advancement
535 Chestnut Road, Room 300
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 and Associate Provost for Student Affairs and Services
556 East Circle Drive, Room 150
Student Services Building
Denise B. Maybank
Denise Maybank is the vice president and associate provost for student affairs and services at Michigan State University. Maybank is an advocate for students, focused on promoting learning outcomes while sustaining engaged student experiences.
Her career achievements span the areas of administration, consultation, counseling and education, including teaching graduate courses internationally. A native of New York City, Maybank has a doctoral degree in counseling and school psychology from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in educational administration from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.
Prior to returning to her alma mater, she held the position of associate to the president in the University of Nebraska’s central administration. Maybank has served on the faculty or as an administrator at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine, the College of New Jersey and the University of Nebraska–Omaha.
Maybank has held a variety of positions on boards of directors, councils, coalitions and committees through which she has had the opportunity to serve others. She currently serves as co-chair-elect of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ Council on Student Affairs Executive Committee; commissioner of the Greater Lansing Area Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission; and member of the Lansing Community Board of Ele’s Place, a nonprofit, community-based organization dedicated to creating awareness of and support for grieving children, teens and their families.
Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel
426 Auditorium Road, Room 494
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.
Senior Advisor to the President for Diversity and Director of the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives
426 Auditorium Road, Room 444
Paulette Granberry Russell
Paulette Granberry Russell joined Michigan State University in 1998 as senior advisor to the president for diversity and serves as director of the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. She is responsible for facilitating efforts and collaborating with various departments and colleges to develop effective strategies to advance a diverse university environment and for assessing the effectiveness of such efforts. Granberry Russell also leads various university committees responsible for diversity support programs and directs efforts to ensure university compliance with federal and state nondiscrimination laws and regulations.
A 2000–2001 Committee on Institutional Cooperation-Academic Leadership Program fellow, Granberry Russell has made numerous presentations on equal opportunity, affirmative action, best practices in recruiting, strategies for retaining a diverse faculty and diversity and inclusion efforts in higher education. She was invited to the Durban Institute of Technology in South Africa to present workshops on affirmative action and diversity programming in postapartheid higher education and served as a panelist on affirmative action and diversity initiatives in U.S. higher education at an international conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Granberry Russell is an integral part of the National Science Foundation ADVANCE–Advancing Diversity through the Alignment of Policies and Practices–Program at MSU, which aims to increase the participation of women in the scientific and engineering workforce through their increased representation and advancement in academic scientific and engineering careers.
A licensed attorney in the state of Michigan, Granberry Russell also consults on labor and employment law matters.
Vice President for Marketing, Public Relations and Digital Strategy
408 West Circle Drive, Room 405
Heather C. Swain
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.
Senior Vice President for Government Relations
426 Auditorium Road, Room 484
Kathleen M. Wilbur
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 Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
4850 Auditorium Road, Room 400
Melissa Woo is the senior vice president for information technology and chief information officer at Michigan State University. She provides leadership for IT Services, supporting the university’s students, faculty and staff.
Woo previously served as senior vice president for information technology and enterprise chief information officer for Stony Brook University. She also 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. Woo received her bachelor’s degree in biophysics from the University of California, Berkeley.
In 2019, she won 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.
Throughout her career, Woo has been actively engaged with higher education IT professional organizations and passionate in her support of aspiring leaders from diverse backgrounds. She serves on several higher education IT committees, authors articles and is a frequent conference presenter.
Chief Investment Officer
Office of Investment
426 Auditorium Road, Room 412
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 of Staff to the President
426 Auditorium Road, Room 450
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.