East Lansing — Turnabout is fair play.
Two weeks after the University of Michigan announced it would award Michigan State’s president an honorary doctoral degree, MSU said Tuesday it will return the favor.
At Michigan State’s fall commencement for advanced degrees Dec. 13 at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center, U-M President Mary Sue Coleman will address graduates and receive an honorary doctorate of laws degree from the East Lansing school.
In mid-October, U-M announced plans to grant MSU President Lou Anna Simon an honorary doctorate of laws degree during the Ann Arbor school’s commencement ceremonies Dec. 15 at Crisler Center.
MSU spokesman Jason Cody said Coleman, who is retiring as U-M president next year, was chosen as a speaker for several reasons.
“First, President Simon believes President Coleman has been an extraordinarily valuable colleague, a tireless advocate for higher education, a strong partner in promoting the state of Michigan, and an exceptional president of the University of Michigan,” said Cody. “Additionally, President Simon believes she will deliver a meaningful commencement address.”
Other speakers during Michigan State’s commencement ceremonies will be Chrysler Group LLC’s chief executive officer, Sergio Marchionne, who also leads Fiat, and Steelcase Inc. CEO James Hackett.
In a statement, Coleman said she was pleased with MSU's gesture.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by such a great institution. I have deep respect for Michigan State University and Lou Anna Simon. There is no denying the spirited rivalry between the University of Michigan and MSU, particularly this week. What really matters, however, are our respective academic strengths and the exceptional graduates who leave our universities. I look forward to sharing in such a special day for Spartan graduates in December.”
Both will address undergraduates Dec. 14. Marchionne will receive an honorary doctorate of engineering, while Hackett will be given an honorary doctorate of humanities.
Associated Press contributed.