Executive Officer Biographies
Vice President and Secretary of the Board of Trustees
426 Auditorium Road, Room 450
William R. Beekman
Bill Beekman has served as the vice president and secretary of the Board of Trustees at Michigan State University since January 2008. He works with the Board of Trustees and the president to implement their institutional agenda. Additionally, he is administratively responsible for university policies and ordinances and other actions of the Board of Trustees. He is the president’s liaison to various groups and organizations both on campus and in the community.
Prior to assuming his current post Beekman served as executive director of the MSU Alumni Association. He joined MSU in 1995 as an administrator with the MSU HealthTeam. He was the assistant dean for planning and finance in the College of Human Medicine and has taught health policy and health finance in the College of Human Medicine and the College of Law. He also has served as a senior consultant to the provost and the vice president for finance and operations.
Beekman earned a bachelor of arts degree in justice, morality, and constitutional democracy from Michigan State’s James Madison College, an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and a law degree from Wayne State University Law School.
Vice President for Governmental Affairs
426 Auditorium Road, Room 484
Mark Burnham began his tenure as vice president for governmental affairs in February 2011. He had served as MSU’s associate vice president for governmental affairs in Washington D.C., since April 2006.
Prior to joining MSU, Burnham was the director of federal relations for research for the University of Michigan. From 1998 through 2003, he was a member of Lewis-Burke Associates, a lobbying firm representing universities and scientific consortia. In addition to his career as a higher education advocate, Burnham worked as an attorney for the law firm JonesDay.
Burnham has a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the Boston College Law School. He is a member of the Massachusetts and District of Columbia bars.
Vice President for Strategic Infrastructure Planning and Facilities
1147 Chestnut Road, Room 101
Physical Plant Building
Ron Flinn, vice president for strategic infrastructure planning and facilities, has been employed by MSU since 1957 when he started as an engineering student employee. Since becoming a regular employee three years later, Flinn has held many positions within the Physical Plant, including associate engineer, plant engineer, associate director, interim director of building services, university engineer, and assistant vice president.
During his tenure, Flinn has been involved in the design and construction of nearly 75 percent of the campus buildings and infrastructure and has served on numerous university committees and initiatives, such as the 2020 Master Plan.
Flinn and the MSU Physical Plant have been featured in national publications, such as the APPA Facilities Manager and Buildings Magazine, and he received the Midwest APPA Award for Excellence in Facilities Management in 1988. He is a past international president of APPA/Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers and taught Public Relations and Communications for Physical Plant for more than five years at the APPA Institute for Facilities Management.
Flinn has an associate degree in construction technology from Erie County Technical Institute, a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from MSU, and a degree in business management from LaSalle Extension University. He is licensed as a professional engineer in the state of Michigan.
Vice President for Auxiliary Enterprises
919 E. Shaw Lane, Room 185
As MSU’s vice president for auxiliary enterprises, Vennie Gore administers a residence hall system with a capacity for 17,500 students; apartment 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, 19 on-campus Sparty’s coffee house and convenience store locations, Spartan Signature Catering, Food Stores, Spartan Linen Services, Destination State conference services, Breslin Student Events Center, Forest Akers Golf Courses, MSU Tennis Center, Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, Cowles House presidential residence, and Alumni Memorial Chapel.
Before joining MSU in August 2007, Gore was associate director for housing and food services at the University of Washington, where he had served in various leadership roles since 1985, with the exception of two years as the assistant director of housing at the University of Wisconsin.
A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Gore received his master’s degree in college student personnel from Indiana University. Among his honors, he received the Northwest Association of College and University Housing Officers’ Outstanding Leadership and Service Award in 2002 and the David B. Stephen Award for Outstanding Leadership in 2005. He currently serves as president of the Association of College and University Housing Officers–International.
Vice President for University Advancement
535 Chestnut Road, Room 300
Robert (Bob) Groves began his tenure as vice president for university advancement on January 1, 2009. University Advancement was created in 2008 to integrate University Development and the MSU Alumni Association as a means to mobilize, channel, and serve effectively MSU’s alumni and donor constituencies around the globe. Alumni and friends advance the mission of the university through advocacy, student recruitment, career advice and placement, ambassadorship, and financial support.
