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Lou Anna Simon

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Lou Anna Simon
Simon in 2014
20th President of Michigan State University
In office
January 1, 2005 – January 24, 2018
Preceded byM. Peter McPherson
Succeeded byJohn Engler (interim)
Samuel L. Stanley
In office
April 25, 2003 – September 30, 2003
Personal details
EducationIndiana State University (BA)
Michigan State University (MS, PhD)

Lou Anna Kimsey Simon is an American academic administrator who served as the 20th president of Michigan State University (MSU). Simon was appointed interim president of the university in 2003, then served as president from 2005 until her resignation in 2018.

Since December 2017, Simon has been John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in the College of Education at MSU. From 2012 to 2014, Simon served as chair of the executive committee of National Collegiate Athletic Association. She also served as chair of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Detroit Branch.[1] She was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 2016.[2]


Simon received her Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Indiana State University in Terre Haute in 1969.[1] She earned a Master of Science in student personnel and counseling from Indiana State University in 1970.[1] In 1974 Simon earned a PhD in higher education from MSU.[3] She is married and lives in East Lansing.[1]


Michigan State University[edit]

Simon was hired by MSU to be a faculty member. Over the following years, she served in a sequence of increasingly-senior administrative positions: Assistant Director of the Office of Institutional Research, Assistant Provost for General Academic Administration, Associate Provost, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs from 1993-2004, and interim president from April 25, 2003 to September 30, 2003 while then-President M. Peter McPherson served as a representative of President George W. Bush in the reconstruction of Iraq.[4][5]

On June 8, 2004, the MSU Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Simon as President with a three-year, US $340,000-a-year, contract effective January 1, 2005.[6]

In January 2006, the Board of Trustees increased Simon's salary to US $425,000 although President Simon and her husband Roy Simon donated that year's increase back to the university's capital campaign.[citation needed]

In 2006, Simon decided to add Michigan State University to the list of institutions opposing the passage of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, an initiative that ended affirmative action in the state of Michigan.[citation needed]

In 2018, Michigan State's role in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case led to criticism from students, faculty, state legislators, alumni and others, including calls for President Simon to step down. Nassar, a sports physician at MSU from 1997 to 2016, pleaded guilty in a Michigan court to seven charges of sexual assault and faces accusations of sexual assault from more than 150 young girls and women.[7] The Detroit News reported that 14 MSU representatives, including Simon, had been told of sexual misconduct by Nassar across two decades.[8] While the MSU trustees initially voiced support for Simon, public pressure continued to grow until January 24, 2018, when the Michigan House of Representatives approved a resolution calling on the Michigan State University Board of Trustees to fire Simon.[9][10]

On January 24, 2018, Simon announced her resignation from the presidency.[11] Simon signed her resignation letter with her title "John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor," a prestigious professorship most were unaware she had been awarded the previous December. The appointment then received criticism from numerous faculty members across the University, due to Simon's career being strictly in administrative roles with virtually no faculty experience, and on the basis of it having been a direct appointment by the trustees bypassing usual academic procedure.[12] Following her resignation, Simon's contract allowed for a 12-month research leave at her full presidential salary, after which she could officially assume her faculty position in the department of educational administration.[12]

On November 20, 2018, Simon was charged with two felonies and two misdemeanor counts for lying to the police about her knowledge of sexual abuse committed by Nassar.[13] MSU interim President John Engler announced that Simon would be taking an immediate leave of absence from the university, without pay.[14] On May 13, 2020, Eaton County Circuit Court Judge John Maurer dismissed the charges against Simon Stating, "The prosecution did not provide evidence sufficient to give a reasonable person probable cause that Dr. Simon knew during her 2018 interview that her purported knowledge in 2014 of Dr. Nassar’s name and the ‘nature’ and ‘substance’ of the complaint against him".[15] Simon's attorney Lee Silver released a statement stating, "The Court’s ruling completely vindicates Dr. Simon and confirms what we have been saying from the day these charges were brought, namely, that there was not a shred of credible evidence to support these charges."[15] Attorney General Dana Nessel appealed the ruling but a panel of 3 appellate judges upheld the ruling 3-0, with Nessel being highly criticized by the judges with Judge Elizabeth Gleicher stating that Nessel's investigation was a "Sham."[16]


In August 2012, while president of MSU, Simon began a two-year term as chair of the NCAA's executive committee. Elected to the position one week after the committee's sanctions of Penn State for the university's part in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case, Simon said her goal was to "build trust and confidence back in the system."[17]


  1. ^ a b c d "Curriculum Vitae of Lou Anna K Simon". Office of the President, Michigan State University. Michigan State University. Archived from the original on 2017-10-26. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Lou Anna Kimsey Simon". Michigan Women Forward. Retrieved January 26, 2024.
  3. ^ "Lou Anna K. Simon - Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago". www.chicagofed.org. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  4. ^ "Trustees Grant Leave To MSU President, Appoint Provost As Interim President". Michigan State University. April 25, 2003. Archived from the original on March 23, 2004. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  5. ^ "MSU Board Approves Extension of McPherson's Leave, Continues Simon's Appointment as Interim President". Michigan State University. August 18, 2003. Archived from the original on January 1, 2004. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  6. ^ "Trustees select Simon as MSU's 20th president". Michigan State University. June 8, 2004. Archived from the original on February 10, 2005. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  7. ^ Saul, Stephanie (January 19, 2018). "Calls Grow for Michigan State University President to Resign Over Nassar Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
  8. ^ Kozlowski, Kim (January 18, 2018). "What MSU knew: 14 were warned of Nassar abuse". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
  9. ^ Stewart, Emily (January 21, 2018). "Pressure builds for Michigan State president to step down following Larry Nassar scandal". Vox. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
  10. ^ McVicar, Brian (January 24, 2018). "Michigan House calls on Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon to resign". MLive.com. Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  11. ^ Haag, Matthew; Tracy, Marc (January 24, 2018). "Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon Resigns Amid Nassar Fallout". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  12. ^ a b Brown, Sarah (February 26, 2018). "Michigan State's Ex-President Now Holds a Prestigious Professorship. Some of Her Colleagues Aren't Happy About It". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  13. ^ Smith, Mitch (November 20, 2018). "Ex-President of Michigan State Charged with Lying about Nassar Case". NYT.com. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  14. ^ Mencarini, Matt (November 20, 2018). "Ex-Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon charged with lying to police about Nassar". USA Today. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  15. ^ a b Banta, Megan. "Judge dismisses charges against former MSU President Lou Anna Simon". Lansing State Journal. Retrieved 2021-03-07.
  16. ^ LeBlanc, Beth. "Court upholds dismissal of charges against Lou Anna Simon, calls probe a 'sham'". Detroit News. Retrieved 2021-12-23.
  17. ^ Leung, Diamond (September 7, 2012). "New NCAA executive committee chair Lou Anna K. Simon wants to 'build trust and confidence back' in college sports". MLive.com. Retrieved 2018-01-22.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
David K. Scott
Provost of Michigan State University
Succeeded by
Preceded by Interim President of Michigan State University
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Michigan State University
Succeeded by
Bill Beekman (acting)