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MSU interim president Teresa Woodruff won’t seek full-time job

Teresa Woodruff headshot
MSU interim president Teresa Woodruff will not seek presidency. (Courtesy of Michigan State University)
  • Michigan State University interim president Teresa Woodruff announces she won’t seek job full-time 
  • She was appointed after former president Samuel L. Stanley Jr. was forced to step down in 2022
  • The university has had four presidents since 2018. This is the second national search in five years

Teresa Woodruff, interim president for Michigan State University, has announced that she will not seek a full-time president position, amid a national search to fill the vacancy. 

“As the third interim president of MSU in the last five years, I wish for a period of stability for the university,” Woodruff said in a statement on the university’s website dated Sunday.  “Thus, and to enable that goal, I do not seek the full-time presidency but will support the individual selected for this role as they assume the helm.”


Woodruff, then provost, was appointed and unanimously voted by the MSU Board of Trustees in November. 


The university has had four presidents since Lou Anna K. Simon resigned in 2018 amid an outcry over her and the university’s handling of the former MSU Dr. Larry Nassar, who was imprisoned for sexually abusing his patients.

Simon and others faced allegations they ignored complaints about the doctor for at least two decades.

Woodruff did not make it clear in the statement whether she plans to return as provost once the president is selected. 

“On behalf of the MSU Board of Trustees, I thank Dr. Woodruff for stepping into the role of interim president and providing resolute leadership these past 10 months,” Rema Vassar, chair of the board, said in a statement

“We appreciate her hard work on behalf of the university, the students, faculty and staff, our alumni, and the greater Spartan community. We particularly recognize her steadfast leadership during the violence that our campus experienced in February and her commitment to improved safety since then.” 

Shortly following her appointment, Woodruff was tasked with responding to the mass shooting on Feb. 13, when a gunman opened fire, and killed three students on campus: Arielle Anderson, 19, of Harper Woods; Brian Fraser, 20, of Grosse Pointe Park; and Alexandria Verner, 20, of Clawson. 

Woodruff announced that the university allocated $8 million to tighten the university’s security including installing locks on all classroom doors. 

The university hired Security Risk Management Consultants, an Ohio-based company, to review its response to the shooting. 

In April the university hired the search firm, Isaacson, Miller, to assist with a national search for its next president, with hopes to have the position filled by Thanksgiving. 

Published reports indicate the search will cost at least $270,000.

Woodruff’s announcement makes her the latest short-tenured president at MSU, which has a total enrollment of about 50,000 

Former president Samuel L. Stanley Jr. served from 2019 to 2022, making $960,000 in base pay per year.

His term was cut short when the Board of Trustees asked him to step down two years early following a vote of no confidence in the board by students and faculty.


Stanley parted ways with the university amid a scandal over the failure of Sanjay Gupta, former dean for the business school, to report alleged sexual misconduct, a violation of university policy.  

A report by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP law firm found that Woodruff did not follow the university’s discipline policy, treated Gupta differently from others who did not comply with the mandatory reporting policy and ultimately pressured him to resign. 

John Engler, former governor, served as the interim president of the university from 2018 to 2019. He quit before the board could fire him after he told a newspaper that Nassar survivors were “enjoying the spotlight.”

Engineering professor Satish Udpa served as acting president for eight months in 2019.

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