Prior to his appointment at MSU, Groves was associate vice president and campaign director for University Development at the University of Michigan (U-M), a position he held since April 2004. He provided the day-to-day direction for U-M’s recent campaign, The Michigan Difference, which raised $3.2 billion and is believed to be the most successful fund-raising campaign ever at a public university.
Groves brings with him a valuable understanding of the Big Ten, the land-grant philosophy, and higher education. Prior to his U-M appointment, he was vice president for development at the Minnesota Medical Foundation at the University of Minnesota. He also was executive director of university development at Pennsylvania State University and has held similar fund-raising positions at Wright State University and at his alma mater, Ohio State University.
Vice President for Finance and Treasurer
426 Auditorium Road, Room 412
Mark P. Haas
Mark P. 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 Research and Graduate Studies
426 Auditorium Road, Room 232
Before joining MSU in 2012, Stephen Hsu was director of the Institute for Theoretical Science and professor of physics at the University of Oregon. He also serves as scientific adviser to BGI (formerly the Beijing Genomics Institute) and as a member of its Cognitive Genomics Lab.
Hsu’s primary work has been in applications of quantum field theory, particularly in relation to problems in quantum chromodynamics, dark energy, black holes, entropy bounds, and particle physics beyond the standard model. He has also done work in genomics and bioinformatics, the theory of modern finance, and in encryption and information security.
Founder of two Silicon Valley companies—SafeWeb, a pioneer in SSL VPN (Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Networks) appliances, which was acquired by Symantec in 2003, and Robot Genius Inc., which developed antimalware technologies—Hsu has held invited research seminars and colloquia at leading research universities and laboratories around the world. He is the author of more than 100 research articles, ranging from theoretical physics and cosmology to computer science and biology.
Hsu graduated from the California Institute of Technology and received his doctorate in physics from the University of California–Berkeley. A junior fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows, he was on the faculty at Yale University before moving to the University of Oregon.
General Counsel and Vice President for Legal Affairs
426 Auditorium Road, Room 494
Robert A. Noto
Robert Noto has been the vice president for legal affairs and the general counsel at Michigan State University since April 1995. The Office of the General Counsel handles or supervises all legal work for the university, including litigation. The university usually has approximately 40 matters in litigation, of which the Office of the General Counsel handles about half in-house. The Office of the General Counsel selects and oversees all outside counsel providing legal services to the university.
Before coming to MSU, Noto worked for 15 years in the Office of Legal Counsel at New York University, last serving as associate general counsel and deputy secretary to NYU's Board of Trustees. Noto was also adjunct associate professor in NYU's School of Education, where he taught higher education and the law. Noto is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.
Senior Adviser 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 adviser 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 all-university committees responsible for diversity support programs and directs efforts to ensure university compliance with federal and state nondiscrimination laws and regulations.
A 2000–01 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 Communications and Brand Strategy
408 West Circle Drive, Room 405
Heather C. Swain
Heather C. Swain was named vice president for communications and brand strategy at Michigan State University in April 2012. Swain, who joined the university as assistant vice president for university relations in October 2006, served as interim vice president for university relations from August 2010 until she was named to the vice presidency. Her responsibilities include overseeing the university’s branding initiative, strategic communications planning, media relations, marketing communications, web and digital, and photo and video operations.
Prior to joining MSU, Swain spent six years at Ball State University in the university’s senior communications position where she led a major rebranding effort that tied into the institution’s strategic planning and governmental relations strategies. Swain also spent five years at Indiana University (IU) in a variety of communications roles culminating in the position of associate director for university-wide marketing, working with IU campuses across the state on individualized marketing plans and alignment with the overall IU brand.
Swain currently serves nationally on the Association of American Universities Public Affairs Committee, Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Commission on Communications, and the American Marketing Association Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education conference committee.
She received her bachelor’s degree in English from the College of William & Mary.