Recap: Dr. Denise Maybank Returns to NYC

Posted by Pat Donohue | March 23, 2012

Dr. Denise Maybank in New York 

Back in her hometown of New York City, Dr. Denise Maybank shared her first impressions of life outside of Manhattan, a view some would say is widely shared by many New Yorkers: “If it’s beyond Pennsylvania then it’s pretty much irrelevant.”

Even Maybank’s family didn’t quite know where to say she’d gone off to…was it Montana? Monterrey?

“My sister would tell people I was in a place that started with an ‘M,’ said Maybank. “But it didn’t matter because it wasn’t New York.”

Since then, Dr. Maybank, the current interim Vice President of Student Affairs and now an MSU alumna herself, is passionate about being part of an academic culture that is changing that stigma, and not just about the parts of the country west of the Pennsylvania state line, but specifically in East Lansing.

“Where else can students attend a university with a cyclotron? Where else can students attend a university that has a Zaha Hadid building being constructed right in front of them?” said Maybank. “I believe that what we do at MSU is just that big.”

Maybank addressed a few dozen alumni in the private room at Ben Benson’s Steakhouse in Midtown last night, focusing her presentation on ‘passionate leadership’ and ‘transcending the usual.’ Attendees enjoyed cocktails along with a variety of passed hors d’oeuvres and reminisced about life in the residence halls as Dr. Maybank shared updates on some of the major changes and renovations those spaces are currently undergoing.

In particular, Dr. Maybank spoke to a complete shift in how Michigan State is focusing on student life, namely the rezoning of residence halls into five distinct neighborhoods.

“This is a concept New Yorkers, especially, should be familiar with,” said Maybank. “These neighborhoods are specifically designed for student success.”

In addition to dormitory and cafeteria renovations, the new design focuses on student engagement, health and wellness and academic enrichment. Students can now receive core services and support within their neighborhood, including tutoring, counseling and academic advising. They can even pay a visit to an on-site nurse practitioner.

“My passion has to do with students and how they pass through a university,” said Maybank, who encouraged attendees to “pass on” their own passions. “It’s easy to [pass on] because it comes from my heart.”